You don’t have to follow a legal process to start using a new name. But you might need a ‘deed poll’ to apply for or to change official documents like your passport or driving licence.
There are different rules for changing your name in Scotland.
Get a deed poll
A deed poll is a legal document that proves a change of name. You can change any part of your name, add or remove names and hyphens, or change spelling.
There are 2 ways to get a deed poll. Which way you apply depends on what documents you want your new name to appear on.
You can use either way to change the name on your driving licence or passport.
Make your own deed poll
You can change your name yourself if you’re 16 or over.
Enrol your deed poll
Some organisations will only accept an ‘enrolled’ deed poll as proof of your new name. Ask the organisation you’re dealing with (for example your bank) if they need an enrolled deed poll.
You apply to enrol your deed poll at the Royal Courts of Justice. The court can’t enrol a deed poll you’ve made yourself.
You can only do this if you’re 18 or over.
The process is different if you want to change a child’s name.
Marriage and civil partnership
You don’t need a deed poll to take your spouse’s or civil partner’s surname. Send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders, such as benefits offices. Your documents will be updated for free.
If you divorce or end your civil partnership
You may be able to go back to your original name by showing record-holders either your:
- marriage certificate and decree absolute
- civil partnership certificate and final order
Some organisations won’t change your name back without a deed poll.