Article reference: UK-IA-CHN17

Changing your name on your British passport

If you have changed your legal name by deed poll or by statutory declaration, you will need to update your passport for your new name. This involves cancelling your old passport and applying for a new one from the UK Identity & Passport Service (or ‘passport office’).

It is essential to make sure your passport reflects any changes you have made to your legal name. You must also make sure the name on your passport matches the name in which any travel is booked. Discrepancies can cause problems with travel companies and officials in other countries, so you will need to plan your arrangements around your documents.

Additionally, other institutions may require your passport as evidence that you have changed your name.

The UK Identity & Passport Service requires documentary evidence to confirm the link between your former name and your new name. In some circumstances, a deed of change of name (known as a deed poll) is sufficient. In other situations, a deed poll is not required because another type of certificate is sufficient evidence.

Passport changes without a deed poll

In the following circumstances a deed poll is not required to change the name on your passport.

Following marriage or civil partnership

If you have recently married and would like to take your husband or wife’s surname, the passport office will accept your marriage certificate as documentary evidence of your change of legal name.

For your passport, a marriage certificate is also sufficient evidence to support the change to a double-barrelled surname (using both spouses’ surnames, e.g. Evans-Jones or unhyphenated Evans Jones). However non-government bodies, particularly financial institutions, will often require a deed poll to amend their records to a double-barrelled surname.

Applications to change the name on your passport ahead of a marriage or civil partnership can be processed by the passport office up to 3 months before the ceremony. However, your new passport will be post-dated, meaning you cannot use it before the day of the ceremony. If you require a visa, you will need to check with the consulate of the country you are visiting because some countries will not issue visas for post-dated passports.

On divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership

In order to revert your passport to your former name in the event of divorce, you simply need to apply for a new passport, enclosing your decree absolute certificate in the application.

Although your name will be changed on your passport, you may still need to complete a deed of change of name as evidence of your name change for the purposes of other institutional records, such a bank details. You should contact each institution separately to find out what documentary evidence they require in order to update their records.

Passport changes requiring a deed poll

The UK Identity & Passport Service requires a deed poll document as evidence of your change of name in the following circumstances:

On change of name by deed poll

Provided it is not done for fraudulent purposes, UK law enables a person to change any or all of their names without requiring permission from any authority and without any formal event (e.g. marriage) taking place.

More information can be found in this series of articles. If you take this route, the passport office will require the original or a certified copy of the original document in order to issue a new passport.

Separation

Where divorce or dissolution has not taken place, but you wish to return to the name you used prior to getting married or entering into a civil partnership, you will need to first change your name by deed poll and then apply for a new passport with that document enclosed.

First passport in different name to birth certificate

If you apply for your first passport under the name by which you are known (and want on your passport), but that name is different to the one on your birth certificate, you should complete a deed of change of name as evidence of your name.

It doesn’t matter if you are unsure when or why your names changed. All you need to do is complete the document with the name on your birth certificate down as your current name, and the name you are known by as your new name. This will provide evidence that the name you are known by is your new legal name. The document will then be sufficient evidence to support a passport application in that name.

Child’s passport

The passport office requires a deed poll document to support a change of name on a child’s passport. Before this can be officiated, you will need the consent of everyone with ‘parental responsibility’ for the child. For help understanding what this involves, we recommend reading our article about changing a child's name.

Further information and useful documents

This is one of a series of articles about changing your name. Next, you might be interested in reading about passport applications in your new name.

We provide a free deed poll template that allows you to change your name without involving any third party solicitors or companies. You can download the document template here.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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