File a Name Change
University policy states that a student's primary name in the student database must be identical to the name on the Social Security card (for US citizens or permanent residents) or passport (for international students). The registrar’s office for the student’s school or program will process name change requests for current students who are US citizens or permanent residents and who provide appropriate documentation. Students who hold an F1 or J1 visa must contact the International Office to request a name change. University policy states that once students separate from the University their records are closed and names must not be changed.
Present the following information to the registrar’s office:
- Application for Change of Name
- Government-issued photo identification
- Original Social Security card with new name OR
- Copy of legal documentation confirming legal name change
Once this documentation has been presented to the registrar’s office, please allow a minimum of 48 hours for the change to take effect. For students who are not able to submit documents in person, fax (847-491-8458 to the Evanston Registrar) or mail (633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208) is acceptable; all documents submitted via fax or mail must be notarized to ensure the person’s identity is verified. Electronic submission is not allowed due to the sensitive nature of private demographic information.
Current students* can use CAESAR to record a “preferred” first and/or middle name, a name the student wishes to be commonly known by, if different from their legal first name. Students should navigate to the Personal Profile menu and click on My Names. Preferred names are displayed on Instructor Class Rosters, Instructor Grade Rosters, Course Management System (Canvas), and the Northwestern Online Directory.
Please note: the “primary” name remains the legal name reported to Northwestern at the time of application and will continue to appear on transcripts, the Wildcard, and any documentation involving financial aid, visa or SEVIS documentation or student accounts. Students must continue to use their primary names when conducting official University business. In addition, indicating a preferred name will not change the e-mail address that appears in the NU Online Directory. It is important to know that the primary name can only be changed by visiting the Office of the Registrar and requesting a formal name change (see above).
*Kellogg students can record preferred names in the Kellogg Student Directory (KSD), rather than CAESAR.
Students who change gender on legal documents may request their University records be changed to reflect that by filing a “change to demographic information” form, available at the Office of the Registrar, and providing government-issued documentation such as a driver’s license or passport displaying the new gender. Students who are in gender transition or no longer identify with their birth or legal gender may request their University records be changed to reflect a U or unknown gender, using the same form.