How To Change Your Name | LGBT youth north west

In the United Kingdom, if you use a name other than your birthname so much that you are known by that name, it becomes your legal name. For example, Reginald Dwight is known as Elton John and that is legally his name. However, in order to have your name changed at the bank or on your passport, you need an official document to prove that you’ve changed it. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. a deed poll
  2. a statutory declaration.

Deed Poll Pros and Cons

  • Most commonly used – but generally most expensive
  • Usually drafted by a solicitor
  • Has to be witnessed by anyone with ‘sufficient standing’ – similar to who can verify a passport application

The deed poll consists of three sections called declarations: committing the person to abandoning their former name, using only the new name and requiring everyone else to use only the new name. It is then executed by being signed and dated by the person changing their name and signed by a witness. After that, it can be used to change the name on your driving licence, passport, bank card, etc.

NB Deed polls do not exist in Scottish law.

Here is a sample deed poll: deedpoll

Statutory Declaration Pros and Cons

  • A lot cheaper than a deed poll
  • Can be drafted by yourself using a template
  • Is witnessed by a solicitor
  • It’s illegal to refuse to accept a statutory declaration as proof that you’ve changed your name

The fee for drafting a statutory declaration is usually around £20-50, depending on the solicitors, and the fee for witnessing it is about £5. It’s a good idea to get certified copies made at the same time so that you can send these out rather than your original, although there’s usually an additional charge for each certified copy.

The best way to find a Solicitor is to look in the Yellow Pages or the Phonebook and ring a couple of listed solicitors to ask if they will witness you signing your Statutory Declaration and how much it will cost. It is worth ringing a couple as the prices may vary.

Here is a sample statutory declaration: Statutory Declaration

Name Change of a Minor

If you are under the age of 18, you are considered a minor and the situation is slightly different, as it is effectively your parent/legal guardian who is changing your name. The law says that a young person under 16 cannot choose their own names, and although a young person who is 16 or 17 can choose the name they wish to be known by, they can only register any change of name legally if they have parental consent.

A parent or guardian may need to have evidence that the young person’s name has been changed, for example, at school. In order for a school to use the new name on official documents, they may require evidence of the parent(s) consent or a copy of the court order.

Here is a sample a statutory declaration to change the name of a minor: Statutory Declaration Minor 1

Changing the Title

Many people also want to know how they go about changing their title, i.e., Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms, etc. This is an honourific, which means that it is only used out of custom, and there is no legality behind it. You can ask to be called Mr rather than Miss/Mrs/Ms and vice versa without needing any legal documents.

* The information contained on this page is intended as a general statement of the law and does not purport to render specific legal advice. Specific advice on a particular problem should always be sought from a qualified source.