Changing your name

Changing your name

Contents

Overview

As long as you aren't trying to deceive or defraud anyone, you can call yourself any name you choose.

You don't need to follow a formal process in changing your forename or surname. However, all UK government departments (including the Home Office Passport and Identity service), the DVLA and other official bodies won't recognise a name change unless a formal process is followed, so it is usually better to change your name formally. You can do this by statutory declaration or deed poll.

Statutory declaration or deed poll?

In Scotland, statutory declarations have taken the place of the deed poll. A statutory declaration is a statement recording your intention to abandon your old name and adopt a new one. A statutory declaration can be accepted as evidence of your change of name. Bear in mind though that unlike Scotland, the rest of the UK does not view a statutory declaration to be as formal as a deed poll (see below) and in some cases it can be considered less definitive.

This means that some UK government departments and certain other organisations will not accept a statutory declaration as sufficient evidence of a name change and may require a deed poll.

Changing a name on your birth certificate

If you were born in Scotland (and the birth was registered), you can formally record your name change with the National Records of Scotland (also known as the General Register Office for Scotland). This process results in a new birth certificate with your new name on it. You have to pay a fee for this process.

Changing the name of a child

A child is someone considered to be under the age of 16, and the following rules apply:

  • Where there is only one parent with parental responsibilities for the child, the parent can apply for the name change.
  • Where there are 2 parents with parental responsibilities for the child, both parents can apply for the name change.
  • Where neither parent has parental responsibilities for the child, then whoever has acquired the parental responsibilities for the child can apply.

The application must be made through the National Records of Scotland (a.k.a. the General Register of Scotland). The process is subject to a fee.

If you cannot obtain consent for change of name

Even if a parent has no contact with the child whatsoever, if he or she has parental responsibilities, you must get his or her consent in order to change the name of your child. However, there may be genuine reasons why you are unable to get their consent, such as being unable to locate them. If this is the case, your application for change of name might succeed if you are able to show evidence of this.