How to change your name

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 must apply to the Royal Courts of Justice to get an ‘enrolled’ deed poll using the deed poll process. It costs £48.32.

You can only enrol your own name change if you’re 18 or over. The process is different to change the name of a child under 18.

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.

If you’re a registered offender

You must tell the police you’ve changed your name within 3 days if you’re a registered:

  • sex offender
  • violent offender
  • terrorist offender

You must go to your local prescribed police station to do this. You’ll be told where this is on release.

It’s a criminal offence if you do not tell the police you’ve changed your name.