Can You Change Your Last Name With a Civil Union in Illinois?

By Anna Assad

A civil union in Illinois gives a couple the same rights a married couple enjoys under state laws. Like a married couple, a partner in a civil union might want to change his last name to that of his partner's. Once the couple has a valid Illinois civil union certificate, either partner may begin the process to change his last name on legal forms of identification.


A same sex or opposite sex couple may enter into a civil union in Illinois if they meet state requirements. Both persons entering a civil union in the state must be at least 18 and not already married or in another civil union. If a person entering into a new civil union was already in a civil union or married and her former partner is still living, she must divorce or legally end the prior union before entering into the new one. Civil unions are not allowed between relatives, such as siblings, and this includes persons who were adopted and are not blood relatives.


Illinois recognizes civil unions by giving the couple a license. A couple must apply for a license in an Illinois county clerk's office. They may apply to any county clerk's office in the state, but the license must be certified by an officiant in the issuing county. License fees vary by county. The application process varies slightly by county. Applicants must provide their names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, birth locations and any other personal information the clerk's office asks for. Any relationship the couple has to each other must be disclosed on the application, as well as information about prior marriages or civil unions either person was in. Applicants have to provide identification, such as a valid driver's license, and they may need additional forms of identification, including birth certificates. Once a license is issued, the couple must have the license certified and signed by an officiant for official recognition by Illinois. After a license is signed by the officiant and filed with the issuing county clerk, it's referred to as a certificate.

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State Identification Name Change

A person in a civil union recognized by Illinois may change his name on his state identification by applying for a corrected license at an Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles facility. A certified copy--an official copy stamped by the issuing county clerk's office--of the civil union certificate is necessary for state identification name changes, according to the official website of Equality Illinois.

Passport Name Change

A person with a valid Illinois civil union certificate may change his name on his passport by completing and filling Form DS-5504 or Form DS-82 with the Department of State. Form DS-5504 is for a person with a passport that is less than one year old only; others must use Form DS-82. In addition to the documentation required by the Department of State, the person must provide a certified copy of his civil union certificate, as well as proof that his name is changed on his Illinois identification.

Social Security Card Name Change

The Social Security Administration recognizes an Illinois civil union as a legal reason for a name change on a Social Security card. A person in an Illinois civil union may use Form SS-5 to apply for a new card with the new last name. The basic documents required for a new card still apply, and the person must provide a certified copy of the certificate with the application.

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