DEED POLL UK: You can start using a new name even without following the legal process.
But, some situations require a ‘deed poll’ in the United Kingdom.
You may need one when applying for, or changing, official documents. Typical examples would include a driving licence or a passport.
Getting a Deed Poll
What is a deed poll? In simple terms, it is a legal document that proves someone made a change of name. The changes you can make apply to any part of a name. Thus, you can add names, remove names, add hyphens, or you can change the spelling.
There are two different ways to get a deed poll. As a rule, the application you use will depend on what documents your new name is going to appear on.
Note: You can use either of the two methods to change your name on a passport or a driving licence. The rules for changing your name by deed poll differ in Scotland.
How to Enrol a Deed Poll
Some organisations will ask for an ‘enrolled deed poll’ (e.g. most banking institutions). Always check to see if they need it as proof of your new name.
If so, it means you must apply to enrol the deed poll at the Royal Courts of Justice. But, the court is unable to enrol a deed poll if you made it yourself and you must 18 or older.
Note: There is a different process to change the name of a child under 18 in the United Kingdom.
Marriage or Civil Partnership
You can take the surname of your spouse or civil partner without a deed poll. A copy of your marriage or your civil partnership certificate meets the requirements. Send the copy it to any of the record-holders to get them updated without charge (e.g. the benefits offices).
After Divorce or the End of a Civil Partnership
As a rule, you can go back to your original name if the partnership ends. You would need to show the record-holders either:
- Your marriage certificate and the decree absolute.
- Your civil partnership certificate and the final order.
Note: Not all organisations allow you to change your name back again unless you get a deed poll. Whereas, other organisations may not accept a self-made deed poll as proof of a new name. In cases such as these, you would need to apply to ‘enrol’ the deed poll.
How to Make Your Own Deed Poll
You must be at least 16 years old to make a deed poll yourself. That means you can use this method to change names on a driving licence or a passport.
Use this deed poll wording:
I [old name] of [your address] have given up my name [old name] and have adopted for all purposes the name [new name].
Signed as a deed on [date] as [old name] and [new name] in the presence of [witness 1 name] of [witness 1 address], and [witness 2 name] of [witness 2 address].
[your new signature], [your old signature]
[witness 1 signature], [witness 2 signature]
You can also use a specialist agency or a solicitor to make a deed poll for you. But, they usually charge a fee for doing so. Either way, having made a deed poll, you can use it as proof of your new name.
How to Enrol a Deed Poll with the Courts
Anyone over 18 can put their new name on public record by ‘enrolling’ it at the Royal Courts of Justice. The fee to enrol a deed poll with the courts is £42.44. Follow the process for changing a child’s name if you are under 18 years old.
Deed Poll Guidance Pack
Download the forms titled ‘Deed Poll guidance pack for adults with files – LOC019, LOC020, LOC021 and LOC025’. The pack includes a notification form for The Gazette. Send all the relevant forms and documents to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Queen’s Bench Division
The Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL
Changing a Child’s Name
You can also change the name of a child who is under 18. They would get called a ‘minor’ when ‘enrolling’ their new name at the Royal Courts of Justice. Children aged 16 or 17 can choose to make their own deed poll instead.
Enrolling a New Name for a Child
To enrol a child’s name you are going to need either:
- The full agreement of everyone who has parental responsibility for the child.
- A court order (if you are unable to reach an agreement).
Cases with Agreement on Parental Responsibility
Download the guidance and forms titled ‘Deed Poll pack for minors with files – LOC019, LOC22, LOC023, LOC024 and LOC026’. The application fee is £42.44 and the pack includes a notification form for The Gazette. Send all the relevant forms and documents to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Cases Requiring a Court Order
Form CB1 titled ‘Making an application – Children and the Family Courts’ has further guidance. It explains how to fill in form C100 for a ‘specific issue order‘. You should send the form to your nearest court that can deal with child cases.
Note: Applying for a court order will cost £215. But, you may get help with court fees if your income is low or you are claiming certain benefits.