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    Information and advice about officially changing your legal name by Deed Poll
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About Deed Polls
What is a Deed Poll?
Why is it called a Deed Poll?
What is the purpose of a Deed Poll?
Who can apply for a Deed Poll?
How long does the process take?
Can I change my child's name?
Can a birth certificate be changed?
Are there any restrictions on names?
Is a Deed Poll registered anywhere?
Why do people change their name?
Answers to other FAQs

Applying for a Deed Poll
How to apply
Services available and fees
Video guides

Services for previous clients
Apply for a copy of your archived Deed Poll
Apply for a replacement Deed Poll

General name change information
Introduction
A woman's rights upon marriage
A man's rights upon marriage
A couple's rights upon a civil partnership
A woman's rights upon separation
A woman's rights upon divorce
A woman's rights upon being widowed
A child's rights upon adoption
Adding a middle name
Advice for transsexuals
An alternative to marriage
A unique gift
Changing your name on your passport
Obtaining a copy of your lost Deed Poll
Who to advise after changing your name

UK Deed Poll Service
Contact us
What our clients say about us
In the media
Privacy policy
Terms and conditions and your rights
Home page

About Deed Polls
Answers to other frequently asked questions (FAQs)

This page contains the answers to 32 frequently asked questions.  We suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the questions to see if any are helpful or relevant to you.  Certainly, some will be.

Q1:  Do I need to send my Deed Poll back to you after I have signed it?
A:  No, once you have executed (signed, dated and witnessed) your Deed Poll, you can start using it immediately to get your documents and records changed.  You only need to send your Deed Poll back to us if you have ordered our Legal Copy and Archive Service™.  For further information about this service, please click on this link (open pop-up window).

Q2:  Do I need to get a solicitor to witness me sign my Deed Poll?
A:  If you are British and live in the United Kingdom, your witness can be anyone so long as they are at least 18 years of age; know you and are independent of you i.e. not a relative or partner or someone living at the same address.  A suitable witness would be, for example, a friend, neighbour or work colleague.

If you are British and living overseas, you will need to have the signing of your Deed Poll witnessed by a lawyer or a notary public.

If you are not British and live in the United Kingdom, you should check with your Embassy (the passport section in consular services) to ask if your Deed Poll needs to be witnessed by either a UK solicitor or a notary public. Please note, if your Deed Poll needs to be legalised with an Apostille, it will need to be witnessed by a UK solicitor or a notary public.  See the answer to Q31 below for further information about legalising your Deed Poll.

Q3:  Are your Deed Polls accepted by HM Passport Office?
A:
  Yes, our Deed Polls are accepted.  In fact, if you call the passport office they will probably give you our details.  If you wish to confirm this, you can telephone the passport office's 24 hour Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

Q4:  Are there any other fees payable after I have paid for my Deed Poll?
A:
  The only other expense we are aware of is the cost of getting your British passport reissued in your new name.  Current passport fees are available on the passport office's website or by calling their 24 hour Adviceline on 0300 222 0000.

You can obtain a passport application pack from most main post offices or order one on the HM Passport Office's website (opens new window).  You can also apply online on their website for your passport, which we recommend you do immediately after you have applied for your Deed Poll.  It takes a few days for the passport office to post your completed passport application form to you, which you need to sign and return to them with your Deed Poll document (or a legal copy of it).

Q5:  Will my new passport and driving licence mention my old name?
A:
  No, you will receive a brand new passport and driving licence without any mention or reference to your previous name.

Q6:  I bought a cheap Deed Poll from the Internet and am having problems getting it accepted.  If I order a Deed Poll from you, will I have any problems with it?
A:
  No, you will not experience any problems with a Deed Poll issued by us.  We are by far the main issuer of Deed Poll documentation in the United Kingdom and our Deed Polls are accepted by everyone.  Our Deed Polls are printed on security paper and carry our official seal so there is no question about its authenticity.  Unfortunately, we issue many Deed Polls to people who have wasted their money buying from cheap Internet sites.

Q7:  Can I use photocopies of my Deed Poll so I don't need to keep sending out the original?
A:
  All major record holders such as the passport office, DVLA and the financial institutions will need to see either your original Deed Poll or what we call a "legal copy" of it.  A legal copy is where we, or a professionally qualified person, certifies that a copy of your Deed Poll is a true copy of the original.  Unless you know someone personally who can certify a copy, you will probably be charged for this service. When you apply for your Deed Poll, you can also order our Legal Copy and Archive Service.  The legal copies you will receive from us can be used in lieu of your original Deed Poll document.  Furthermore, should you ever lose or mislay your original Deed Poll, you can obtain further legal copies from our archives, which will hold a copy of your original, signed Deed Poll.  For further information about our Legal Copy and Archive Service™, please click on this link (open pop-up window).

Q8:  How many legal copies should I order?
A:
  It is difficult for us to say how many legal copies you should order because we do not know how many major record holders you need to notify of your name change and how quickly you want to get your documents and records changed to your new name.  Most clients order just two legal copies (the minimum number) and are happy to wait until they are returned before they use them again to notify other companies and organisations.  However, many clients order as many as 25 legal copies because they have a large number of companies and organisations to notify and they want to notify everyone at the same time.  The average number of legal copies ordered is five.

Q9:  I've lost my Deed Poll, where can I get a copy from?
A:
  If you ordered your Deed Poll direct from us and you subscribed to our Legal Copy and Archive Service (available since May 2000), we can provide you with a legal (certified) copy of your original Deed Poll from our archives.  To order, please call our Helpline (see top of this page for our number and hours).  If you did not order our Legal Copy and Archive Service™, we do not have a copy of your Deed Poll.  All you can do is order a replacement Deed Poll (see three paragraphs below).

If you had your Deed Poll prepared elsewhere (at a solicitors for example), a copy of your Deed Poll will only be available if you had your Deed Poll
entered in the Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature, which is located within the Royal Courts of Justice (Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Tel: 020 7947 6221).  Enrolled Deed Polls are held for about five years at the Royal Courts of Justice and then moved to the National Archives (Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Tel: 020 8876 3444).

Please note, if you paid less than about 100 for your Deed Poll, you would not have paid to have your Deed Poll enrolled. In which case, no copy of your Deed Poll will exist and all you can do to overcome your problem is to order another Deed Poll to act as a replacement.  Even if your Deed Poll was enrolled, the expense of obtaining a copy - you have to physically attend and search for your Deed Poll - usually means it is much cheaper to order a replacement.  We issue many Deed Polls every day to people who have lost their original - this is the accepted practice.


To order a replacement Deed Poll, please
click on this link. When you enter your name details on the application form, you should enter your 'former name' in the current name fields and your 'current name' in the new name fields. The idea is to replicate the name change shown on your lost Deed Poll document.  Please note, if you have changed your name since changing your name by Deed Poll (the one you have lost), please e-mail us with any relevant information and the chronological sequence of all your name changes since birth.  We need to know the (approximate) date of your name changes and how your name was changed e.g. by usage, marriage, Statutory Declaration, Deed Poll etc.  We will then advise you how to apply.

Q10:  I am trying to find a record of a relative's name change. Can you tell me if they have changed their name by Deed Poll?
A:
  Searching for someone's Deed Poll is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. This is because there is no central register of all name changes by Deed Poll.  Furthermore, in addition to ourselves, a Deed Poll can be prepared by any of the many thousands of solicitors throughout England and Wales. Even if you discovered who prepared your relative's Deed Poll, client confidentiality prevents the disclosing of any information about the Deed Poll.

The only chance you have of locating a Deed Poll is if it was an 'enrolled' Deed Poll.  This is a type of Deed Poll that can be enrolled (registered) with the government through the Court Service.  Upon enrolment, a Deed Poll becomes a public record and becomes available for public inspection - in the same way the public can inspect past birth, marriage and death records.  However, very few Deed Polls are enrolled (only about 1 in every 200) because it is a voluntary process and enrolling significantly adds to the time taken and the cost of changing your name - hence 99.5 per cent of people change their name by using an 'unenrolled' Deed Poll (the type we and most solicitors issue).

Deed Polls that have been enrolled during the past five years are held at the Royal Courts of Justice (Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Tel: 020 7947 6221). Before then, and going back to 1851, they can be found at the National Archives (Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Tel: 020 8876 3444).  However, you need to personally visit the National Archives to search the records (except for Deed Polls enrolled between 1965 and 1983, which are electronically stored and can be searched by telephoning the National Archives.


For further information and advice about searching for evidence of a change of name, please visit the National Archives website (opens new window).

Q11:  Will my credit rating be affected if I change my name by Deed Poll?
A:
  Your credit rating will not be affected because when you complete any application form for credit or a loan etc, you will be asked on the application form if you have ever been known by a former name.  By disclosing your former name, your credit history can be accessed.  Furthermore, when you notify your bank of your change of name, your bank will notify the credit reference agencies.

Q12:  I am an undischarged bankrupt.  Can I change my name by Deed Poll?
A:
  Yes you can, but if you are self employed and want to trade in your new name, you must tell all those with whom you do business the name in which you were made bankrupt.  In other words, you are not allowed to carry on the same trade in a different name without telling your customers about your former name.  This condition does not apply once you are discharged from bankruptcy.  You must also notify the Official Receiver dealing with your bankruptcy of your name change.

Q13:  I have a criminal record.  Can I change my name by Deed Poll?
A:
  Your right to change your name by Deed Poll is not taken away from you because you have a criminal record.  However, you must be aware of the following:

  • If you have any existing or pending criminal actions against you, you must notify the police station dealing with your case of your name change.
  • If you are on probation, you must notify your probation officer of your name change.
  • If you are on the Sex Offenders' Register, you must notify the police within 3 days of your name change.
Q14:  I have recently been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) for my employment.  Do I need to notify them of my name change by Deed Poll?
A: You do not need to notify the Disclosure and Barring Service of your name change.  However, if you are required to apply again for a check, you will apply in your new name and enclose your Deed Poll (or legal copy of it) as evidence of your name change.

Please note, the above advice also apples to Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI, which are equivalent government agencies in Scotland and Northern Ireland to the DBS in England and Wales.

Q15:  My name was changed when I was a child and I now want to revert to my birth name. Do I need to do this by Deed Poll?
A:
  Yes you do.  Whether you want to change your name to a former name or a new name entirely, you will be required to provide "documentary evidence" of the change.  A Deed Poll provides you with the necessary documentary evidence of your name change.  After you have reverted to your birth name by Deed Poll, if you are ever asked to prove your identity you can produce your birth certificate alone.  However, if you are asked if you have been known by any other name, you must declare your previous names and produce your Deed Poll document if required.

Q16:  I want to change my name now but I have a holiday booked in my current name. Can I keep my passport in my old name and change it when I get back?
A:
  For security reasons, we strongly advise that you do not travel overseas with documents in different names e.g. your passport in one name and your travel documents, credit cards and driving licence etc in a different name.  If you cannot get your travel documents changed to your new name, we suggest you change your name after your holiday.  If you do go ahead and change your name before you travel, only get those documents and records changed that you will not be taking with you.

Q17:  I was born and live in Scotland and have been told that I cannot change my name by Deed Poll because the name change procedure is different in Scotland. Is this correct?
A:
  You have been wrongly advised. Although a Deed Poll is an English legal document, it is recognised by all UK government departments, companies and organisations.  Therefore, you will not experience any problems getting all your documents and records changed to your new name (including your passport, driving licence, medical records etc).  We issue hundreds of Deed Polls to Scottish residents every year and we have never had any problems reported by clients when getting their documents and records changed.

Q18:  I was married to the father of my daughter when she was born but I do not know his whereabouts. Can I change my daughter's name without the father's consent?
A:
  It may be possible to change your daughter's name by Deed Poll if you have made reasonable attempts to locate and contact the father.  Please read section 6 of our page Can I change my child's name (opens new window) for information about how to proceed with an application.

Q19:  I am separated and in the process of divorcing my husband and I now wish to change my name by Deed Poll to my maiden name. Can I also change my title to Miss or Ms?
A:
  Yes, you can change your title to Miss or Ms when you change your name. When you complete our application form, you will see a section where you can tell us what new title you want so we can incorporate a declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title.  Please note, if you change your title, you must ensure that on any application forms, for example for credit, loans, insurance etc, you make it clear your marital status is married (until your divorce is finalised).

Q20:  I am changing my surname to my boyfriend's surname. Can I use the title Mrs?
A:
  Yes, you can change your title to Mrs when you change your name.  When you complete our application form, you will see a section where you can tell us what new title you want so we can incorporate a declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title.   Please note, if you change your title to Mrs, you must ensure that on any application form for credit, loan, insurance etc, you make it clear your marital status is single.

Q21:  I am a male-to-female transsexual and wish to change my name by Deed Poll.  Will I be able to use the title Miss or Ms?
A:
  Yes, you can change your title to Miss, Ms or Mrs when you change your name.  When you complete our application form, you will see a section where you can tell us what new title you want so we can incorporate a declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title.  Please note, if you change your title to Miss, Ms or Mrs, you must ensure that on any application form for credit, a loan or insurance etc you make it clear your sex at birth was male.  This is particularly important for insurances because you may get a cheaper rate if the insurer believes you were born a female. In the event of a claim, you will find you will not get paid out if your sex at birth is established.  Furthermore, it is a criminal offence to obtain a financial advantage if you deceive someone.

Please note, if you obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate, you are able to declare your sex at birth as female.

Q22:  Can I have Lord or Sir as my first name?
A:
  We will not accept an order for a Deed Poll that includes a first name that may result in others believing you have a conferred or inherited honour, title or rank.  This is because of the obvious deception such a first name will cause to the general public.  Therefore, applications for a new first name such as Sir, Lord, Lady, Baron, Baroness, Count, Earl, Countess, Duke, Duchess, Colonel etc will not be accepted.

Q23:  Do I need to inform everyone who knows me that my name has changed?
A:
  Yes you do.  Two of the declarations you make on your Deed Poll are that you will entirely abandon the use of your old name and you will only use your new name in future.  A list of government departments, companies and organisations that you may need to notify will be included in your Deed Poll pack.

Q24:  Can I get my educational certificates changed after I have changed my name?
A:
  You will not be able to get documents such as your educational certificates changed because these were correctly issued in the right name. However, this is not a problem because if you have to produce your educational certificates, say at a job interview, you simply produce your Deed Poll as well.  It is the same for married women who take their husband's surname - they have to produce their marriage certificate as documentary evidence of the link to their educational certificates. In your situation, your Deed Poll document will act as documentary evidence of the link to your former name on your certificates.

Q25:  I want to change my name but I want to continue using my existing name at work because I have built up a good reputation over the years with my clients.  Can I do this?
A:
  Yes, with the permission of your employer you can continue to use your existing name.  Companies are usually happy to allow you to continue using your existing name if there are commercial benefits from doing so.

Please note, by continuing to use your current name, you are not in breach of your declaration on your Deed Poll that you will abandon the use of your former name.  This is because at work, you are acting on behalf of your employer so any contracts or agreements you sign are not in your name but in the name of your employer.

Q26:  I want to change my name but I am a sole trader and my current name is my business name.  Do I need to change my business name after changing my name by Deed Poll?
A:
  You do not need to change your trading name after you have changed your name by Deed Poll.  For example, if your trading name is Mary Smith and you change your name by Deed Poll to Mary Jones, legally your business will be Mary Jones trading as Mary Smith.  On your headed paper, you will continue to use Mary Smith but you also need to mention (usually at the bottom of the page) the proprietor is Mary Jones.  When you notify your bank of your name change, your business account name will be amended to incorporate your new name.

Please note, by continuing to use your current name as your trading name, you are not in breach of your declaration on your Deed Poll that you will abandon the use of your former name.  This is because for business purposes, you are not acting in your own name but on behalf of your trading name.

Q27:  I am a British citizen living abroad, can I apply for a Deed Poll?
A:  Yes, you can change your name by Deed Poll and then use it to obtain a new British passport in your new name from the UK Passport Processing Centre that covers the country in which you live.  You will then be able to use your new British passport to get your local documents and records changed to your new name.  Please note, before you submit your passport application, we suggest you check the website of the UK Passport Processing Centre that covers the country in which you live (a link can be found on the website of your local British Embassy) to check for any special requirements that must be met before you will be issued with a new passport.  For example, you may be required to produce two or three documents in your new name to demonstrate you are using your new name for all purposes.

Q28:  I live in the UK but I am not a British citizen.  Can I use a Deed Poll to change my name?
A:  Maybe.  Your Deed Poll will get your documents and records changed that have been issued or are held by UK government departments, companies and organisations so long as you can get your passport changed to your new name.  This is because you may need to demonstrate to UK record holders that you are changing your name for "all purposes".  If you do not get your passport changed, clearly you are not changing your name for all purposes.

Many countries allow their nationals who live in the UK to change their passport using their Deed Poll but we suggest you check with the consular services section of your country's embassy or high commission in London before you apply for your Deed Poll to check if there are any special requirements.  For example, the Pakistani High Commission requires its nationals to have their Deed Poll witnessed by a solicitor (cost between 5 and 10).  For further information about who can apply for a Deed Poll, please click on this link (opens new window).


Q29:  I live in the UK but have dual nationality.  Will a Deed Poll get both passports I hold reissued in my new name?
A:  Maybe.  A Deed Poll issued by us is guaranteed to get your British passport reissued in your new name.  However, you need to investigate the procedure for getting your other passport changed by calling the consular services section of the issuing country's embassy or high commission in London.

Many countries, particularly British Commonwealth countries, will accept your Deed Poll as documentary evidence of your name change and will issue you with a passport in your new name.  Some countries, Italy for example, will ask you to apply to a court local to where you lived for permission to change your name.  The court order issued can be used to obtain a passport in your new name from your embassy.


Q30:  I live in the UK but I am a US citizen.  Will a Deed Poll get my US passport changed to my new name?
A:  The US Embassy in London will accept your original deed poll document so long as a UK solicitor has acted as your witness.  Full instructions will be enclosed with your Deed Poll documentation.

Q31:  I am getting married abroad and have been told that my Deed Poll and birth certificate must be legalised.  What is legalising and what do I need to do?
A:  Legalisation is a process whereby the UK government confirms the authenticity of legal documents and certificates issued in the UK.  Legalisation enables foreign countries (or their embassies in London) to accept documents such as UK birth certificates and our Deed Poll documents because their authenticity has been confirmed by the UK government.  Legalisation overcomes the problem of foreign countries not knowing whether a Deed Poll issued by us is genuine.  The legalisation of documents is handled by the Legalisation Office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.  When a document is legalised, an Apostille (certificate) is permanently attached to the document.

When you receive your Deed Poll, you should not sign it immediately but take it to a UK registered and practicing solicitor or a UK registered and practicing notary public who must witness you sign and date your Deed Poll document.  You should expect to pay up to 10 for this but do ask first (a notary public will charge much more).  If you have already signed your Deed Poll and had it witnessed by someone other than a solicitor or notary public, you need to take your Deed Poll to a UK registered solicitor or notary public for authenticating.  The solicitor or notary public must write (anywhere) on your Deed Poll document "I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of this document."  It is important that the solicitor or notary public signs and prints his or her full name under this statement because the FCO will check the solicitor or notary public is registered in the UK.  You can then arrange to have your Deed Poll legalised at the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes.

If you wish us to handle the legalisation of your Deed Poll, please request this in the comments box on your application form.  Our fee is shown on our Services available and fees page.


Q32:  What is the difference between a Statutory Declaration and a Deed Poll?
A:  A Statutory Declaration is a similar document to a Deed Poll but because a Statutory Declaration is a much less known and less used method of changing a person's name, there are sometimes problems with its acceptability.  We often issue Deed Polls to people who have been unable to get their Statutory Declaration accepted by everyone. Furthermore, a Statutory Declaration must be sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths or a Justice of the Peace.  Therefore, not only can a Statutory Declaration work out more expensive than a Deed Poll prepared by us but you must make an appointment with a local firm of solicitors to swear the document.  Our Deed Poll service is more conveniently conducted either entirely online, by post or over the telephone.

Not found the answer you're looking for?
If you have any unanswered questions about changing your name by Deed Poll, please e-mail us.  Alternatively, you can call our Helpline (see top of page for our Helpline's phone numbers and hours).

Last updated: 16 February 2014


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