1. Overview

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, add or remove names and hyphens, or change spelling.

It doesn’t cost anything to make your own deed poll. Specialist agencies and solicitors may charge a fee to do it for you.

You must be 16 or over to make a deed poll.

There are extra rules about changing a child’s name.

Marriage and civil partnership

You don’t need a deed poll to take your partner’s surname. Send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders, eg 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.