Changing your name

How to change your name

Under English common law, a person may take a new surname, without drawing up any formal record. However, if such action is undertaken for the purpose of fraud or avoidance of obligation, etc there would be legal implications.

The name changes through common usage.

If you need to provide evidence of a change of name, to obtain a passport for example, then you need to obtain legal advice from a solicitor or Citizens Advice.

It is traditional for a woman to take on her husband's surname on marriage but it is not automatic and is not a legal requirement for her to do so. 

If either party changes their surname to their partner's name following marriage or the formation of a civil partnership it is done through common usage.  Certain organisations will ask for a copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate to amend their records.

Change of name by deed poll

Please visit the Government's website for information on changing your name by deed poll.

When researching Family History for more information on change of name please use the National Archives website.


Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Use our contact us form

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service