Changing Your Name in Malaysia

  • Personal Legal Procedures
Changing Your Name in Malaysia

In the world of globalization, changing a Malaysian name to make it match another naming convention could make life easier for those who are frequently traveling, living in another country, or working in an international setting. Another situation might involve changing the name of the child after a divorce.

There is a general procedure foreseen for name change in Malaysia, as described below. For individual cases, please turn to our attorneys, who will account for your specific circumstances.

Typical Cases for Name Change

The situations which may induce someone to change his or her can be diverse and below are just a few most common examples:

  • changing a child’s name after divorce until he or she reaches the age of 21,
  • changing the last name to that of husband, e,g., when marrying a Westerner,
  • adding, deleting, or modifying punctuations, or characters in your name,
  • changing just a part of the name or the whole name in full, including surname,
  • changing the name for religious reasons, for example when converting to another religion,
  • changing the sequence in your name, e.g., having surname/family name coming last.

Please note that name changes cannot be made through a consulate.  To change the name, you must be physically present in Malaysia as you have to appear in person in Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN), also known as the National Registration Department (NRD). 

Procedure for Name Change in Malaysia

Step 1 – preparing necessary documents. To apply for the name change in Malaysia, you will have to provide the authorities with the following documents:

  • Passport,
  • Malaysian Identity Card,
  • Malaysian Citizenship Certificate,
  • Letter from your church confirming conversion if changing the name for religion reasons,
  • Malaysian Birth Certificate or Borang W if the child was born abroad when applying to change a child’s name.

You should make sure that all of these documents are ready before filing your application.

Step 2 – visit the NRD office. When you go to the NRD, you will be provided with the JPN KP16 form. Please note that any online forms on Malaysian official websites or other platforms are provided for reference only. You cannot print out an online form to file an application. In order to submit an application for name change in Malaysia, you will need to receive a JPN KP16 form directly from the NRD representative.

Step 3 – prepare an Oath letter. After getting the JPN KP16 form, you will need to meet a Commissioner for Oaths who will use the form to prepare the Oath letter.

Step 4 – submit the application. You will need to pay the fee of RM 10.00 and submit your application directly to the NRD office.

Step 5 – receive a new Malaysian Identity Card. Depending on the reason for the name change, it may take from several days to several months to receive a new Malaysian Identity Card. Thus, for example, changing the name for religious reasons normally takes several days only while other cases may take much longer.

After the request is approved, you should collect the new Identity Card from the JPN office. The existing regulations allow collecting the card within three years, which is a great relief for those who are traveling and cannot wait until receiving the new card.

Steps to Take After Name Change

Change of passport. After obtaining the new Identity Card,   you should inform the Malaysian Immigration Service (Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia) and immediately apply for the name change in your passport. 

Informing other organizations.  You will also need to notify all other organizations you interact with, for example, insurance companies, a telephone company, or your landlord, just to name a few. The banks will replace your credit cards to change the name on the cards as well.

Summary

There are various situations when you might want to change your legal name in Malaysia, which would require you to submit your application in person, visiting the office of the Malaysian National Registration Department (NRD).

While you might do this on your own, following the general guidelines as above, it is recommended to turn to an experienced lawyer who will account for your individual situation, help in filling in the forms, and make sure you meet all the requirements before submitting your application.