Changing Your Name in the UK: A Complete Checklist - Rayden Solicitors (2024)

Our names are an important part of our identity. Changing your name following marriage for example is a personal decision and one only you can make.

Your name does not automatically change following your marriage and, should you wish to change your name, you need to take steps to change this with organisations and government authorities. The same applies if you are going through a divorce. Your name will not automatically change to your maiden name once the divorce has been finalised.

There is no obligation to change your name following your marriage and you may prefer to keep your own name or use a combination of both your surname and your spouse’s surname.

You may also wish to change your name for different reasons other than marriage such as recognising the surname of your adoptive parents.

What do you need to consider before changing your name?

Before changing your name, alongside the emotional considerations, there are practical issues to consider.

Following your marriage you can change your name on social media accounts straight away without having to provide any documentation. However, your name does not automatically change on official government records once you are married. You will need to make separate applications to the government departments (such as HMRC and the passport office). For example, if you are changing your name on your passport, you will need to apply for a new passport and pay the appropriate fee.

If you are considering changing your surname after your marriage and taking your spouse’s surname, be careful about your honeymoon plans if you are travelling abroad – if you are travelling very soon after your marriage you won’t have time to change your passport or other important documentation so when you are purchasing your holiday travel and organising all your various bookings e.g. plane tickets, cruise tickets, visas etc. make sure you book these using your current name.Conversely, if you are planning on travelling some time after your wedding and make all travel arrangements in your married name, don’t forget that your passport will be invalid against those bookings if it is still in your maiden name.

In addition, if you own property, you will need to inform the Land Registry that you have changed your name so the deeds to the property can be updated accordingly. If the deeds are not updated and should you wish to re-mortgage the property, you may face delays in completing the re-mortgage of the property as the banks will need to undertake identity checks.

Once you have decided to change your name you should inform the following organisations:

  • The passport office
  • The DVLA (driving licence, vehicle registration)
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Local Authority (Council tax and electoral register)
  • Land Registry
  • Student Loans
  • Your employer
  • Your bank or building society
  • Your mortgage provider
  • Your pension providers
  • Credit card companies
  • Your phone & broadband provider
  • Your doctor
  • Your dentist
  • Your vet
  • Your gym
  • Your motoring organisations (breakdown cover)
  • Utility companies (gas, water, electricity providers)
  • Your insurance company (motor, home, travel, pet)
  • Loan companies
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Store cards & online accounts
  • Any clubs or societies of which you are a member

Follow our handy checklist of who to inform once your change of name deed is finalised.

What are the options for changing your name in the UK?

There are several ways you can change your name. You can change your name either by deed poll or following your marriage.

Changing your name by deed poll

You can either make an “unenrolled” deed poll or an “enrolled” deed poll.

An “unenrolled” deed poll involves having a form prepared that relinquishes your old name and confirms your new name. The form must be signed by two witnesses over the age of 18. If you choose to use the “unenrolled” process, where applicable you must inform the police that you have changed your name. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. This would apply in circ*mstances where you are a registered offender.

Once you have signed the necessary form and had this witnessed, you can use the signed deed poll straightaway as proof of your name change.

When you apply, for example, for a new passport, the passport office may request proof of the deed poll so please ensure you keep the original signed deed poll. There may also be some organisations, such as banks, who may not accept an “unenrolled” deed poll. Before changing your name you may wish to check whether all organisations will accept an “unenrolled” deed poll or whether they require an “enrolled” deed poll.

An “enrolled” deed poll is where you apply to the Royal Court of Justice to formally change your name and have it entered on public record. There is a cost for this service and the current cost is £48.32. This process is only available to people who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18 there is a different process for changing your name. Our guide to changing your child’s surname explains this process.

Changing your name due to marriage in the UK

Following a marriage, you do not require a deed poll to take your spouse’s surname. You will be required to provide a certified copy of your marriage certificate to organisations such as the banks or passport office to confirm you wish to change your name. There may be a fee payable (for example if you are updating your passport or should you wish to update your driving licence) and so you should make enquiries with the relevant authority as to any charges which you may incur before taking steps to change your name.

Which documents are needed for a name change in the UK?

Documents required for a name change using the enrolled deed poll process

If you are changing your name using the “enrolled” deed poll process, you will need to provide evidence that you are a British Citizen. This may be done by providing a copy of your birth certificate, an in-date and valid passport or a certificate of naturalisation.

If you are adopted and are changing your name, you must also send a copy of your adoption papers with your application.

You must also complete a Deed Poll, and have your signature witnessed by 2 witnesses. You will also need to complete a notice for the London Gazette to advertise and have a statutory declaration completed by a person who has known you for 10 or more years. These forms can be accessed on the government website.

Documents required for a name change following marriage

If you are changing your name following marriage, there can be a delay with agencies updating their records and you will be required to send either your original marriage certificate or a certified copy of the marriage certificate. It can take some agencies 6-10 weeks to process name changes and having a number of certified copies can save a lot of time and stress when changing your name following your marriage.

You will need to check whether the agency you are applying to will accept a certified copy. You can order a certified copy of your marriage certificate through the government website and there will usually be a fee of £11 for obtaining this.

There are a number of factors to take into account when you are considering changing your name and there is no right or wrong answer. It is important to take time to consider all factors to ensure the process is completed correctly.

At Rayden Solicitors, we have years of experience dealing with change of name deeds. We can help you prepare the documents correctly and can also provide a number of certified copies for your use. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today for more information.

Changing Your Name in the UK: A Complete Checklist - Rayden Solicitors (2024)
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