Changing your Name in the UK

Citizens of the UK have the right to change their name at any time, provided that it is not their intention to deceive another person, e.g. avoiding bankruptcy by becoming someone else.

You can change any part of your name, add or remove names or just rearrange them.

All you actually have to do is start using your new name; there is no actual legal process to it.

However, organisations such as the DVLA or the passport office will require evidence of your name change. A marriage certificate is usually sufficient if this is why you are a changing your name, otherwise you will need to have a deed poll drawn up by an experienced solicitor.

Deed Polls

A deed poll is a legal document formally stating what you have changed your name from and what you have changed it to.

You can legally change your name without one, but a deed poll is the most widely accepted form of evidence of a name change.

When you sign a deed poll you legally oblige to:

  • Expect all persons to address you by the new name
  • Abandon the use of your former name
  • Use only your new name

Like any legal contract, a deed poll for a change of name should be written by a solicitor. This will ensure that it is recognised by all the relevant parties, government bodies and other organisations, and that you don’t have any trouble applying for a passport, driving licence or any other documentation using your new name.

For some organisations a letter from a responsible person such as a GP or solicitor will be sufficient evidence of a name change, it is possible to make a public announcement in a newspaper, or to use a statutory declaration.