Changing your name on your British passport
The name on your passport should always match your legal name. So if your name changes you need to get your passport reissued in your new name. This is true whether you change your name by Deed Poll or change your name following your marriage, separation, divorce or after entering into a civil partnership.
In all cases, you will need to apply for a new 10 year passport (five years for a child). This means your current passport will be cancelled and any unspent time will be lost. If your current passport 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 (you can request your cancelled passport is returned to you). If not, you will need to reapply for a new visa.
1. Applying for a passport in a name that is different to the name on your birth certificate
If you are applying for your first passport and the name you are known by is different to the name on your birth certificate, you will need to enclose with your passport application a document called a Deed Poll (also known as a Change of Name Deed), which shows your name changing from your birth name to the name you are known by.
Please note, it does not matter that you do not have any documentary evidence of your former name change. Maybe your name was changed when you were a child and you cannot find any documentary evidence of the change. What is important is that your Deed Poll document you send to the passport office shows your name changing from your birth name to the name you are known by. Therefore, when you complete the Deed Poll application form, you need to enter your birth name in the current name boxes and your current name in the new name boxes. This will ensure your Deed Poll document shows the correct name change so it will be acceptable to the passport office.
2. Changing the name in your passport following your change of name by Deed Poll
If you change your legal name by Deed Poll, your Deed Poll document will be accepted by the passport office as documentary evidence of your change of name. Please note, your Deed Poll will also be accepted by all United Kingdom government departments and agencies, companies and organisations to enable you to get all your other documents and records changed or reissued in your new name including your UK driving licence, bank accounts, credit cards and medical records etc etc.
When you send your passport application form to the Passport Office, you simply need to enclose your Deed Poll document.
3. Changing the name in your passport following your marriage or civil partnership
If you have recently married and wish to take your husband or wife’s surname, your marriage certificate will be accepted by the passport office as documentary evidence of your change of surname. Similarly, if you have entered into a civil partnership and wish to take your partner’s surname, your civil partnership certificate will be accepted. The passport office will also accept a marriage certificate or a civil partnership certificate as documentary evidence of a change to a double-barrelled surname i.e. your surname combined with your spouse’s or civil partner’s surname e.g. Smith-Jones or Smith Jones. In all the above situations, a Deed Poll is not required for the passport office. Passport application packs are available from most post offices.
Please note, although government departments will accept a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate to double-barrel your surname in your passport, many companies and organisations will not, especially the financial institutions. Therefore, you may still need to apply for a Deed Poll to get your non-government documents and records changed to your new double-barrelled surname. Certainly, if you wish to do something other than take your partner’s surname or double-barrel your surname, you will need to apply for a Deed Poll. Please click on the appropriate link below for further information.
If you will be either taking your partner’s surname or forming a double-barrelled surname following your marriage or civil partnership, you can apply for a new passport in your new name up to three months before your ceremony, although you will not be able to use your new passport until the actual day of your ceremony.
4. Changing the name in your passport following your separation
If you wish to revert to your name before marriage or your civil partnership, you will need to change your name by Deed Poll and then apply for a new passport enclosing your Deed Poll document as documentary evidence of your name change. You will also use your Deed Poll to get all your other official documents and records changed back. Please click on the following links for further information:
5. Changing the name in your passport following your divorce or the dissolution of your civil partnership
If you wish to revert to your name before marriage or your civil partnership, you simply need to apply for a new passport and enclose your decree absolute certificate or your civil partnership dissolution certificate. You also need to enclose a signed statement that you are using your former name for all purposes.
Please note, although the passport office will issue a new passport in your former name, you may still need to apply for a Deed Poll because many companies and organisations, in particular the financial institutions, require a Deed Poll to make any change to your name records. The only way to find out if you need a Deed Poll is to contact everyone you deal with, for example, your bank, building society, credit card company and mortgage company etc and ask what their policy is for changing a name following divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. Please click on the following link for further information:
6. Changing the name in your child’s passport
If you wish to change the name in your child’s passport (or you are applying for a first passport in a name that is different from the name on your child’s birth certificate), you will need the consent of everyone with parental responsibility, which we also need before we can issue your child’s Deed Poll. Therefore, when you apply for your child’s Deed Poll, you need to post to us a letter of consent signed by everyone with parental responsibility. This letter will be returned to you with your child’s Deed Poll for sending to the Passport Office with your child’s Deed Poll. For further information about parental responsibility and consent requirements, please on the following link:
7. Applying for a British passport whilst overseas
If you are a British national living overseas, there is a dedicated online passport application procedure that you must follow. To find out how to apply for your new passport from overseas click here (opens new window).
Please note, it is important that you read the passport office’s application notes for applying for a British passport from overseas, which you can do by clicking on this link (opens new window).
8. Contacting HM Passport Office
You can contact HM Passport Office’s Advice line by calling 0300 222 0000. Their hours are 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5.30pm weekends and public holidays. Alternatively, you can visit the passport section of the UK government’s website by clicking on this link (opens new window). Passport application packs are available from most Post Offices but applying by post is £9.50 more expensive.
If you live in the UK, you can apply online for your British passport by clicking on this link (opens new window). If you live outside the UK, you can apply online for your passport by clicking on this link (opens new window).
9. How to apply for a Deed Poll
To apply for a Deed Poll, please click here. You will see you can apply online, by post, by telephone or in person at our offices in Witham, Essex. If you are applying for a Deed Poll for a name change that happened in the past (when you were a child for example) please enter on the application form your previous name in the current name boxes and your current name in the new name boxes. This will ensure the correct name change appears on your Deed Poll document.