Changing your name

Changing your name


Provided you don't intend to deceive or defraud anyone, you can use any name you choose. You can change your name informally and later swear a statement confirming the new name, or you can change your name formally by a deed poll. You can also choose to register the change of name, but there is usually no obligation (unless, for example, you need to tell the immigration authorities).

In theory, there is no requirement for a person to follow a formal process to change their name. However, all UK government departments (including HM passport office), the DVLA and other official bodies won't recognise a name change unless a formal process is followed, so it's far better to change your name formally. You can do this in several ways, the most common of which are:

  • Statutory declaration
  • Deed poll

Changing your name by statutory declaration

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 but, except in Scotland, is not seen to be as formal as a deed poll (see below). In certain instances it's considered to be less definitive.

The disadvantage of this is that some UK government departments and certain other organisations will not accept a statutory declaration as evidence of a name change and may require a deed poll.

So, in the UK, apart from Scotland, where declarations have taken the place of the deed poll, it will generally be cheaper and less complicated in the long run if you use a deed poll.

Changing your name by deed poll

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

You can change your forename or surname by signing a deed poll in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, deed polls are rarely used and a statutory declaration should be created instead.

The deed poll provides official evidence of the change. In England and Wales, deed polls may be registered with the Central office of the Supreme Court in order to make the change public.

In Northern Ireland in order for the deed poll to be valid, it must be registered in the High Court.

The person changing their name must sign the deed poll in their old name and their new name. It is not possible for the deed poll to be signed by anyone on behalf of the person changing their name.

Enrolling a deed poll

Enrolment means there will be a public record of the change of name. The process involves preparing other documents as well as the deed poll, sending those documents to the Royal Courts of Justice and the advertising of the change of name in the London Gazette. There is a fee for the enrolment, plus associated costs.

You don't have to enrol a deed poll - the change of name is still valid without enrolment. Most institutions will accept a deed poll that has not been enrolled as evidence of your change of name.

There are specific regulations that an adult must follow to enrol the deed poll. If an application to register is made on behalf of a child (Changing the name of a minor), special regulations apply. Failure to comply with the regulations does not invalidate the deed poll, but will mean it can't be enrolled.

Only a citizen of a Commonwealth country can apply to enrol a deed poll. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth.

Changing a professional name

A professional is entitled to practise their profession under the name that appears on the professional register. Many professions forbid the practice of the profession other than by the name appearing on the register. This is to ensure that a member can easily be traced and identified.

If a professional wishes to change their professional name, they must apply to the keeper of the professional register. There will usually be forms available from the keeper of the professional register to simplify the process.

Related services

  • Unfortunately there aren't currently any documents available for the region you selected.
  • Change of name deed
    Compatible region(s): England Wales

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