How to change your title
You do not need a deed poll to change your title. There is virtually no use for a change of title deed because:
- to use any social title (i.e. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms) there is no need for any documentary evidence that you have changed title
- to use any other sort of title, you will need to acquire it legitimately — there is no legal basis for changing your title in the same way as your name
Social titles (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, and Mx)
If you want to change your title to Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, or Mx you simply need to inform organisations about your new title. Anyone can use these titles (provided it is not for some fraudulent purpose) and you don’t need to show any kind of evidence that you are using it.
This is because social titles are not legally considered part of your name, and they are not used for identity purposes, so the recognition of your title is just a matter of courtesy. The titles Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Mx are not listed in passports at all.
Transsexuals without a Gender Recognition Certificate are free to use titles of the opposite gender, but bear in mind that you should not deceive anybody as to your birth gender for financial gain — this would be considered fraud. For more information see our advice for transsexuals.
About the title Mx
Mx is a gender-neutral title used by people who do not identify themselves as male or female, and is an alternative to Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms.
Mx has evolved as a title in a similar way that the title Ms started to be used by women who didn’t want to identify themselves as married or not married. In the same way, Mx meets a need for people who don’t feel comfortable using a gender-specific title. Mx isn’t the only gender-neutral title used, but it’s the most common.
As with other social titles, you don’t need a deed poll to start using Mx. However, Mx is still relatively new, and many organisations and government bodies won’t recognise it.
Titles of nobility
Titles of (British) nobility are different — they are considered part of your name and identity. If you have a title of nobility and you use it as part of your name, HM Passport Office will include it in your passport. This applies to —
- all members of the House of Lords (including archbishops and bishops), their wives and families
- holders of knighthoods and baronetcies and their wives
- Dames of the Realm
All other titles are not considered part of your name, although generally HM Passport Office will include it as an observation, provided you submit some sort of documentary evidence. HM Passport Office will make an observation for:
- certain professional titles such as Doctor, Judge, Professor, MP, MEP, QC
- Justice of the Peace
- clerical titles, such as Reverend, Sister
- officers of the armed services (active or retired)
- honours and military decorations, such as OBE, VC
- Manorial titles (i.e. Lord of the Manor) and Scottish Lairds
- Scottish feudal baronies (if recognised by the Lord Lyon, or Burke’s Peerage)
- foreign titles of nobility
- engineers who hold the qualification Eur Ing (European Engineer)
HM Passport Office will not make an observation for professional or academic qualifications such as BA, MA etc. — the only exceptions to this being lawyers appointed Queen’s Counsel and engineers with the qualification Eur Ing (European Engineer).
Observations are listed on a separate page in the passport — not on the personal details page — and will generally say something like:
THE HOLDER IS PROFESSOR JOHN SMITH OBE
THE HOLDER IS THE LORD OF THE MANOR OF ...
There is no legal basis for changing your title if you haven’t acquired it legitimately — to Lord, or Sir, for example. We do not issue change of title deeds, because no-one is obliged to recognise your title, and a change of title deed is unlikely to make any difference.
It is possible to change your first forename to something like Lord or Sir, to give the impression that you hold that title, provided it is not for a fraudulent purpose. However you should think twice before doing this — you will find it difficult to get official bodies to accept the change of name. For more information, see our advice about presumed titles on passport applications.