Deed poll

Frequently asked questions

What can I change by deed poll?

A deed poll will enable you to formally change your name on documents and records such as your driving licence, passport and bank account.  The Passport Office and DVLA recognize deed polls. 

You will need to contact everyone who holds details about you so that they update their records because part of the deed poll declaration is that you will be using your new name at all times.

What can't I change?

For most purposes a deed poll will be accepted to change documents, but there are some important exceptions. Birth and marriage certificates cannot be changed. However, your deed poll together with your birth certificate will be sufficient for the passport office to issue you with a passport in the new name. 

If the purpose of your deed poll is to alter a particular document it is important to check first with the issuer that a change will be allowed.

What about my name can I change?

You can:

  • change your entire name
  • add or remove surnames, forenames and middle names
  • rearrange your names
  • alter spellings of names

Although the possibilities are almost limitless there are some basic conditions that your new name will have to meet. On the whole these restrictions are to ensure that you will not have problems when changing documents such as your passport.

We will not accept names in the following circumstances:

  • If the name is offensive.
  • If the name is impossible to pronounce.
  • If the name contains numbers, symbols or punctuation marks.  Apostrophes are accepted in the context of a name (such as O’Neill) as are hyphens to link two names together (such as Smith-Johnson).
  • Recognized accents are accepted, but be aware that the use of accents in the UK is not widespread and confusion can arise if they are inconsistently used.
  • The name must contain at least one forename and at least one surname.
  • You may not add a title such as Lord or Duke unless you can provide documentary proof of your entitlement to usage.  Purchased titles are not accepted.
  • Academic titles such as Professor will only be included if documentary proof is provided.  Purchased qualifications will not be accepted.
  • Amusing names can be accepted, but you should consider carefully if this will have consequences in your personal or professional life.
The conditions listed above are guidelines and the acceptance or refusal of a name is at the discretion of the Registering Officer.

Do I really need to change my name by deed poll?

In theory you could change your name simply by starting to use a new one.  This is called a name change by usage.  The main problem with this method is that many organizations will only change your name if you produce substantial documentary evidence of the name change.

There are times when a deed poll is not needed to change a name:

  • after marriage or civil partnership. A woman who wants to change her surname to that of her husband uses her marriage certificate. A civil partner uses their civil partnership certificate to change their surname
  • after divorce. A woman can revert to her maiden surname by using her decree absolute
  • after being widowed. A woman reverting to her maiden name after being widowed can use her late husband’s death certificate together with her marriage certificate to change her name.

How much does a deed poll cost?

  • Download: our fees (PDF) for the up-to-date price.

You cannot obtain further copies afterwards, so make sure you order as many as you need at the time you sign your deed poll.

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