How Long Will a Name Change Take?

State Time to Complete
AK2-8 weeks
AL3-10 weeks
AR2-8 weeks
AZ30 days or less
CA6-8 weeks
CO4-5 months
CT3-5 weeks
DC6-8 weeks
DE6 months or longer
FL4-5 months
GA5-6 weeks
HI60-90 days
IA30 days
ID6-8 weeks
IL8-10 weeks
IN 60 days
KS2-3 months
KY3-8 weeks
MA6-8 weeks
MDUp to 8 weeks or longer
ME2 months
MI60-90 days
MN2 months
MT6 weeks
NC3-4 months
ND3-4 months
NE6 weeks
NH3-8 weeks
NJ2-3 months
NM2-8 weeks
NV60 days
NY4-6 weeks
OH4-6 weeks
OK2-8 weeks
OR2-8 weeks
PA2-8 weeks
RI2-8 weeks
SC2-8 weeks
SD2-8 weeks
TN2-8 weeks
TX2-8 weeks
UT2-8 weeks
VA2-8 weeks
VT2-4 weeks
WA2-8 weeks
WI2-8 weeks
WV2-8 weeks
WY2-8 weeks

Before you file your name change, you probably want to know how long it takes to get the name change approved by the court. The “Time to Complete” listed for each state is only a loose estimate, because there are many factors that can affect the approval time for a name change.

Residency Requirements

In order to even file your name change with the court, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file. All states require the person filing for a name change to be a resident of that state (often six months and sometimes for as long as a year) before filing for a name change. If you don’t meet the residency requirements for your state, you will have to wait until you do in order to file your name change.

Fingerprints and/or Background Check

Some states require adults to get fingerprinted and either submit the fingerprint card when you file for your name change, or to get fingerprinted and also have a background check completed before you can file for a name change. Depending on the court, background checks can take anywhere from a week to more than a month to complete.

  • Colorado – requires fingerprinting and an FBI background check prior to filing for a name change.
  • Florida – requires fingerprinting and a state/federal background check prior to filing for a name change.
  • Michigan – requires fingerprinting and a background check (for anyone 22 years of age or older) after filing the Petition to Change Name with the court. The court may decide to wait for the results of the background check before issuing a hearing date.
  • South Carolina – requires fingerprinting and a background check prior to filing for a name change. Also required are a screening statement from the Department of Social Services, and a sex offender search.
  • Texas – requires fingerprinting. The fingerprint card will be filed with the court when you file for a name change.

Publishing the Name Change

Most states require you to publish a notice of your intended name change. Publishing the notice allows any creditors or other interested parties time to object to the name change, should they decide to do so. Publication requirements vary from state to state, and sometimes county to county. Some courts require you to publish the notice and let it run for a certain amount of time prior to filing for a name change. Other courts allow you to file for the name change first, and then complete the publication requirements.

Attending a Hearing

Some states will also require a hearing before your name change is approved. This requirement varies greatly from state to state, county by county, even judge to judge. When you file your application/petition for a name change and a hearing is required, the court clerk will either schedule your name change hearing at that time, or will mail you a hearing notice at a later date. Some courts will even require you to publish notice of your hearing so that anyone objecting to your name change can appear in court to testify.

Heavy Court Caseloads

If the court where you are filing your name change is experiencing heavy court caseloads (more than normal cases being filed around the same time), it can cause delays in processing times, and can take longer to get a hearing date, if one is required. In this case, there’s not much you can do, but wait it out.

Know What to Expect: Contact the Court Clerk

For the most accurate information, you can contact the Court Clerk at the court where you will file your name change, and ask the following information:

  1. How long are name changes currently taking?
  2. Are fingerprints and a background check required?
  3. What (if any) are the publication requirements?
  4. Is a hearing required?

To know what court to contact, see: Name Change Filing Courts