Planning 101 27th April 2018

Do I Need A Deed Poll To Change My Name?

There are several instances in which someone may decide to change their name; be it marriage, divorce or a new start. When it comes to getting married, many couples these days are choosing alternative name solutions to the traditional, i.e. the wife taking her husband's name. Check out our blog post on "Deciding a surname" for more inspiration on this.

Legally changing your name is a large step for anyone, and the process itself can be immensly confusing. The question on everybodies lips? Do I need to change my name by deed poll?

Hundreds of people every month use NameSwitch to change their names, so we’ve constructed this helpful guide to advise on the best route for you. This is not to be considered legal advise (we're not lawyers!) but will help you make a start. 

What Types of Name Change Require a Deed Poll?

To begin with, let’s look at the situations which are relatively black-and-white.

DOES NOT Require a Deed Poll

• Changing your title – such as, becoming a Miss after being a Mrs;

• Shortening your first name – e.g. being known as Sam instead of Samantha. N.B., a few instituations, such as the Passport Office, include specific sections on their application forms that recognise this;

• Double-barrelling – combining surnames in a natural order with or without a hyphen (e.g. Smith-Jones). *Please see the section on “Grey Areas” for exceptions to this rule. 

DOES Require a Deed Poll

• Changing your first name or changing/adding a middle name; (e.g. turning a maiden name into a middle name);

• Meshing surnames together – if you’d like to blend your two surnames into one (e.g. Bloom and Hunt becomes Blunt);

The Grey Areas

There are a couple of scenarios which are not so black-and-white, these often affect gay marriages.

Double-Barrelling or Assuming your Gay (Male) Partner’s Name

The good news is, government bodies such as DVLA, Land Registry, the Passport Office, and HMRC do not require you to have a deed poll to process a double-barrelled name change request for gay couples. A valid marriage or civil partnership certificate will be accepted as documentary evidence.

Sadly, when it comes to some financial institutions, they’re historically known for being behind the times when it comes to recognising requests from men as well as same-sex couples. Although things are slowly improving in this area, if you don’t have a deed poll, you may encounter some issues. But, if you’ve already managed to obtain a passport and/or driving license in your new double-barrelled name, they can provide handy supporting evidence for companies with whom you’re encountering difficulties.

How to Apply for a Deed Poll

If you now know that you need to obtain a deed poll for your name change, and would like help in negotiating the process, there are a number of companies that can assist you. Many can be found via internet searches. We have found to be a very useful resource. If you’re feeling more confident, you can apply for a deed poll directly at


NameSwitches Top Tips

Top Tip 1:

If you change your name by deed poll prior to marriage then you can request your wedding celebrant prepares your marriage certificate in your new name so that you may sign it on the day as you mean to move forward – this will also be a great moment for to let your wedding party know what you will be called from this day forth.

Top Tip 2:

For couples who are planning a combined name change, having one party do so before the marriage and sign the certificate as in tip 1 will also save the time and cost of initiate a second deed poll – the other party can then assume the name after marriage. 

Top Tip 3: 

Get copies! Always request several official copies (3-5) of your marriage certificate or deed poll. This will allow you to notify multiple companies in parallel.  


What next?

Obtaining your deed poll is just the beginning. You will now need to notify on average 18 different government bodies and companies of your new name. NameSwitch can help make the rest of the process as painless and efficient as possible by supplying you with all of the letters, forms, and personalised instructions that you’ll need to inform a vast array of UK-based companies and government bodies of your name change.

To find out more or to ask for advice on your particular situation, please feel free to get in touch with the lovely team at NameSwitch.