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Procedure of personal name change


Personal name change is not a very frequent legal act. Nevertheless, we decided to devote one text to some details and guidelines on this interesting topic. 


1. Personal name – definition 

Personal name is composed of the first name and the surname of an individual, registered with the Main Register. According to the FBiH Law on Personal Name, it serves for identification and differentiation of an individual from the other individuals. Parents give a name to their child by common agreement. However, if the parents may not agree on the name for their child, the name is given by the competent social work centre in role of custodial authority.


2. Procedure of personal name change in the Federation of BiH

Any individual has a legal right to change his or her name (full name/first name and surname, only the first name or only the surname). Most commonly, the name change occurs on the occasion of entering into marriage, when women, as a rule, change their surname and replace their maiden surname by their spouse’s surname; or after divorce, when a woman wants to restore to her maiden surname. However, any individual has a legal right to change his or her name on any other occasion and due to any reason whatsoever. 

Name change applications are to be filed to the Cantonal Ministry of Internal Affairs, according to the applicant’s place of residence. 

Name change applications may also be filed through a proxy – an attorney, in which case, the applicant’s declaration on the name he or she wants to use in future legal transactions must be verified by a competent institution and enclosed to the application.   


3. Change of personal identity documents (identity card, passport etc.)

After an individual’s personal name is changed in the Main Register, all identity documents of that individual must be replaced by the new ones with the changed name.
The person who changed his or her full name or only the first name or only the surname is obliged to file an application for change of all his or her identity documents (identity card, passport, driving licence and other documents) at the latest within 15 days from the day of entering the name change into the Main Register.

Name change applications are to be filed to the Cantonal Ministry of Internal Affairs, according to the applicant’s place of residence.

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