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.
There are 2 types of deed poll:
Make your own deed poll - if you’re 16 or over you can change your name yourself. However, you won’t be able to change it on your official documents, such as your driving licence or passport, until you enrol it.
Enrol your deed poll - if you’re 18 or over you can officially change your name at the Royal Courts of Justice. You can update your passport and any other form of identification with your new name.
Use a different process 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.