FAQ ­ Frequently Asked Questions


NAMES ON NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE FORM (NOIM)

Q.1 What names should parties write on the NOIM?
A: Most people use the name that is recorded on their birth certificate so in most cases when completing the NOIM parties will write their name as it appears on their birth certificate. You should ensure that they write their name exactly as it appears on their birth certificate. The spelling must be identical and all given names which appear on the birth certificate must be included on the NOIM. If a person has changed their name from the name on their birth certificate by way of a change of name certificate they should write this name on the NOIM.
In cases where parties have obtained a Change of Name certificate you should ensure that they have written their name exactly as it appears on the Change of Name certificate.
In cases where parties have changed their name by marriage and have retained a previous spouse's surname you should ensure that they have written their surname exactly as it appears on the previous marriage certificate. Their given names should be written exactly as they appear on the parties' birth certificates or Change of Name certificates as appropriate.Terms such as “ka”, “aka” and “nee” must not be used.

NAMES ON BIRTH CERTIFICATES

Q.2 What if a person believes the spelling on his or her birth certificate is incorrect?
(For example, the name on their birth certificate is spelt 'Vicky' and they have always used 'Vicki'.)
A: You should tell them that their name as it appears on their birth certificate and their name as it appears on the NOIM should be the same.
You should also tell them any discrepancy between their name as it appears on their birth certificate and their name as it appears on the marriage documents will mean that they will encounter problems if they wish to obtain an Australian passport in their married name.
If the person believes there is an error in the spelling on their birth certificate they may apply to have the birth certificate corrected.

Q.3 What if a person does not want all their given names on the NOIM?
(For example, they have four given names on the birth certificate and they have always only used two of those names.)
A: They should use all four names on the NOIM. You should tell them that their name as it appears on their birth certificate and their name as it appears on the NOIM should be the same. You should also tell them any discrepancy between their name as it appears on their birth certificate and their name as it appears on the marriage documents will mean that they will encounter problems if they wish to obtain an Australian passport in their married name.

Q.4 Is there anything a party can do to overcome the problems raised in Questions 2 and 3 of using a different name from that on their birth certificate?
A:
 Yes. They can apply to the BDM in the state where they were born or where they live for a Change of Name certificate to be issued to them to reflect the spelling of their name that they commonly use, or to reflect the given names they actually use.
Note: This is slightly different in Queensland, which will only accept applications for change of name from people born in Queensland or born overseas. They can then use the name on the Change of Name certificate on the NOIM, rather than the birth certificate name.

Q.5 A party to a marriage has lived for many years with a step-father and though not formally adopted has always used that step-father's name. Which name should they use on the NOIM
A:
 In this case the party should use the name on their birth certificate. If they do not wish to do this, they can apply to the BDM in the state where they live or were born for a Change of Name certificate, to reflect the name as it has been changed by usage. They can then use this name on the NOIM.

CHANGE OF NAME

Q.6 Do they have to do this, i.e. a change of name, before they can lodge a NOIM?
A:
  No. They can lodge the NOIM using the name on their birth certificate and this can be amended once the Change of Name certificate is obtained and prior to the completion of the marriage certificates. Parties should ask the relevant BDM how long this process will take. It will vary but should be less than the one month's minimum notice period.
The marriage celebrant may permit the change to be made in his or her presence by either of the parties at any time before the marriage has been solemnised.
The alteration should be initialled by the party correcting the error and by the celebrant. The corrected notice may then be treated as having been given in its corrected form. If the change of name is not obtained prior to the date of the marriage the original birth certificate name should be used on the marriage certificates.

Q.7 A party to a marriage tells me that they changed their name by usage and have a driver's licence and a Medicare card in that new name. Which name should be used?
A: In this case the person should use the name on their birth certificate. If they do not wish to do this they can apply to the BDM in the state where they live or were born for a Change of Name certificate to be issued to reflect the name changed by usage. Passports Australia has advised us that they will not accept a driver's licence as evidence of a person's name.

Q.8 Does this mean a person cannot change their name by usage?
A: No it does not mean this. A person can change their name by usage. If, however, they want to easily establish their name in future, including applying for an Australian passport they will need to provide evidence of that change of name by usage. For example, the only evidence of change of name by usage (other than in the case of marriage) accepted by Passports Australia is a Change of Name certificate issued by a BDM. Evidence of a change of name by marriage can be provided in the form of a marriage certificate obtained from the BDM in the State or Territory where the marriage took place.

Q.9 A party to a marriage changed their name by deed poll many years ago. Should they use this name on the NOIM?
A: No. The person should use the name on their birth certificate. If they do not wish to do this they should enquire at the BDM in the state where they were born or where they live to determine the procedures necessary to obtain a Change of Name certificate to reflect the name as it was changed by deed poll. (See note about Queensland under answer to Question 4).

Q.10 What is the difference between a change of name by Deed Poll and a Change of Name certificate?
A: In the past a person wishing to formally change their name would lodge an instrument with the State Registrar of Deeds or Titles. This was called changing your name by deed poll. That process has now largely been replaced throughout the States and Territories by Change of Name procedures under which a person applies to have a change of name registered with the State or Territory BDM.
Marriage Celebrants should be aware that Change of Name certificate procedures differ from Deed Poll procedures and that both procedures vary from state to state. Most states will only register a change of name for a person whose birth has been registered in that state or who has been resident there for a certain period of time.
Parties should be advised to check where and how to apply for the Change of Name certificate. In some states Deed Poll name changes have been transferred to the Register of Change of Names. People who have changed their name by Deed Poll should check with the BDM in the State or Territory where the change was executed whether they need to obtain a Change of Name certificate. Passports Australia has advised us that they will not accept a Deed Poll as evidence of a change of name.

Q.11 I have a party who does not wish to obtain a Change of Name certificate before their marriage and wishes to use the name they have changed by usage alone. What should I tell this person?
A: You should advise this person to think carefully about whether they may ever need identity documents, including a passport, in the future. It is possible to formally change their name after the marriage but the process may be more complicated for them.

Q.12 I have a party who does not wish to apply for a Change of Name certificate under any circumstances. What should I do in this case?
A: You should explain the possible future difficulties with obtaining a passport or possibly other identity documents. If they really believe this will never be an issue for them then you can put the name the party has changed by usage alone on the NOIM. You must advise them of the possible future issues for them. It would be advisable to make a written record of your advice, give a copy of that advice to the person and keep a copy for yourself.

PARTY BORN OVERSEAS

Q.13 A party to a marriage was born overseas and does not have an overseas birth certificate. What name should I put on the NOIM?
A: If the person does not have, or is not able to obtain, a birth certificate you will need to see a passport issued by a government of an overseas country. If that is not possible, get a statutory declaration executed under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 from the person to meet the requirements of section 42 of the Act relating to evidence of date and place of birth.
If the party is not an Australian citizen you may allow them to use the name on their overseas passport on the NOIM. If their name or date and place of birth are written in another alphabet you should advise them to provide you with a formal translation (by a qualified translator) of the document so that you know how the name should be written in English.
If the person is an Australian citizen then the name as shown on their Certificate of Citizenship should be used on the NOIM.
Please note that in this case you would only be using the citizenship certificate to confirm the spelling of the person's name, and for no other purpose. The same care should be taken with copying the details of the spelling as with copying the details from a birth certificate.

Q.14 What if a person tells me there is an error in the name on their citizenship certificate?
A: You should advise them to approach the Department of Immigration and Citizenship about having the error corrected. If this is not possible they will need to apply to the BDM in the state where they live for a Change of Name certificate to be issued to reflect the correct spelling of their name.

Q.15 A party has been married before and they are divorced or their spouse has died. What surname should they put on the NOIM?
A: A person in this situation has a choice. If they have continued using their birth name they may enter that name on the NOIM. If they reverted to their birth name after the death or divorce they may enter their birth name on the NOIM. If they changed their name as a result of the first marriage and have kept using that name then they may use this name on the NOIM. The marriage celebrant will of course need to see evidence of the death of, or divorce from, the first spouse.

Q.16 A party has been married before, they are divorced or their spouse has died and the first marriage took place overseas. What surname should they put on the NOIM?
A: A person in this situation has a choice.
If they have continued using their birth surname they may enter that name on the NOIM.
If they reverted to their birth surname after the death or divorce they may enter their birth name on the NOIM.
If they changed their name as a result of the first marriage and have kept using that name then they may use this name on the NOIM.
The marriage celebrant will of course need to see evidence of the death of, or divorce from, the first spouse. You need to advise the person that there may be consequences if they wish to obtain an Australian passport after the marriage. This is because Passports Australia will not accept an overseas marriage certificate as evidence of change of name. People who marry overseas must go through a formal change of name procedure if they wish to obtain an Australian passport using the married name.

Q.17 What if a party to a marriage has been married twice and has continued to use the surname of the first spouse, for example because she has children from that marriage?
A: This is perfectly acceptable. The person may use the surname of the first spouse on the NOIM. The marriage celebrant will need to see evidence of the death of, or divorce from, the most recent spouse to satisfy the requirements under section 42 of the Act.
If a party is using a surname that is not their birth name and is not their most recent married name the celebrant should be sure to see some evidence of this name when they establish the person's identity for the purposes of section 42(8) of the Act. This may be a driver's licence or the relevant marriage or divorce documents. If the person wishes to obtain a passport in either the old or the new married name they will need to be able to provide the relevant marriage certificates to Passports Australia.

NAMES on MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES

Q.18 What names should be written (or printed) on the marriage certificates?
A: The names on the marriage certificates should agree exactly with the names on the NOIM. You should make certain to look again at the original documents from which those names were derived i.e. the birth certificates, marriage certificates or Change of Name certificates and not just rely on copying from the NOIM.
If you copy from the NOIM you may repeat an error from the NOIM.If you find there is a mistake on the NOIM you should correct it. The marriage celebrant may permit the change to be made in his or her presence by either of the parties at any time before the marriage has been solemnised. The alteration should be initialled by the party correcting the error and by the celebrant. The corrected notice may then be treated as having been given in its corrected form.

Q.19 Do the names on all three marriage certificates need to be the same?
A: Yes. All three marriage certificates which the couple sign are official evidence that the marriage took place and have authority under the Act. As such they should be the same in all respects.
You must use the same name on all three marriage certificates, i.e. Form 15, the retained certificate and Form 16 (the certificate forwarded to BDM for registration of the marriage).
For the information of marrying couples, marriage celebrants should be aware that Passports Australia and many other agencies will only accept a registered copy of a marriage certificate issued by a BDM for their purposes. You should draw their attention to the wording on the back of the Form 15 certificate that explains this.

SIGNATURES on MARRIAGE DOCUMENTS

Q.20 How should the NOIM be signed
A:  The NOIM should be signed using the person's usual signature. Please see the section entitled “Signature” commencing on page 12 of these materials for more information on signing NOIMs.

Q.21 How should the marriage certificates be signed?
A: The marriage certificates should all be signed using the parties' usual signatures.The signatures should be the same as the signatures on the NOIM and on the Form 14 declarations. The certificates should be signed in the pre-marriage names.