How to Change your Name in Hong Kong


A multi-cultural society like Hong Kong’s has many people engaging with various kinds of identity. Ethnic Chinese citizens of Hong Kong may want to acquire a westernized English name for professional or personal reasons while Chinese immigrants from the mainland may want to acquire a new name to go with a new identity. Then again people may want to change their names due to alteration in marital status. So if you live in Hong Kong and wish to change your name, here are few things to keep in mind.

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In keeping with its British colonial influence, an official change of name in Hong Kong follows the Deed Poll process. A Deed Poll is a legal document which legally binds the person who signs it to a particular course of action as detailed on the Deed Poll document. It is a form of legal contract but it differs from legal contracts between two or more parties in that it only concerns one person who signs on it in the presence of a witness. In general, a Deed Poll for a change of name contains three declarations; these are:

  • Abandoning the use of your former name,
  • Using your new name only at all times;
  • Requiring all persons to address you by your new name only.

In Hong Kong, when you execute a Deed Poll for change of name, you are required to sign it, date it and have it witnessed before a solicitor. Changing your name by the Deed Poll process is allowed only when you are above eighteen years of age and in the possession of an identity card issued by the government of Hong Kong.

This brings to the second part of the legal name-changing process. In Hong Kong, the identity card issued by the Immigration Office is the most important document a citizen can possess, much in the manner of social security card in the US. Since 23 June 2003, Hong Kong identity cards have been issued in the form of smart cards, embedded with an integrated circuit or ‘chip’ that stores and processes personal data like name, name in Chinese commercial code (if any), gender, date of birth and identity card number. In fact under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, all residents of Hong Kong aged 11 or above are required to register for an identity card, except those who have been exempted under certain conditions like being in-transit travelers, consular staff of the Office of the Commission of the European Communities and the blind, the aged or infirm who satisfy a registration officer that their personal attendance for the registration of Hong Kong identity card will injure their health or the health of others are not required to register or apply for the issue or renewal of an identity card.

So once you have gone through the Deed Poll process to change your name, you immediately need to update your new name on your identity card. For this you will have obtain certain immigration forms; you can do this either through the Immigration office in Hong Kong or through a solicitor. The application form number ROP73 allows you to change the personal particulars on your card and send it by post with copies of supporting documents to the Registration of Persons at Immigrations Office, Wan Chai.  Among the documents that may be required for submission of your application of name change to the government are copy of your current Hong Kong ID, copy of your current Hong Kong passport and copy of your birth certificate.  You can also submit the application form by email at [email protected]

Upon receipt of your application, the Registration of Persons Office will ask you to attend an interview where they will ask you to produce the originals of your supporting documents. If the application is approved, arrangements will be made to replace your identity card at a fee of HK$420. If you want to change your name, at the interview, you should produce documents relating to your change of name such as deed poll, marriage certificate or travel document.

These days it is becoming increasingly common for ethnic Chinese residents of Hong Kong to adopt a western-style Chinese name in addition to their phonetic English name. In most cases the official way to do this is to go through the Deed Poll process. However, the Immigration Department which is responsible for processing applications for name change may allow such applications without the Deed Poll document; anyone who has a phonetic English name only and wishes to take on an additional western-style English name as part of his or her legal name can apply to the Immigration Department without a deed poll. However only one application of this kind is allowed for each applicant; any application for subsequent change(s) will have to be made with a deed poll.