Telling organisations about your name change
Updating your documents and records to be in your new name
Once you’ve signed your (or your child’s) deed poll, you’ll need to update official documents and records to be in the new name, using the deed poll as proof. Your legal name is simply the name you’re generally called and known by — so this is an important part of the process.
Apart from your driving licence (and for non-EEA nationals, your Biometric Residence Permit), there isn’t a legal requirement to update your documents and records to be in your new name. Neither is there any time limit you’ve got to update things within. However, if you don’t update your records (or at least most of them), your change of name might not be considered a genuine (legal) change of name.
If you’ve got a driving licence (including provisional licences), you’re legally required to keep it up-to-date, and update it “forthwith” if you change your name (under section 99(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 or article 15(6) of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981). It’s free to renew it in your name. If you don’t do this, you may be fined up to £ 1,000. While you send your driving licence off to be updated, though, you can still drive (it’s not a legal requirement to have it with you while driving).
If you hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you must renew it in your new name within 3 months of changing your name, or else you may be fined up to £ 1,000, or have your stay shortened.
(This doesn’t apply to British, Irish, EEA, or Swiss nationals living in the U.K.)
It’s not a legal requirement to renew your passport in your new name straightaway. If you hold a valid passport, it’ll stay a valid travel document until it runs out, and you can use it to travel (in the old name) if you wish. You would just need to make sure that any flights / hotel bookings / visas etc. that you arrange are each in the same name as on your passport — otherwise you may have difficulty going through border control.
When you do come to renew your passport, though, you must of course declare your new name at that point. If you have any time left on your old passport, HM Passport Office will carry it over to the new passport, up to a maximum of 9 months.
What order to update your documents and records
Generally speaking, there isn’t a set order to update your documents and records into your new name.
However there are a few things where the order does matter:
To apply for a passport in your new name, you need to update one other official document / record first, to show that you mean to use your new name “for all purposes” (and thus it’s a genuine change of name).
Acceptable “use of name” evidence includes —
- tax record (e.g. letter from HMRC, Child Benefit Office, or other tax authority)
- employment record (e.g. payslip or official letter from employer)
- educational record (e.g. school report)
- letter from central, regional, or local government department (e.g. council tax bill)
- driving licence (U.K. or overseas)
- national identity card (or equivalent)
- visa or residence permit
- medical / health card
- voting card
- bank statement (U.K. applications only)
- baptismal / confirmation certificate
(You don’t need to send this use of name evidence if you’re just using your marriage / civil partnership certificate as proof of your change of name, or if you’re transgender and you’ve got a Gender Recognition Certificate in your new name.)
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
If you hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you should ideally change your documents in this order:
- your passport / national identity card / non-U.K. travel document (unless an exception applies)
- your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
- Home Office travel documents, if you hold one (Convention Travel Document / Stateless Person’s Travel Document / Certificate of Travel)
- everything else
Land / property title registration
If you own land or property you’ll need to evidence of identity in your new name and in your old name.
If your land / property is in England & Wales, your main evidence of identity needs to be in your new name, but you’ll also need to have evidence in your old name.
Thus it makes sense to update your driving licence / passport (if you have one) before updating your details with HM Land Registry, although if you’re relying on your driving licence, it’s a good idea to make a certified copy of your old licence before sending it off to be updated.
In any case, you can use certified copies in place of any original documents you want to show.
As evidence of identity in your new name, you can use either —
One document from list A:
- currently valid passport (issued by any country)
- current U.K. / Isle of Man / Channel Islands / E.U. photocard driving licence (not a provisional licence)
- current U.K. biometric residence permit (ID card)
Two (different*) documents from list B:
- credit card bearing the Mastercard or Visa logo, an American Express or Diners Club card, or a debit or multi-function card bearing the Maestro or Delta logo which was issued in the U.K. and is supported by an original account statement less than three months old †
- utility bill less than three months old †
- council tax bill for the current year
- council rent book showing the rent paid for the last three months
- mortgage statement for the mortgage accounting year just ended †
- current firearm or shotgun certificate
* You must bring two different types of document — e.g. a credit card and utility bill would be fine, but not two utility bills. † These must be postal statements; they cannot be statements sent electronically.
As evidence of identity in your old name, you can use one of the following —
- a valid / expired / cancelled passport (issued by any country)
- a U.K. / Isle of Man / Channel Islands / E.U. photocard driving licence (not a provisional licence)
- a utility bill less than three months old
If you want to use your driving licence as evidence in your old name and your new name, you’ll need to make a certified copy of it before you update it. This doesn’t apply to your passport, because you’ll normally get your old passport back after you’ve updated it.