A Guide to Changing Your Legal Name in Pakistan: NADRA and the Court Process Introduction


Changing your legal name is a significant decision, and it can have various personal, social, and legal implications. In Pakistan, the process of changing one’s name is regulated by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and, in some cases, may require legal proceedings in court. This blog will guide you through the process of changing your legal name in Pakistan, taking into account the relevant laws and procedures.

Part 1: NADRA’s Role in Name Change

NADRA, the National Database and Registration Authority, plays a pivotal role in the process of changing your legal name in Pakistan. It is the primary government agency responsible for maintaining the records of Pakistani citizens. Here are the steps involved in changing your name with NADRA:

1. Documentation: Gather the necessary documents, including your original CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) or NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis), as well as supporting documents such as a marriage certificate, divorce certificate, or other legal documents that justify the name change.

2. Application Form: Visit your nearest NADRA office and obtain the name change application form. You can also download it from NADRA’s official website. Fill out the form accurately, providing all required details.

3. Photographs: Attach recent passport-sized photographs to the application form as per NADRA’s specifications.

4. Submit Your Application: Submit the completed application form along with the supporting documents and fees at the NADRA office. The fees for a name change may vary, so it’s advisable to check the current rates before visiting.

5. Biometric Verification: NADRA will conduct biometric verification to confirm your identity.

6. Wait for Approval: NADRA will review your application, and if everything is in order, they will issue a new CNIC or NICOP with your updated name.

Part 2: Legal Name Change via Court Proceedings

In certain cases, NADRA may not approve a name change application without a court order. This typically applies when:

You want to change your name to something significantly different from your existing name.
There are objections from family members or other parties.
Your name change is due to a legal dispute or court order.

Here’s the process for obtaining a court-ordered name change in Pakistan:

1. Consult an Attorney: Seek legal counsel from a qualified lawyer who specializes in name change cases. They will guide you through the legal process and help you draft a petition for name change.

2. Prepare the Petition: Your attorney will assist you in preparing a petition that outlines the reasons for the name change and provides supporting evidence, if necessary.

3. File the Petition: Your attorney will file the petition in the relevant court, which is typically a civil court. Ensure you pay the required court fees during the filing process.

4. Notice to Authorities: After filing the petition, the court will notify government authorities, including NADRA and the National Publication Authority (if necessary), to make the necessary changes to your records.

5. Publication of Notice: In some cases, the court may order the publication of a notice in a widely circulated newspaper to inform the public of your intention to change your name. This is to allow any objections to be raised by concerned parties.

6. Court Hearing: Attend the court hearing on the specified date along with your attorney. If the court is satisfied with your reasons for changing your name and there are no valid objections, they will issue a formal order approving the name change.

7. Notify NADRA: Once you obtain the court order, submit a copy to NADRA, along with the necessary documentation, to have your CNIC or NICOP updated with your new name.


Changing your legal name in Pakistan can be a straightforward process through NADRA, but in certain situations, it may require court intervention. Always consult with legal experts to ensure you follow the appropriate legal procedures and comply with the relevant laws. Remember that changing your name is a significant decision, and it’s essential to do so for valid and legal reasons while respecting the regulations in place.

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