Frequently Asked Questions
This guide assumes you're over 16 and exclusively a UK citizen. Changing your name gets complicated if you have dual-citizenship.
Do I need a lawyer to change my name?
Nope. To change you name you just need to a sign a document saying you've renounced your old name, in the presence of two non-family witnesses. This is called an unenrolled deed poll which 99% of organisations will accept.
Once you've printed and signed your deed poll you can can start contacting oranisations to get your records updated. Ideally you should start with your passport and driver's licence, as these will give you photo ID in your new name. Be sure to update your name with your bank and any creditors, to avoid being acused of fraud.
Are there restrictions on the name I can choose?
Technically the only restriction is that you can't change your name for fraudulent purposes. In practical terms further restrictions apply, as the UK Home Office won't issue a passport if your name contains:
- Numbers or symbols
- Punctuation marks other than hyphens or apostrophes
- Too many characters in forenames/surname to fit onto the face of the passport
- Language which may cause outrage or offence or are deliberately or inadvertently likely to offend sectors of the community
- Wording that promotes criminal activities
- A trademarked name, or is subject to copyright, except where the applicant produces written permission from the owner
While many businesses expect you to have both a first and last name, you can get a passport consisting of a single name (a mononym).
You don't need to use the same name day-to-day as on official forms.
How do I decide on a name?
Try lots of different names and build a shortlist of your favourites. You can ask friends, partners and family for suggestions, though the final decision is always yours. Experiment with a new name for a week or two and see you feel.
Behind the Name is useful for understanding the history and meaning of a name.
An organisation won't change my name, what do?
Many organisations don't understand their obligations under GDPR's Right to Rectification. Companies can ask for photo ID in your new name, but if they start asking for unreasonable documents or an enrolled deed poll then cite GDPR's Right to Rectification and send them the linked ICO guidance. If necessary ask to speak to their Data Protection Officer. Even if the organisation is not based in the UK they still need to comply with GDPR when handling your data.
How do I change my title?
You don't need a deed poll to change your title and can start using a new one whenever you want.
If you want to emphasise a gender change you could include your title in the Old Name and New Name fields e.g. Mr Martin Copperfields -> Miss Martha Copperfields
Do I need to buy special document paper?
Nope. Your deed poll is valid on any paper. However, if you want to make your deed poll look fancy, try parchment or vellum paper with a thickness of around 100gsm.
Why did you make another deed poll website?
When I changed my name I used the fantastic freedeedpoll.org.uk. While it's a great website it uses a server to generate the PDF, meaning your personal details get unnecessarily sent off your computer. The website's creator has been working on an alternative that doesn't do this, but it wasn't finished when I last checked. Some of my partners wanted to change their names, so I built this website instead.
This website doesn't store or transmit any information about you. The deed poll is created locally, in your browser.
Can I suggest improvements or raise issues with this website?
Please do. This website is open source and contributions are always welcome.
If you don't have or want a GitHub account you could drop me a line via Twitter (@kittsville) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).