You do not 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. You can either:
- make an ‘unenrolled’ deed poll yourself
- apply for an ‘enrolled’ deed poll
Ask the organisation you’re dealing with (for example your bank) which type of deed poll they’ll accept as proof of your new name.
If you’re a permanent resident overseas, you cannot change your name by deed poll.
Make an ‘unenrolled’ deed poll
You can change your name yourself if you’re 16 or over.
Apply for an ‘enrolled’ deed poll
‘Enrolling’ a deed poll means that you’re putting your new name on public record. You can only do this if you’re 18 or over.
You must apply to the Royal Courts of Justice to get an ‘enrolled’ deed poll using the deed poll process. It costs £36.
The process is different if you want to change a child’s name.
Marriage and civil partnership
You do not 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 will not change your name back without a deed poll.