Changing names

Changing names

Changing your name

There are 2 ways to change your name:

  • Statutory declaration
  • Execution of a deed poll

Statutory declaration

If you are using a new name but have never taken any formal steps to change it, you can use a 'Statutory declaration' to formally acknowledge your new name. You have to take a statutory declaration to a Commissioner for Oaths, so that it can be formally 'sworn'. This makes it valid. Most solicitors are Commissioners for Oaths. After this, you just keep the document and make copies of it to show proof of the name change if you need to.

Statutory declarations can be cheaper than the deed poll method, but the disadvantage is that some UK government departments and other organisations do not accept them as evidence and ask for a deed poll instead.

Deed Poll

A deed poll is the more traditional method of changing your name. It provides official evidence of the change. It needs to be signed by 2 witnesses aged 18 or over (not your spouse, civil partner or anyone living at your address). As an optional extra, deed polls can be 'enrolled' at the Royal Courts of Justice – this just means that there is a public record of the change. You will need to prepare extra documents to enrol a deed poll.

Changing the name of a child

You may only change the name of a child if you have parental responsibility (Children) for that child.

To change the name of a child, the deed poll must be signed by you or another person that has parental responsibility for the child. Every other person with parental responsibility for the child must also consent to the application. Also, if the minor is 16 or over, they must give their own consent by signing the deed poll in both their old and new names. (Note also that you can't change a name by deed poll for a child over 16 who is or has been married or in a civil partnership. They would have to do their own.)

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