The UK Deed Poll Office

Birth Certificate Name Change


Changing your name

Unless you’re changing your name due to divorce, or you’ve changed your name before, you will most likely want to change the name you were given at birth. In all cases, you can legally change your name by deed poll (completely stop using your birth name), but where your birth was registered (England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland), will determine if this the only option, or if you also have the option to record a change of name on your birth certificate.

England & Wales

If your or your child’s birth was registered in England & Wales, a change of name can only be made by deed poll; unless you’re changing a child’s name and one of the exceptional circumstances below is applicable to your situation. It is not possible to record a change of name on your birth certificate. Your new name (and former name) will be stated on your deed poll document, and it is recommended that you attach a copy of your deed poll to your birth certificate.

Exceptional Circumstances

A child's birth certificate can be changed in the following limited situations:

Changes to forename:

  1. New forenames were given by Baptism or by regular use within 12 months of the date the birth was registered
  2. Correct a spelling mistake
Only one change of forename is permitted.

Changes to surname:

A surname can only be changed to correct a spelling mistake. However, the birth can be registered to show the natural father's details, or upon the marriage of the natural parents. In both cases the surname may be changed to either the mother's or father's, or a combination of the two.

To apply to make a change to a child's birth certificate the person who registered the child should contact the original register office.

Scotland

If your or your child’s birth was registered in Scotland, a change of name can be made by either deed poll or recorded on one’s birth certificate. The latter can be done via an application to the General Register Office (GRO) for Scotland. The GRO will supply a replacement birth certificate in the new name, which can be used as legal evidence to support your name change at your bank etc. The GRO provide this service for a total cost of £55 (£40 recording fee and £15 for a new birth certificate). As the GRO's charges are higher than that of paying for a deed poll, and there are a number of restrictions (see below), many Scottish residents choose to change their name by deed poll instead. Both methods will allow a change of name on official documents and records. Our website provides an application form to allow a quick and easy change of name at a total cost of £15.

GRO Recording Restrictions*

The GRO state that:
  1. Only one change of forename(s) and one change of surname(s) may be recorded for a child under 16 years of age.
  2. If a change of forename(s) in infancy (i.e. a change of forename or a forename given within 12 months from the date of birth) has already been recorded, no further change of forename(s) may be recorded before the child reaches 16 years of age. This does not, however, prevent the recording of a change of surname.
  3. For persons 16 years of age and over, one change of forename(s) and up to three changes of surname(s) may be recorded. A period of 5 years must elapse between successive changes of surname(s).
*These restrictions do not apply if you were born in Scotland and you wish to change your name by deed poll.

Northern Ireland

If your or your child’s birth was registered in Northern Ireland, a change of name can be made by either deed poll or recorded on one’s birth certificate. The latter can be done via an application to the General Register Office (GRO) for Northern Ireland. The GRO will supply a replacement birth certificate in the new name, which can be used as legal evidence to support your name change at your bank etc. The GRO provide this service for a total cost of £50 (£35 recording fee and £15 for a new birth certificate). As the GRO's charges are higher than that of paying for a deed poll, and there are a number of restrictions (see below), many Northern Irish residents choose to change their name by deed poll instead. Both methods will allow a change of name on official documents and records. Our website provides an application form to allow a quick and easy change of name at a total cost of £15.

GRO Recording Restrictions*

The GRO state that:
  1. An application may be made to record one change of name and one change of surname for a child under the age of 18. The child must have been born or legally adopted in Northern Ireland.
  2. One change of name and three changes of surname may be recorded for any one person. A period of 5 years must elapse after one change of surname is recorded before another change is recorded.
*These restrictions do not apply if you were born in Northern Ireland and you wish to change your name by deed poll.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I use my maiden name at work for business purposes?
A. Yes, you can legally use your maiden name when working for an employer.

Q. What happens if I receive a cheque in my old name?
A. Most banks will allow you to cash a cheque made out to your previous name, so long as you can prove that you used to be known by that name.

The Next Steps

If you would like to change your name/title by deed poll then you will need to complete our online adult application form. Please click the ‘APPLY NOW’ button below.

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