American Samoa Identity Documents

American Samoa Name Change Laws

Name Changes for Adults


The process for an adult to change their name (not due to marriage or divorce) begins with the filing of a Petition for Name Change and a Notice of Hearing with the High Court in Pago Pago. After filing a Petition and paying the required filing fee, the Court will schedule a hearing. The Petitioner is required to publish the Notice of Hearing in a newspaper prior to that hearing. 

American Samoa has no specific statutory guidance for name changes, though there is a general process that exists based on common practice and predecents from earlier cases. In the past, the Court has granted legal name changes to petitioners who have petitioned the court for a change of name, given that the change of name is not sought for any fraudulent purpose or infringes upon the rights of others (See Application of Pita Amataga for Change of Name, CA No. 85-95 (1995)).

Since American Samoa has only vague official processes and little official guidance for the name change process, Petitioners should consider consulting an attorney or an organization such as American Samoa Legal Aid.


Step 1: Prepare Petition for Name Change

A person who wants to change their name must file a Petition for Name Change and a Notice of Hearing in the High Court. There is no set form available or required for the Petition and Notice.

The Petition for a Name Change should include:

  1. A statement of the legal authority for the filing, A.S.C.A. § 3.0208(a), which designates the High Court as "a court of general jurisdiction with the power to hear any matter not otherwise provided for by statute."
  2. The Petitioner's citizenship and village of residence.
  3. The Petitioner's date of birth (to establish adulthood).
  4. The reasons for the name change.
  5. The requested change.
  6. A statement that the request for name change is not for an illegal purpose - specifically, that the Petitioner is not requesting the change to avoid law enforcement, legal process, or creditors - and that Petitioner is not aware of any pending legal action against them.
  7. A request for the High Court to set a hearing date, grant the name change, and provide the Registrar of Vital Statistics with a certified copy of the Order Granting Name Change.
  8. Petitioner's notarized oath that the statements in the Petition are true.

For more information, see American Samoa Legal Aid: Name Changes.

Step 2: File Petition and Notice

The Petition and Notice must be filed with the High Court. It can be mailed to:

High Court of American Samoa

P.O. Box 309

Pago Pago

AS 96799

The filing fee for a civil action in the High Court is $100.00.


Step 3: Publish Notice in the Newspaper

The High Court will return the Notice of Hearing that the Petitioner initially filed with the hearing date. The Petitioner should forward that notice to a newspaper of general circulation to be published twice, with the first publication date at least 30 days before the hearing. (See Application of Mase CA No. 97-02 (2004)).


Step 4: Attend the Hearing

At the hearing, the Petitioner should show proof that their family has been notified and either agree with the name change or have had a reasonable opportunity to present any opposition to the change. The Petitioner should also show proof of publication in a newspaper of general circulation, which provides constructive notice to any other persons potentially affected by the Petitioner's name change. If the Petitioner fails to show this proof, the Court may continue the matter and order the petitioner to give the required notice. (See Application of Pita Amataga for Change of Name, CA No. 85-95 (1995))

Step 5: Notify the Office of Vital Statistics

Once the court order has been granted, it should be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics:

   Office of Vital Statistics

    P.O. Box 6894
    Pago Pago
    AS 96799
    (684) 633-1405 or (684) 633-1406


Name Changes for Minors

There is no specific legal process for name changes for minors. Minors seeking to change their name should consult an attorney or an organization such as American Samoa Legal Aid.


American Samoa Drivers License Policy & Procedures

In order to update the name on an American Samoa driver's license or ID card, the applicant must first change their name with the Social Security Administration. For more information on that process, visit the Social Security Record section of the ID Documents Center. Once the Social Security records have been updated, the applicant must then update their driver's license or ID card.

There is no official guidance on the process for updating the name on an American Samoa license or ID, but applicants should be prepared to fill out an application form, present the court order granting their name change, and a Social Security card with the new name on it. The fee to obtain a new license or ID card, or to renew one, is $12.00. It is valid for three years.

American Samoa has no established policy for amending the gender marker on a driver’s license.


American Samoa Birth Certificate Laws

The High Court of American Samoa has held that the alteration of a birth certificate is granted only to correct information that was erroneous at the time of recordation, or to reflect a name change due to adoption. See Application of Mase CA No. 97-02.(2004)).  However, anecdotally we have heard that the Office of Vital Statistics will change the name on a birth certificate when presented with a name change order, and may change the gender marker on a birth certificate upon receiving medical documentation of transition-related medical care. People interested in changing the name and gender marker on their birth certificate should consult an attorney.

The Office of Vital Statistics can be contacted at:

    Office of Vital Statistics:
    P.O. Box 6894
    Pago Pago
    AS 96799
    (684) 633-1405 or (684) 633-1406

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