There are several reasons for changing your name, whether that be due to marriage, a civil partnership, divorce, or wanting to be known by a nickname. Irrespective of the reason, the process for changing your name should be done correctly. We discuss how to change your name in the UK and who you should inform once you have made the new change.
Who can change their name?
If you are over the age of 18, you can officially change your name. You can choose to change any part of your name, whether it’s your forename or surname and can be known as any name as long as it is not for criminal intent or purpose. The process of changing your name involves you completing a deed poll or a Statutory declaration of name change.
What is a statutory declaration of name change?
A statutory declaration is a formal way to change your name and have it recognised by some government organisations, banks and utility companies. It is usually the easiest way to use a statutory declaration and it has to be signed under oath (ie sworn) in the presence of a solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths. You can find a solicitor by using your local law firm or on the Law Society website and request if they provide a Commissioner for Oaths service.
Once you have signed your statutory declaration of name change in both your old and new name, the solicitor Commissioner for Oaths will date and sign the statutory declaration of name change underneath your signatures, and print their full name and address. Most solicitors have a stamp with their address details for this purpose. You can also ask the solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths to certify some copies as you may need more than one. Having a certified copy means that it has been confirmed by them as a true copy of the original document.
Use our Statutory declaration of name change to change your name.
What is a deed poll?
A deed poll is a more formal document than a statutory declaration of name change as it can be enrolled at court. You may need to change your name by deed poll in certain circumstances, including to have your name change recognised by some official government departments, such as HM Passport Office.
A deed poll can either be made in one of those ways, either as:
An unenrolled deed poll is a simple legal statement that you can make yourself if you are aged 16 or above as proof of your new name. Some organisations may not accept an unenrolled deed poll as proof of your new name and you may require an enrolled deed poll.
An enrolled deed poll means that you are putting your new name on the public record and officially registered at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Currently, the cost of changing your name by an enrolled deed poll is £42.44. You can make an enrolled deed poll for yourself if you are 18 or above.
Who do I need to tell once I’ve changed my name?
Most organisations, including HM Passport Office and the DVLA, will want to see your original deed poll, irrespective of it being enrolled or unenrolled, as proof of your name. You must tell everyone who holds a record of your details that you have changed your name. If you fail to do so, you could be deemed as committing fraud. It is recommended that you renew your passport first and use this as evidence of your name change instead of using your deed poll. You should also ensure that you are enrolled to vote under the correct name in the electoral register.
I’m taking on my spouse’s surname, what do I need to do?
If you are married or in a civil partnership, you do not need to complete a deed poll or statutory declaration of name change to take your spouse’s or civil partner’s surname. All you need to do is send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders, such as benefits offices, for free.
What do I need to do if I’m changing my name after a divorce or civil partnership dissolution?
You may be able to return to your original name by showing record-holders either your:
- marriage certificate and decree absolute (ie the official legal document that ends a marriage); or
- civil partnership certificate and final order
Some organisations may not change your name after your divorce or civil partnership dissolution without a deed poll or statutory declaration of name change.