What is the purpose of a Deed Poll?

If you want to change your name and get all your official documents and records changed to show your new name e.g. your UK passport, driving licence, bank account, credit card, medical records etc, you will be asked to produce documentary evidence of your name change. A Deed Poll document is a formal statement that enables you to prove to such record holders that you have changed your name and it provides you with the required documentary evidence of the name by which you wish to be known.

A Deed Poll works in the same way a marriage certificate works for a married woman who wishes to take her husband’s surname. She writes to everyone that has her name records, enclosing her marriage certificate as documentary evidence of her name change, and requests her surname is changed to her husband’s surname. When changing your name by Deed Poll, you simply do the same i.e. write to everyone, enclosing your Deed Poll as documentary evidence of your name change, and request your records are changed to the new name shown on the Deed Poll document.

After you have changed all your documents and records to your new name, it is important to keep your Deed Poll safe because if you need to prove your identity in the future, for example, you want to get married or apply for a passport, you will need to produce your Deed Poll together with your birth certificate. For peace of mind, we offer a Legal Copy and Archive Service, where we will retain an image of your signed Deed Poll. Therefore, if you ever lose or mislay your Deed Poll, you can obtain from us a legal copy of it, thereby avoiding the need to apply and pay for a new Deed Poll. For further information about our Legal Copy and Archive Service please click on this link (opens pop-up window).

With a Deed Poll, you can change your forenames and/or surname, add names, remove names or rearrange your existing names. You can change your name at any time and for any reason provided it is not to deceive or defraud or to avoid an obligation.

Please note, a Deed Poll can be executed by any British citizen aged 16 years or over living anywhere in the world or by anyone, of any nationality, living in the United Kingdom (parents can apply on behalf of their children who are under 16 years of age). If you are a foreign national living in the UK, you should check with your country’s high commission or embassy in London to see if a Deed Poll issued by us will be accepted by them to get your passport changed to your new name. Countries that have a legal system based on the British legal system will usually accept a Deed Poll issued by us.

Our Deed Poll Pack contains a comprehensive list of government departments, companies and organisations that you will need to notify of your change of name. The list tells you what you need to do for each. We also supply an example covering letter that you can use when you send your Deed Poll to the parties concerned to get your documents and records changed.

Please note, a Deed Poll cannot be used to get birth, marriage, civil partnership, decree absolute or educational certificates changed because these are historical records, which were issued in the correct name. Please read our page Can a birth certificate be changed (opens new window) for further information about the few circumstances where a birth certificate can be changed, thereby avoiding the need for a Deed Poll.