I am a NZ citizen living overseas as an expat for the past 20 years. My three children have NZ citizenship by descent

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Customer: I am a NZ citizen living overseas as an expat for the past 20 years. My three children have NZ citizenship by descent and NZ passports, my wife maintains her Burmese passport. I am considering changing my name and want assistance to direct me on all of the implications, particularly for my children and living abroad moving from country to country, different visas, resident permits, implications on marriage / birth certificates etc. We do intend to return to NZ within the next 5-6 years.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any paperwork with the government?
Customer: Nothing yet
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about the visa?
Customer: No. You're the first
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Probably long overdue to do a will as well.
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 9 mins 2 years ago
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

Customer
Great, thanks
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Under New Zealand law, you can change your name at any time. You can do this informally, or you can make a formal application to the Department of Internal Affairs for a name change. If you change your name, it won't have any effect on anybody else, such as your children or your wife. There will be a certain amount of work to change names on things like your passport and driver's licence. It could make things more difficult overseas as different countries have different requirements over the use of different names. If you intend to return to New Zealand, and it isn't important about the timing to do the name change, I would be inclined to wait until you got here because New Zealand is fairly relaxed about use of different names. If you want to change now, I would recommend using a more formal process which can be done yourself online at a relatively modest fee which is I think currently $170. This will provide an official document which you can then show to the authorities to change things like work permits and visas

Customer
Thanks for that, I pretty much expected it might get complicated. The intention will be to change my children as well. Usually every country we move to there is a need for marriage, birth certificates etc. I can assume it will be difficult for different bodies receiving these documents which are not featuring the 'changed' name. I was married overseas in Myanmar and the kids were born in Myanmar, Malaysia and Dubai with birth certificates from those countries. Are there any service companies specialising in this where I could just provide all these documents and get an assessment of what would be involved?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I am not personally aware of any companies which would do this for you. It's not common to change names, although in New Zealand the process is fairly simple. When the change of name is ***** ***** the New Zealand documents can be readily altered but my experience of other countries is that they tend to be more bureaucratic especially when they see documents from another country. When they are non-English-speaking you would need to get documents translated and probably apostilled and notarised. Frankly, unless it is important for other reasons, I would be inclined to leave this until you came back to New Zealand

Customer
Thanks Chris, I think that's pretty clear.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Thank you for the reply and for using this site. You may ask further questions or rate this answer when you are ready.

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