This page contains the answers to 32 frequently asked questions. We suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the questions to see if any are helpful or relevant to you. Certainly, some will be.
Q1: Do I need to send my Deed Poll back to you after I have signed it?
A: You only need to send your Deed Poll back to us if you also order our Legal Copy and Archive Service. For further information about this recommended service, please click on this link (opens pop-up window). If you do not also order our Legal Copy and Archive Service, after you have signed your Deed Poll, you can start using it to get your documents and records changed to your new name.
Q2: Do I need to get a solicitor to witness me sign my Deed Poll?
A: You do not need a solicitor to witness you sign your Deed Poll. Your witness can be anyone so long as they are at least 18 years of age; know you and are independent of you i.e. not a relative or partner or someone living at the same address. A suitable witness would be, for example, a friend, neighbour or work colleague.
If you are not British and live in the United Kingdom, you should check with your Embassy (the passport section in consular services) to ask if your Deed Poll needs to be witnessed by either a solicitor or notary public.
If you are told your Deed Poll needs to be legalised with an Apostille, it will need to be witnessed by a practicing UK solicitor or notary public. See the answer to Q31 below for further information about legalising your Deed Poll.
Q3: Are your Deed Polls accepted by HM Passport Office?
A: Our Deed Polls are accepted by all official UK record holders, including HM Passport Office. If you wish to confirm this, you can telephone the passport office’s Adviceline on 0300 222 0000 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday or between 9am and 5.30pm at weekends and public holidays.
Q4: Are there any other fees payable after I have paid for my Deed Poll?
A: The only other expense we are aware of is the cost of getting your passport reissued in your new name. Current passport fees are available on the passport office’s website or by calling their Adviceline (see the answer to question 3 above for their number and hours).
Q5: Will my new passport and new driving licence mention my previous name?
A: You will receive a brand new passport and driving licence without any mention or reference on them to your previous name.
Q6: I bought a cheap Deed Poll from the Internet and am having problems getting it accepted. If I order a Deed Poll from you, will I have any problems with it?
A: You will not experience any problems with a Deed Poll issued by us. We are by far the main issuer of Deed Poll documentation in the United Kingdom (we have issued over 670 thousand Deed Polls during the past 15 years) and our Deed Polls are accepted by everyone. Our Deed Polls are printed on security paper and carry our official seal so there is no question about its authenticity. Unfortunately, we issue many Deed Polls to people who have wasted their money buying from cheap Internet sites.
Q7: Can I use photocopies of my Deed Poll so I don’t need to keep sending out the original?
A: All major record holders such as the passport office, DVLA and the financial institutions will need to see either your original Deed Poll or what we call a “legal copy” of it. A legal copy is where we, or a professionally qualified person, certifies that a copy of your Deed Poll is a true copy of the original. Unless you know someone personally who can certify a copy, you will probably be charged for this service. When you apply for your Deed Poll, you can also order our Legal Copy and Archive Service. The legal copies you will receive from us can be used in lieu of your original Deed Poll document. Furthermore, should you ever lose or mislay your original Deed Poll, you can obtain further legal copies from our archives, which will hold a copy of your original, signed Deed Poll. For further information about our Legal Copy and Archive Service™, please click on this link (opens pop-up window).
Q8: How many legal copies should I order?
A: It is difficult for us to say how many legal copies you should order because we do not know how many major record holders (government departments, companies and organisation) you need to notify of your name change and how quickly you want to get your documents and records changed to your new name. Most clients order just two legal copies (the minimum number) and are happy to wait until they are returned before they use them again to notify other companies and organisations. However, many clients order as many as 25 legal copies because they have a large number of companies and organisations to notify and they want to notify everyone at the same time. The average number of legal copies ordered is five.
Q9: I’ve lost my Deed Poll, where can I get a copy from?
A: If you ordered your Deed Poll direct from us and you subscribed to our Legal Copy and Archive Service (available since May 2000), we can provide you with a legal (certified) copy of your original Deed Poll from our archives. To order, please call our Helpline (see top of this page for our number and hours). If you did not order our Legal Copy and Archive Service, we will not have a copy of your Deed Poll. All you can do is order a replacement Deed Poll (see three paragraphs below).
If you had your Deed Poll prepared elsewhere (at a solicitors for example), a copy of your Deed Poll will only be available if your Deed Poll was enrolled i.e. entered in the Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature, which is located within the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Enrolled Deed Polls are held for about five years at the Royal Courts of Justice and then moved to the National Archives in Kew, Richmond, Surrey.
A simple way of overcoming your predicament is to order a new Deed Poll to act as a replacement. Even if your Deed Poll was enrolled, the time and expense of obtaining a copy (you have to physically attend the National Archives and search for your Deed Poll) means it will be cheaper to order a replacement Deed Poll, which will be modified to include an additional declaration to state you have been using your current name since the date you previously changed your name. Consequently, whoever you show your replacement Deed Poll to will know it is not for a new name change. We issue many replacement Deed Polls every day to people who have lost their original, which is the accepted practice.
To order a replacement Deed Poll, please click on this link. When you enter your name details on the application form, you should enter your ‘former name’ in the current name fields and your ‘current name’ in the new name fields. The idea is to replicate the name change shown on your lost Deed Poll document. Please note, if you have changed your name since changing your name by Deed Poll (the one you have lost), please e-mail us with all the relevant information and the chronological sequence of all your name changes since birth. We need to know the (approximate) date of your name changes and how your name was changed e.g. by Deed Poll, usage, marriage, Statutory Declaration etc. We will then advise you how to apply for what we call a complex Deed Poll.
Q10: I am trying to find a record of a relative’s name change. Can you tell me if they have changed their name by Deed Poll?
A: Searching for someone’s Deed Poll is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. This is because there is no central register of all name changes by Deed Poll. Furthermore, in addition to ourselves, a Deed Poll can be prepared by any of the many thousands of solicitors in the UK and there are other websites providing the service. Even if you discovered who prepared your relative’s Deed Poll, client confidentiality prevents the disclosing of any information about the Deed Poll.
The only chance you have of locating a Deed Poll is if it was enrolled (registered) with the UK government’s Ministry of Justice. Upon registration, a Deed Poll becomes public record and the details of the person’s name change are available for public inspection – in the same way the public can inspect birth, marriage and death certificates. However, very few Deed Polls are enrolled (only about 1 in every 200) because it is a voluntary process and enrolling significantly adds to the time taken and the cost of changing your name – hence over 99 per cent of people change their name by using an ‘unenrolled’ Deed Poll, which is the type we issue.
Deed Polls that have been enrolled during the past five years are held at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. Before then, and going back to 1851, they can be found at the National Archives at Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Tel: 020 8876 3444. However, you need to personally visit the National Archives to search their records (except for Deed Polls enrolled between 1965 and 1983, which are electronically stored and can be searched by telephoning the National Archives).
For further information and advice about searching for evidence of a change of name, please visit the National Archives website (opens new window).
Q11: Will my credit rating be affected if I change my name by Deed Poll?
A: Your credit rating will not be affected because when you complete any application form for credit or a loan etc, you will be asked on the application form if you have ever been known by a former name. By disclosing your former name, your credit history can be accessed. Furthermore, when you notify your bank of your change of name, your bank will notify the credit reference agencies.
Q12: I am an undischarged bankrupt. Can I change my name by Deed Poll?
A: Yes you can, but if you are self employed and want to trade in your new name, you must tell all those with whom you do business the name in which you were made bankrupt. In other words, you are not allowed to carry on the same trade in a different name without telling your customers about your former name. This condition does not apply once you are discharged from bankruptcy. You must also notify the Official Receiver dealing with your bankruptcy of your name change.
Q13: I have a criminal record. Can I change my name by Deed Poll?
A: Your right to change your name by Deed Poll is not taken away from you because you have a criminal record. However, you must be aware of the following:
- If you have any existing or pending criminal actions against you, you must notify the police station dealing with your case of your name change.
- If you are on probation, you must notify your probation officer of your name change.
- If you are on the Sex Offenders’ Register, you must notify the police within three days of your name change.
Q14: I have recently been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) for my employment. Do I need to notify them of my name change by Deed Poll?
A: You do not need to notify the Disclosure and Barring Service of your name change. However, if you are required to apply again for a new check, you will apply in your new name and enclose your Deed Poll (or legal copy of it) as evidence of your name change.
Please note, the above advice also apples to Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI, which are equivalent government agencies in Scotland and Northern Ireland to the DBS in England and Wales.
Q15: My name was changed when I was a child and I now want to revert to my birth name. Can I need to do this by Deed Poll?
A: Whether you want to change your name to a former name or a new name entirely, you will be required to provide record holders (government departments, companies and organisation) with documentary evidence of the change. A Deed Poll will provide you with the necessary documentary evidence of your name change and it will enable you to get all your official documents and records changed back to your new name.
After you have reverted to your birth name by Deed Poll, if you are ever asked to prove your identity you can produce your birth certificate alone. However, if you are asked if you have been known by any other name, you must declare your previous names and produce your Deed Poll document if required.
Q16: I want to change my name now but I have a holiday in three months time that is booked in my current name. Can I keep my passport in my current name and change it when I get back?
A: You can travel overseas using your current passport so long as your travel booking is also in your current name. For security reasons, we strongly advise that you do not travel with documents in different names e.g. your passport and flight tickets in your current name and other items such as your credit cards and driving licence in your new name. Therefore, if you go ahead and change your name before travelling overseas with your current passport, only get those documents and records changed that you will not be taking with you. We also suggest you do not get your medical records changed to your new name in case of a medical emergency whilst overseas.
Q17: I was born and live in Scotland and have been told that I cannot change my name by Deed Poll because the name change procedure is different in Scotland. Is this correct?
A: You have been wrongly advised. The misconception about citizens of Scotland not being able to change their names by Deed Poll stems from the fact that a Deed Poll cannot be enrolled (registered) in Scotland. However, the type of Deed Polls we issue (unenrolled) are recognised and accepted by all Scottish government departments, companies and organisations. Therefore, you will not experience any problems getting all your documents and records changed to your new name (including your passport, driving licence, medical records etc). We issue several thousand Deed Polls every year to Scottish citizens and we have never had any problems reported by clients when getting their documents and records changed.
Q18: I was married to my daughter’s father but I do not know his whereabouts. Can I change my daughter’s name without the father’s consent?
A: It may be possible to change your daughter’s name by Deed Poll if you have been unsuccessful in making reasonable attempts to locate and contact the father for his consent. Please read section 6 of our article Can I change my child’s name (opens new window) for information about how to proceed with an application.
Q19: I am separated and in the process of divorcing my husband and I now wish to change my name back to my maiden name by Deed Poll. Can I also change my title to Miss or Ms?
A: You can change your title to either Miss or Ms when you change your name. When you complete your application form, you can tell us what new title you want in section 1. We will then include an additional declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title. Please note, changing your title does not change your marital status. Therefore, until your divorced is finalised, you must ensure that on any application forms you complete, e.g. for credit, a loan or insurance etc, you declare your maritial status as married.
Q20: I am changing my surname to my boyfriend’s surname. Can I also change my title Mrs?
A: It is perfectly legal to change your title to Mrs when you change your name. When you complete your application form, you can tell us in section 1 that you wish to change your title to Mrs. We will then include an additional declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title to Mrs. Please note, changing your title to Mrs does not change your marital status. Therefore, you must ensure that on any application forms you complete, e.g. for credit, a loan or insurance etc, you declare your maritial status as single.
Q21: I am a trans woman and will soon be changing my name. Can I also change my title to Miss?
A: You can change your title to either Miss, Ms or Mrs when you change your name by Deed Poll. When you complete your application form, you can tell us what new title you want in section 1. We will then include an additional declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title. Please note, changing your title does not change your gender. Therefore, until you obtain your Gender Recognition Certificate, you must ensure that on any application forms you complete, e.g. for credit, a loan or insurance etc, you declare your sex at birth as male.
Q22: Can I have Lord or Sir as my first name?
A: We will not accept an order for a Deed Poll that includes a first name that may result in others believing you have a conferred or inherited honour, title or rank. This is because of the obvious deception such a first name will cause to the general public. Therefore, applications for a new first name such as Sir, Lord, Lady, Baron, Baroness, Count, Earl, Countess, Duke, Duchess, Colonel etc will not be accepted.
Q23: After I have changed my name by Deed Poll, do I need to inform everyone who knows me that my name has changed?
A: Two of the declarations on your Deed Poll state that you will entirely abandon the use of your former name and you will only use your new name in future for all purposes. A list of record holders i.e. government departments, companies and organisations that you may need to notify will be included in your Deed Poll pack.
Having said the above, if you wish to continue using your former name for professional purposes (or you have a different name you use for professional purposes e.g. a stage or pen name) it is perfectly legal to continue using that name for professional purposes only. Furthermore, we can include your professional name on your Deed Poll. By doing this, record holders that you show your Deed Poll to will be made aware that although you are changing your legal name, you will continue to use your professional name for professional purposes only (for all other purposes, you will be using your new name). Furthermore, you can ask HM Passport Office to include your professionally-known-as name on your passport’s observations page (the page next to the personal information page). This is very useful if, for example, you need to produce some ID in your professional name or if someone books a flight for you in your professional name. You will not have the trouble and expense of getting the ticket changed to your legal name.
Q24: Can I get my educational certificates changed after I have changed my name?
A: You will not be able to get documents such as your educational certificates changed because they were correctly issued in your legal name at the time. However, this is not a problem because if you have to produce your educational certificates, say at a job interview, you simply produce your Deed Poll as well. It is no different for married women who take their husband’s surname – they have to produce their marriage certificate as documentary evidence of the link to their educational certificates. In your situation, your Deed Poll document provides a link to the name on your certificates.
Q25: I want to change my name by Deed Poll but I want to continue using my existing name at work because I have built up a good reputation over the years with my clients. Can I do this?
A: With the permission of your employer you will be able to continue using your former name after changing your legal name. In fact, companies are usually happy to allow you to continue using your former name if there are commercial benefits from doing so.
If you will be continuing to use your former name at work, we can include on your Deed Poll an additional declaration stating that for professional purposes only, you will continue to use your former name. By having a professionally known-as-name on your Deed Poll, everyone you show your Deed Poll to will be made aware that although you are changing your legal name, you will continue to use your former name for professional purposes only (for all other purposes, you will be using your new name). Furthermore, you can ask HM Passport Office to include your professionally-known-as name on your passport’s observations page (the page next to the personal information page). This is very useful if, for example, you need to produce some ID in your professional name or if someone books a flight for you in your professional name; you will not have the trouble and expense of getting the ticket changed to your legal name.
Q26: I want to change my name but I am a sole trader and my current name is my business name. Do I need to change my business name after changing my name by Deed Poll?
A: You do not need to change your business name after you have changed your name by Deed Poll. For example, if your trading name is Mary Smith and you change your name to Maryam Jones, legally your business will be ‘Maryam Jones trading as Mary Smith’. On your business stationery, you will continue to use Mary Smith as the business name but you need to mention (usually at the bottom of the page) the proprietor is Maryam Jones. When you notify your bank of your name change, your business account name will be amended to incorporate your new name.
Please note, by continuing to use your current name as your trading name, you are not in breach of the declarations on your Deed Poll that you will abandon the use of your former name and will only use your new name for all purposes. This is because for business purposes, you are not acting in your own name but on behalf of your business.
Q27: I am a British citizen living abroad, can I apply for a Deed Poll and get my passport changed to my new name?
A: British citizens living anywhere in the world can change their name by Deed Poll and then use their Deed Poll to get their UK documents and records changed and their passport changed to their new name. Once you have your British passport in your new name, you will be able to use it to get your local documents and records changed to your new name (your new passport will be accepted as evidence of your change of name as recognised by the British government).
If your current passport (which will be returned to you cancelled), contains an unexpired visa it may become invalid so you will need to check with the issuing authority whether your visa in your cancelled passport can still be used. If not, you will need to reapply for a new visa for your new passport.
With regard to delivery, we offer three overseas delivery options ranging from posting the same day using FedEx courier service to posting within four working days using Royal Mail’s accelerated airmail service.
To apply for your Deed Poll, please click on this link (opens new window). To find out how to apply for a new British passport whilst living outside the UK, please click on this link (opens new window). To read HM Passport Office’s notes about applying for a new British passport whilst living outside the UK, please click on this link (opens new window).
Q28: I live in the UK but I am not a British citizen. Can I change my name by Deed Poll?
A: You can apply for a Deed Poll but before you submit your application, we suggest you check with the consular services section of your country’s embassy or high commission in London to see if they will issue you with a passport in your new name using your Deed Poll as documentary evidence of your name change. If your Deed Poll will be accepted, there may be special requirements, for example, the Danish Embassy requires its nationals to have their Deed Poll legalised with an Apostille (see the answer to question 31 below for further information about legalising your Deed Poll). If you cannot get your passport changed to your new name, you may find your name change will not be recognised by all UK record holders (i.e. UK government departments, companies and organisations) on the grounds that your are not changing your name for “all purposes” (if you cannot get your passport changed, you cannot be using your new name for all purposes).”
Having said the above, most foreign nationals are able to change their name records in the UK by Deed Poll without getting their passport changed but it is not guaranteed. Also, if you do get all your documents and records changed to your new name, you need to be aware that you may have problems travelling outside the UK if your passport shows one name and the other documents you have on you show a different name.
For further information about who can apply for a Deed Poll, please click on this link (opens new window).
Q29: I live in the UK and have dual nationality. Will a Deed Poll get both passports I hold changed to my new name?
A: Before applying for your British passport in your new name, we recommend you investigate the procedure for getting your other passport changed by calling the consular services section of the issuing country’s embassy or high commission in London. We recommend this because when you apply for your new British passport and HM Passport Office (HMPO) are aware you also hold a passport of another country, HMPO will require you to first get your other passport changed to your new name before they will issue you with a British passport in your new name.
Many countries, particularly British Commonwealth countries, will accept your Deed Poll as documentary evidence of your name change and will issue you with a passport in your new name. Some countries, Italy for example, will ask you to apply to the court local to where your birth was registered for permission to change your name. The court order issued can be used to obtain a new passport from the Italian Embassy in London. If it is not possible to get the name in your other passport changed, to be able to get your British passport changed, you will need to renounce citizenship of the other country.
Q30: I live in the UK but I am a US citizen. If I change my name by Deed Poll, can I use it to get my US passport changed to my new name?
A: The US Embassy in London will accept your original deed poll document issued by us so long as a UK solicitor has acted as your witness. Full instructions will be enclosed with your Deed Poll documentation.
Q31: I am getting married abroad and have been told that my Deed Poll and birth certificate must be legalised. What is legalising and what do I need to do?
A: Legalisation is a process whereby the UK government confirms the authenticity of legal documents and certificates issued in the UK. Legalisation enables foreign countries (or their embassies in London) to accept documents such as UK birth certificates, UK marriage certificates and our Deed Poll documents because their authenticity has been confirmed by the UK government. Legalising a Deed Poll overcomes the problem of foreign countries not knowing whether a Deed Poll issued by us is genuine and authentic.
The legalisation of UK documents is handled by the Legalisation Office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. When a document is legalised, an Apostille (a certificate) is permanently attached to the rear of the document.
When you receive your Deed Poll, you should not sign it immediately but take it to a UK registered and practicing solicitor or a UK registered and practicing notary public who must witness you sign and date your Deed Poll document. You should expect to pay around £10 for this but do ask first (a notary public will charge much more). If you have already signed your Deed Poll and had it witnessed by someone other than a solicitor or notary public, you need to take your Deed Poll to a UK registered solicitor or UK notary public for authenticating. The solicitor or notary public must write (anywhere) on your Deed Poll document “I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of this document.” It is important that the solicitor or notary public signs and prints his or her full name under this statement because the FCO will check the solicitor or notary public is registered and practicing in the UK. You can then arrange to have your Deed Poll legalised at the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes.
If you wish us to handle the legalisation of your Deed Poll, please request this in the comments box on your application form. Our legalisation fees are shown on our Services and Fees page (opens new window).
Q32: What is the difference between a Statutory Declaration and a Deed Poll?
A: A Statutory Declaration is a similar legal document to a Deed Poll but because a Statutory Declaration is a much less known and less used method of changing a person’s name, there are sometimes problems with its acceptability. We often issue Deed Polls to people who have been unable to get their Statutory Declaration accepted by everyone. Furthermore, a Statutory Declaration must be sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths or a Justice of the Peace. Therefore, not only can a Statutory Declaration work out more expensive than a Deed Poll prepared by us but you must make an appointment with a local firm of solicitors to swear the document. Our Deed Poll service is more conveniently conducted either entirely online, by post or over the telephone.