How to Change your name Legally in the UK

Changing your name is a fairly easy process in the UK. If you are over the age of 16 you can call yourself whatever you want, as long as it’s not done for fraudulent reasons. You can change your name by simply telling everyone your name has changed, or by having a priest, teacher, friend, etc write a letter stating you have changed your name; however, this way is not the best idea if you wish to change your name for a Passport or any other legal documents.

The easiest legal way to change your name is by using a Deed Poll, to which you can apply online, phone, mail or in person. After you have applied for a Deed Poll you will be asked to select a mailing service, however if you apply in a local office, you can choose the Premium one hour while-you-wait service. Receiving your Deed Poll back depends solely on what carrier you chose. If you are outside of the UK, there are 3 specific ways/carriers to use. When you receive your Deed Poll documentation, you will need to execute it (sign and date your Deed Poll document in front of a witness of your choosing). After signing in front of a witness, you are ready to use your Deed Poll document to get all your official documents and records changed to your new name, including your passport, driving license, bank accounts, etc.

However there are some restrictions, Deed Poll will not accept an application for a name that:

*does not include at least one forename and one surname;

*is impossible to pronounce;

*includes numbers or symbols;

*includes punctuation marks – although you can have a hyphen to link forenames or surnames;

*is vulgar, offensive or blasphemous;

*promotes criminal activities;

*promotes racial or religious hatred;

*promotes the use of controlled drugs or includes the generic or slang name for them;

*ridicules people, groups, government departments, companies or organizations;

*may result in others believing you have a conferred or inherited honor, title, rank or academic award;

*exceeds the maximum number of characters allowed in a name.

Changing your name will not change your name on legal documents such as birth certificates; however, if you are asked to prove your identity (such as for a passport or bank account), you simply produce your birth certificate and your Deed Poll document. The new name shown on your Deed Poll overrides the name on your birth certificate.