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13 April 2022

How to change your name

Changing your name is as easy as it’s ever been. There are, however, steps you need to take to have it recognised officially. Woodcock Notary Public frequently assists with enrolled deed polls and can authenticate your identity when you change your name.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Changing Your Name

There are many reasons why you might want to change your name, and doing so has become easier in recent years.

While reasonably simple, there are still several rules when it comes to changing your name. There are also several requirements you need to meet to get your new title recognised officially.

Please note: you do not need to follow any legal process to start using a new name. You only need to follow such processes when you want to use your new name officially. 

To change your name, you need to acquire what’s known as a deed poll. A deed poll is a type of legal document that proves a change of name. You will need it to prove to any official body that you have changed your name.

It’s important to note that, if you are a permanent resident overseas (you don’t live in the UK), you cannot change your name by deed poll.

You can change any part of your name by deed poll. This could be adding or taking away from your name. You can also remove hyphens and change the spelling of your name. The two ways to get a deed poll are:

  • Make an ‘enrolled’ deed poll yourself, or
  • Apply for an ‘enrolled’ deed poll.


The option you chose will depend on who you want to register your name change with. Different organisations will require a different type of deed poll as proof of your name change. We recommend you check with the organisation which type of deed poll you need to provide them with.

Making an ‘enrolled’ deed poll yourself

In order to make an ‘enrolled’ deed poll yourself, you must be over the age of 16. 

As mentioned above, some organisations will not accept a deed poll you’ve made yourself, so it’s important to check. Woodcock Law and Notary Public is happy to provide you with the guidance you need. 

In terms of wording, the UK Government has a specific wording they prefer your ‘enrolled’ deed poll to have. It can be found on their website

Applying for an ‘enrolled’ deed poll

The act of ‘enrolling’ a deed poll means you’re essentially putting your name on public record. 

To apply for an ‘enrolled’ deed poll, you need to apply to the Royal Courts of Justice using the deed poll process. The cost is £42.44. 

Marriage and civil partnership

When you get married or enter into a civil partnership, you do not need a deed poll to take your partner’s surname. Record holders will update your documents for free when you send them a copy of your marriage certificate or your civil partnership certificate. 

In the case of divorce or termination of civil partnership, it may be possible to go back to your original name if you provide record holders with either your marriage certificate and decree absolute, or your civil partnership certificate and final order. 

Enrolling a deed poll with the courts

Your new name becomes part of the public record once your deed poll is ‘enrolled’ at the Royal Courts of Justice. In order to have your deed poll ‘enrolled’, you must be 18 or over. 

The full guidance and forms can be found here. Once completed, your forms should be sent to the Queen’s Bench Division. 

Changing a child’s name

There are two ways to change the name of a child under the age of 18. You can:

  • Make an enrolled deed poll by using a specialist deed poll agency or solicitor (Woodcock Law and Notary Public would be suitable), or
  • Apply for an enrolled deed poll from the Royal Courts of Justice.


To apply for an enrolled deed poll on the child’s behalf, you must either have the agreement of someone with parental responsibility, or a court order. To get a court order, you must first try to reach agreement from someone with parental responsibility. 

If everyone with parental responsibility agrees to the name change, you can proceed as you would if you were changing your own name. You will need to fill out the forms and put the name change in the public record. The price is the same as it is for someone changing their own name. 

READY FOR ASSISTANCE?

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.