Deed Poll Service
What is a Deed Poll?
A deed poll is a legal document that binds an individual to a particular course of action. The most common use of a deed poll is to change a name.
A deed poll commits you to the following actions.
- To renounce and abandon the use of your former name(s)
- To use your new name(s) at all times
- Requires everybody to address you only by your new name(s)
Anyone over the age of 16 can change their name by deed poll.
If you are aged over 16 years but not yet 18 years old, the process is the same as it is for an adult. You do not need the consent of whoever has parental responsibility for you.
A person who has parental responsibility must apply for the name change on behalf of the child.
Havering will only complete a deed poll service where all parents mentioned on a birth certificate (or organisations) that have parental rights and responsibilities over the child are able to attend and agree to the name change.
The applicant must be one of the following.
- A British National living in the UK
- A British National living outside the UK who has confirmed that the country they are residing in will accept a change of name deed
- It is advised that you contact your local British Embassy to ensure that they will issue a new passport in the new name and whether they require more documentation than the change of name deed. They may wish to see two or three other documents in the new name as evidence that the applicant is using the new name for all purposes.
- A foreign national living in the UK whose country of origin has confirmed that it will accept a change of name deed
- It is advised that you contact your embassy in the UK to ensure that they will issue a new passport in the new name. Different countries have different requirements eg Pakistan requires that its nationals have the deed signed by a solicitor.
- A foreign national living in the UK who is going through the process of becoming a British Citizen
- The UK Border Agency will accept the deed and you will have the new name on your Naturalisation Certificate and your British Passport should if you are successful in obtaining citizenship.
Usage of the Deed Poll
For most purposes a deed poll will be accepted to change documents, but there are some important exceptions.
Birth and marriage certificates cannot be changed. However, your deed poll together with your birth certificate will be sufficient for the passport office to issue you with a passport in the new name.
If the purpose of your deed poll is to alter a particular document it is important to check first with the issuer that a change will be allowed.
Parts of the name you can change
- change your entire name
- add or remove surnames, forenames and middle names
- rearrange your names
- alter spellings of names
Although the possibilities are almost limitless there are some basic conditions that your new name will have to meet.
On the whole these restrictions are to ensure that you will not have problems when changing documents such as your passport.
We will not accept names in the following circumstances.
- If the name is offensive.
- If the name is impossible to pronounce.
- If the name contains numbers, symbols or punctuation marks. Apostrophes are accepted in the context of a name (such as O’Neill) as are hyphens to link two names together (such as Smith-Johnson).
- Recognized accents are accepted, but be aware that the use of accents in the UK is not widespread and confusion can arise if they are inconsistently used.
- The name must contain at least one forename and at least one surname.
- You may not add a title such as Lord or Duke unless you can provide documentary proof of your entitlement to usage. Purchased titles are not accepted.
- Academic titles such as Professor will only be included if documentary proof is provided. Purchased qualifications will not be accepted.
- Amusing names can be accepted, but you should consider carefully if this will have consequences in your personal or professional life.
The conditions listed above are guidelines and the acceptance or refusal of a name is at the discretion of the Registering Officer.
Do I really need to change my name by deed poll?
In theory, you could change your name simply by starting to use a new one. This is called a name change by usage.
The main problem with this method is that many organisations will only change your name if you produce substantial documentary evidence of the name change.
There are times when a deed poll is not needed to change a name.
- After marriage or civil partnership. A woman who wants to change her surname to that of her husband uses her marriage certificate. A civil partner uses their civil partnership certificate to change their surname
- After divorce. A woman can revert to her maiden surname by using her decree absolute
- After being widowed. A woman reverting to her maiden name after being widowed can use her late husband’s death certificate together with her marriage certificate to change her name.
How to apply for a Deed Poll
You will need to fill in our form to apply.
Following checks we will then telephone you to take payment, advise you what you need to bring and arrange your appointment.
Please ensure you bring the appropriate evidence of your identity to your appointment.
If you are not British and live in the United Kingdom, you should check with your Embassy (the passport section in consular services) to ask if your Deed Poll needs to be witnessed by either a solicitor or notary public.
If you are told your Deed Poll needs to be legalised with an Apostille, it will need to be witnessed by a practicing UK solicitor or notary public therefore please do not apply with us.
When changing a child's name, if there are two parents named on the child's birth certificate, both must attend to change the child's name.
Along with the completed application form, you'll need to provide evidence of your identity.
We will ask you to bring along at least one of the following documents for each applicant to your appointment.
- Current valid passport
- Birth certificate showing the name which is to be changed
- Proof of current address dated within the last three months for example: driving licence, bank statement, council tax or utility bill
- Marriage or Civil Partnership certificate
- Decree Absolute or Civil Partnership dissolution
- Late spouse or civil partner’s death certificate
- Court Order or Parental Responsibility Order
- Naturalisation certificate
- Photographic ID
All documents provided must be originals (not photocopies) and will be returned to you after we have completed your Deed Poll.
The change of name deeds we issue are as legally valid as un-enrolled deeds issued by solicitors in England and Wales.
Our change of name deeds are also suitable for enrolling with the Royal Courts of Justice if you wish to do so.
For further information about enrolling a change of name deed visit the UK Justice website.
Cost of a Deed Poll
Payment is non-refundable and non-transferrable if you do not attend your appointment or you fail to provide correct documents at your appointment.
- Monday to Friday 9.30am-3.30pm: £60 (includes one copy of the deed)
- Additional copy of deed poll issued on the day: £12
- Copies purchased at a later date: £20
Exceptions to our guarantee
Our guarantee does not apply in the following situations.
- If you are a foreign national.
- If your Deed Poll is not accepted by a government department, company or organisation outside the United Kingdom (British Embassies and British High Commissions overseas are considered part of the United Kingdom).
- If your Deed Poll for a child is not accepted because the record holder's parental consent requirements have not been met.
- If a record holder is unable to enter your name correctly on their computer system. For example, because your name includes modified Latin characters or your forename or surname is too short.
- If a record holder requires other documentary evidence that your name has been changed for "all purposes." For example, some financial institutions and the General Medical Council may want to see your passport in your new name before they will recognise your new name.
- Furthermore, the UK Identity and Passport Service (and British Embassies and British High Commissions overseas) may require evidence that you are using your new name for all purposes by presenting them with two or three documents in your new name.
- If you are detained under the Mental Health Act and your clinicians decide you do not have sufficient mental capacity to understand the significance and consequences of changing your name.
- If the UK Identity and Passport Service (IPS) deem your new name to be in breach of their inappropriate and temporary name change policy, which states IPS will not issue a passport in a name they consider temporary or contains a political statement, a string of words that will not normally be considered a name, or a trade-marked name.