Changing your name in the UK requires using a document called Deed Poll. It serves as evidence that you have adopted a new name legally. The deed poll is the only official document you will require to submit a name change application at all agencies and institutions. There is no specific Government office in the United Kingdom that does this job for you. Instead, you can draft your own deed poll as a declaration or hire the services of agencies such as the UK Deed Poll Office to create it for you.
There are several reasons you might look for a name change – start a new life, change the name after gender change, adopting a new religion or culture, assume a new identity, divorce, etc. Regardless of the reasons, a deed poll will help you change the name.
Free Deed Poll
A free deed poll is created by you with all details of your previous name and serves as a self-declaration. Since there is no cost associated in drafting it with minimal fees for ink and paper to print the copies, it’s the best way to change your name. Crafting deed poll needs information of your old and new name, your address and witnesses.
Even though a Free Deed Poll is a no-cost investment, it has one big drawback. Not all government offices and services will recognise it. This is because a typical free deed poll doesn’t look professional enough that a paid service can offer. This might take up your time and hamper your chances to change the name on passport, driver’s license and bank account.
Why is a deed poll better?
A paid deed poll via services such as the UK Deed Poll Office provides the document in an acceptable format, printed on a sturdy gold parchment paper carrying an official seal. It also saves the preparation time since you need to simply fill a form online with the relevant details. These agencies take 24 hours to process your application and then send it via First Class Post.
Another advantage of a paid deed poll is the guidance that comes along. Apart from the list of places that potentially have records of your name, they also guarantee that the deed poll won’t get rejected at government offices. You can place a bulk order of the copies that can be submitted to the HM Passport Office, DVLA, Banks, Credit Card providers, HM Revenue & Customs, HM Land Registry, Insurance companies and more.
Another benefit of a paid deed poll is that the agency can flag you of names that might not get accepted.
Any names that include the following are restricted:
- An offensive or vulgar word
- Name that promotes fraudulent use, illegal or criminal activities
- A racial slur or anything that mocks religious or other institutions
- Name with made-up punctuations, symbols and numbers
- A name that has a non-British title (Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms and Mx)
- A trademarked name of a celebrity or a brand that might be used for your advantage
Even though changing your name is easy with a free deed poll, it is recommended to seek help from official agencies to ensure your name change takes place smoothly and swiftly.