What is a deed poll?
A legal declaration you will only use a new name in future. This allows you to update other ID documents to a new name.
What does a deed poll do?
- ID documents
Provides ability to change other documents
How long does a deed poll last?
The change of name is permanent. It remains in effect until you make a new name change by deed poll or statutory declaration.
Are there other options?
Another option is name change by statutory declaration.
How do I change my name by deed poll?
A deed poll can be either unenrolled or enrolled.
- An unenrolled deed poll is a simple formal legal statement that you have changed your name. You can make this yourself - you do not need a solicitor.
- An enrolled deed poll is a deed poll which has been officially registered at the Royal Courts of Justice. These are specific to births registered in England and Wales; there are separate procedures for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Enrolling a deed poll will create a permanent searchable link between your old and new names, including a notification in the London Gazette. Anyone could find out your old name with only a few seconds of web searching.
Enrolling a deed poll is usually unnecessary, as unenrolled deed polls are accepted by the Passport Office. It will also mean making the details of your name change, including what your old name was, a matter of public record.
How you can change your name depends on your age:
I am 16 or older
To make an unenrolled deed poll for yourself, you can use the Free UK Deed Poll website. You can also use the template on the GOV.UK website.
You will need to obtain the signatures of two independent witnesses to your deed poll. These need to be people who know you personally but who are not part of your family. Some people who might be able to help you with this are neighbours, friends, coworkers, lecturers, or youth club leaders.
If you are unable to find two witnesses, you may wish to use a name change by statutory declaration. A statutory declaration must be witnessed by a solicitor, which will involve paying a small fee.
I am under 16 years old
If you are under 16, you will need to get your parents or guardians to make a deed poll on your behalf. They must all agree to this, otherwise you will need a court order.
Mermaids have resources relating to name changes for under 16s on their website, including a template deed poll.
Many people make multiple original signed deed polls so they can send them to multiple organisations at once. Most organisations will return original deed polls although they may take some time to do so.
What should I do next?
Once you have changed your name, you will need to update your details with lots of different organisations. You can find out who you need to notify and how to do it on our page about telling organisations.
After you have completed your deed poll, you can also choose to officially register your name change, but most people do not do this.
Where can I learn more?
You can find more information about changing your name by deed poll on the GOV.UK website.
How much will it cost?
Name change by deed poll is free.
Some companies offer paid services for “official” deed polls: these “official” deed polls are no more legal 1, p.71 than one you have printed yourself using the Free UK Deed Poll website or the template on the GOV.UK website. There is no need to pay an organisation for a deed poll (see this Guardian article for more information).
- 1.Vincent, Ben (2018) Transgender Health, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Link
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