How to Change My Name: A Complete Guide

There are many reasons you might want to change your name – maybe you want to take on your partner’s surname without marriage, maybe you’re going through a gender affirmation process, or maybe you’ve just discovered that your only love was sprung from your only hate and want to avoid a wordy, 3 hour long, tragic misunderstanding. Whatever the reason for your choice, this post will guide you through the process.

So, you want to change your name. It’s quite a big step. Before you jump into it, there are a few things you ought to be aware of – so grab yourself a cup of tea, a couple of biscuits, and read on to learn how to legally change your name.

What rules are there for changing my name?

You need to be over the age of 16 – sorry kids! That aside, whilst there are no actual laws with regards to changing your name, this doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. It’s worth taking note of the guidelines that must be met to ensure you don’t run into any difficulties.
Your new name:    must not be fraudulent
                               must not contain racial hatred, or be in any way derogatory

You’re also advised not to choose certain names, such as names that:

  • are unpronounceable (looking at you, Elon!)
  • are offensive
  • are registered trademarks (such as Coca Cola)
  • contain numbers or special characters (#n0tsuitable)
  • are too long (sorry Rumpelstiltskin!)
  • contain misleading titles (Lord, Duke, Sir)
  • suggest you have honours (MBE, OBE)
  • only include a single name (just because Beyoncé can get away with it, doesn’t mean you can)

It’s important to note that the Passport Office will not accept certain names, including anything offensive. A passport is often the go-to form of ID for many companies and organisations, so it’s worth making sure your new name is in line with their regulations in order to avoid any difficulties down the line.

What will I need to change my name?

In short, not a lot! All you need is a deed poll and two witnesses. You can’t just pick anyone to act as your witness, though. Your witnesses must:

  • be over the age of 18
  • be UK residents
  • know you personally, but cannot be related to you, be your partner, or live in the same household as you
  • have mental capacity (be of sound mind, and able to make decisions for themselves)
  • be physically present in the room with you to watch you sign the deed poll.
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If you live in the Bailiwick of Jersey, you must have a solicitor sign and act as your witness.

How do I change my name?

So you’ve settled on your new, inoffensive name. You’ve got your deed poll. You’ve gathered your two witnesses, and now you’re ready and raring to go!

  • On the deed poll, write the date
  • Sign the document with both your old name and your new name in the spaces provided, whilst your witnesses watch
  • Ask your witnesses to sign their names in the spaces provided

And it’s that easy. Your name is now changed!

Woohoo! What do I need to do now?

You’ll now need to go about changing your official ID and accounts so you can show off your shiny new name. Bear in mind that every government department or company that you apply to change your details with will require an original, signed copy of your deed. Photocopies will not be accepted. For this reason we recommend that you request multiple copies of your deed in order to speed up your processes and protect you from losing your single copy.
Some companies you may need to notify include:

  • Your employer
  • College / University
  • Bank / Building Societies
  • HMRC
  • Pension Schemes
  • Utility companies
  • Car Insurance companies

Many government organisations now have online forms to fill in – you can simply complete these to request a change, but you’ll still need to provide an original, signed deed. If the company does not have online forms, you can send a notification letter requesting that they update your records for you, but again, you’ll need to provide them with an original, signed deed.

Driving Licence

If you’ve got a driving licence, you’ll need to complete an official form to make your name change. You can just pop into a Post Office branch to get the required documents. You’ll need to supply the DVLA with

  • a complete D1 form if you have a car licence, or a D2 if you have a lorry or bus licence
  • your current photo licence
  • an original signed copy of your deed poll

If you don’t have a photo licence, you’ll have to send your paper licence alongside a recent passport photo. If you had a photo licence and have lost it, you’ll need to note the loss on the form and include a cheque or Postal Order of £20 to cover the replacement fee. It is free to request a change of name on your licence.
You’ll need to send your documentation to:

          DVLA
          Swansea
          SA99 1BN

If you’re changing your licence and you also have a car in your name, you’ll need to update your V5C (log book). To do so, you’ll need to send 3 documents to the DVLA. Complete section 3 on your V5C, include a cover letter explaining your change of name, along with an original signed copy of your deed poll. Then, post these to

          DVLA
          Swansea
          SA99 1DD

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If you live in Northern Ireland, the process of changing your licence differs from the rest of the UK. You’ll need to contact NIDirect to make the change.

Passports

Passports are one of the key forms of ID, so you’ll probably want to update your passport with your new name as soon as possible. You can get a passport application form from your local Post Office, or by calling the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000. Whichever way you get in touch, you’ll need to post the following documentation to receive your new passport:

  • an original signed copy of your deed poll
  • evidence that you’re using your new name, such as a letter from the local council or a payslip

It’s worth bearing in mind that any tickets you have or bookings you make must match the name on your passport. You might want to hold off booking any trips until you’ve received your new passport – you don’t want to be disappointed at the airport!

Quick recap:

  • Get your (multiple) deed polls
  • Gather two valid witnesses
  • Sign, and get your witnesses to sign, your deed poll
  • Inform relevant authorities / organisations of your name change
  • Enjoy life with your new name!

Phew! Hopefully that’s helped you to understand the process of changing your name! It’s not as complicated as you’d think, is it?

FAQs

  • Yes! Once you and your witnesses have signed the deed, it is a legal document.

  • Unfortunately not. Your deed doesn’t act as ID – it’s simply proof that you’ve legally changed your name. You might, however, need your deed to support your official ID.

  • Ideally, yes. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to fully relinquish use of your old name. You can keep it in use. If you’re known by your old name professionally, it’s fine to keep the name in circulation.

  • We recommend ordering multiple deed polls because every government department or company that you apply to change your details with will require an original, signed copy of your deed. Waiting for the deed to return can be time consuming, and there’s always a risk of it being damaged or lost in transit. Having multiple deed polls will save you a lot of time and worry.

  • A letter informing a company of a change – in this case, your new name. You might need to send one to a company to notify them of your new name if they don’t have any online forms to do so. If you can, include as much information about the accounts you hold with them as possible to make it easier for them to identify you. Just let them know your old name, your new name, and don’t forget to include an original, signed deed poll!

  • Nope. Once you’ve provided your documentation and received your new ID, it will only contain your new name. Organisations will, however, keep a record of any previous names used on their databases, and may share it with other organisations if the circumstances deem it necessary.

  • Generally speaking, you can’t. Your birth certificate is simply a statement of fact given at the time of your birth registration, and so is unaffected by your name change.

  • No, enrolling your deed is not a legal requirement. All enrolling a deed means is that there is a permanent, public record of your name change. An unenrolled deed is just as effective as an enrolled one.


If you have any more questions about changing your name or about getting a deed poll, you can get in touch with us through our live chat system, text us on WhatsApp or you can ring us on 0330 088 1142. For your convenience, our dedicated team of professionals have created a deed poll service that’s guaranteed to be accepted by all official bodies. It’ll save you the hassle of creating your own, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your name change will be fully legalized!

If you’re ready to get your deed poll, you can do so by clicking below!

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Declan Ramsden
Declan is an Apprentice Content Creator at Vital Consular, which means he’s learning the ins and outs of blog writing! He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!
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