You can be known by any name you like (such as a nickname) as long as it is not for a criminal purpose. To adopt a nickname, you don’t need to take any official steps or notify people.
However, if as an adult, you want to be officially known by another name, or change your name, you need to complete a deed poll or a statutory declaration of change of name and then notify everyone of the change. A Statutory declaration of name change, should be sufficient for most purposes. However some official government departments, such as HM Passport Office (HMPO), may require you to change your name using a deed poll which is a more formal document as it can be enrolled at court. Ask a lawyer for further information.
You can change any part of your name, whether it’s your forename or surname, unless you are doing so with mischievous or criminal intent.
If you were born or subject to an entry in the Adopted Children Register, the Parental Order Register, or the Gender Recognition Register in Scotland, you may apply to record a change of name by the Registrar General. To do this, you will need to complete and send off an Form 24. Leaflet RCN1 offers useful guidance on the matter.
You can record a change of first name once and a change of surname up to three times using Form 24. Five years must pass between successive changes in surname. Once you have reached the limit on recording name changes, you can still change your name however, you cannot record it officially.
If you cannot register a name change in Scotland, you can change your name by Statutory declaration or deed poll.