Many individuals change their names legally, maybe after a divorce, marriage or just a whim. The reasons to change one’s name can be as simple as disliking the name that was given after birth or changing the way how your name is spelt. Traditionally a lawyer is required to perform legal paperwork for a name change. But, changing your name legally in the UK is much simpler and cost-effective than that. The best way is to get help from experts such as UK Deed Poll Office. 

The name change through such services is as simple as:

  • Applying for an Adult or Child Deed Poll by filling out an online application form
  • Getting the deed processed within 24 hours and receiving it through the first class post
  • Upon receipt, sign and witness the physical Deed Poll and duplicate copies
  • Submit the Deed Poll to various legal agencies such as the HM Passport Office, Banks and DVLA

What’s a Deed Poll?

A Deed Poll is an integral part of the official process for name changing. In the UK, there is no official government office that is dedicated to a name changing process. This is where a deed poll comes into the picture. It’s an official legal document that verifies your new name and can be even used to update your official documents such as driving license, bank statements, etc. 

A deed poll will declare – the date you started using your new name and officially provide proof of the new name. And for a deed poll, you will not require to visit the court or spend money on expensive lawyers. 

A deed poll is a must in cases where the name change happens unless it’s after a marriage or a divorce in the UK. You will need a deed poll if you want to:

  • Change your name after a gender change
  • Move on from a period in your life
  • Be identified with a new name with another culture or religion
  • Start afresh with a new name if you have a criminal record

Which names don’t work for a name change via deed poll?

While applying for a deed poll to change your name, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind. You cannot:

  • Pick an offensive or vulgar name
  • Pick a name to perform or use for fraudulent purposes
  • Use the new name to promote any illegal or criminal activities
  • Choose a name with a racial slur or anything that mocks certain groups or institutions
  • Select a name with numbers, symbols, made-up punctuations
  • Pick a title for the name that is British accepted titles such as Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms and Mx
  • Pick a trademarked name or single names of celebrities that is a brand in them. Even if you get a deed poll, chances are it won’t be accepted at official agencies 

Pick a name that will be approved at potential record-holders in the UK including the HM Passport Office, DVLA, Banks, Building societies, Credit Card providers, employer/s (current and former), HM Revenue & Customs, HM Land Registry, The Department for Work & Pensions, Insurance companies, Utility companies such as gas, electricity and water, Service providers such as telephone, mobile phone, broadband, cable TV, etc. Generally, agencies such as the UK Deed Poll Office will provide a complete list of agencies with the deed poll. Keep in mind that for each service, you might need a copy of a deed poll.

Is an enrolled Deed Poll same as a regular Deed Poll?

An enrolled deed poll means a copy of your deed poll that will be kept in the records of Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. After 5 to 10 years, this deed poll will be shifted to the National Archives at Kew, Surrey. One of the benefits of having an enrolled deed poll is that your new name is published in the digital and print copy of the London Gazette. 

An enrolled deed poll is not essential to legally change your name and doesn’t make much of a difference if you have applied for a name change with a regular deed poll. 

Can I change my name for free?

There are options for using a free deed poll that can help you cut the cost of a professional agency. It will require extra time to create and will require some form of fees for the paper and ink to print it. The problem with free deed polls is that it won’t be accepted in all government offices. This is because the free deed poll doesn’t look professional and can be deemed invalid by certain government agencies. 

A paid deed poll, on the other hand, is easy to make since you need to provide the information and the new name. The rest is taken care of by the agency such as the UK Deed Poll Office. These agencies have a deed poll format that will be guaranteed accepted at every official institution including DVLA and HM Passport Office. The type of paper used and the official seal stamp on the deed poll will make it professional looking. Another advantage of a paid deed poll is the saving time. Once an application is filed, most agencies will process your application within 24 hours and send the deed via first class post.

Final Thoughts

Changing your name is an easy process where the entire process is done online, including secure payment. The important thing to remember is to be aware and be ready for dealing with all the necessary paperwork to change your name at every institution and agencies. 

You can start by taking the necessary precautions and research about the implications of changing your name. For example, if you have a visa currently on your old name, find out if the change in the passport will retain the visa duration or will you need to reapply for it. Also, order an adequate amount of copies from a deed poll agency to ensure you can provide proof to other agencies.