Frequently Asked Questions
Will my name change instantly after using this service?No. Our smart automation will populate your personalised letters, forms and instructions ready for download. It’s then over to you to sign & send on to the companies, in whichever order makes sense to you. The time it takes to process a name change request depends on the individual company and sometimes the season – IE passports will take longer during the summer months. You can only request the change once you have your marriage certificate/decree absolute/deed poll.
Can men use this service too?Yes of course! Whilst women tend to use it more, the Nameswitch.co.uk service can be used by men too. Many couples choose to combine their names after marriage to become "double-barrelled", and both parties need to notify companies and government bodies of their change in name. Some men use NameSwitch after a deed poll and/or gender reassignment. See our blog for greater insight into name changing from a man's perspective.
Can I use this service after gender reassignment?Absolutely. Our service is there to help fast track to a new identity after gender reassignment. We offer a special discount for this community. Please get in touch with us [email protected] to find out more.
Can same sex couples use this service?Yes of course! Either spouse is entitled to take their other half's surname and can use their marriage certificate as supporting evidence when they send of their name change requests. Many gay couples choose to combine their names after marriage to become "double-barrelled" - some create a totally new name that is personal to them and their heritage - this is known as 'Meshing'. Meshing names will require a deed poll. Both parties then will need to notify companies and government bodies of their change in name - NameSwitch is ready and waiting to help. For more information on deed poll please read our blog post.
Can I change my name and address at the same time?Our service focusses on name changing and not on changing address - the processes and forms used by many companies differ in most instances - Changing address is often a quicker affair and can in many cases be done over the phone/online without providing proof of deeds/tenancy agreements.
We advise you to change your address first and then change your name after. There are some exceptions to the above guidance where you can tackle both changes in one hit. The following companies can accept both name and address change requests via their forms: Companies House, Driving Licence, DVLA Vehicle Registration, HMRC & Passport.
NameSwitch letters and forms are not dated so you may send them off in the sequence and timing that makes most sense to your particular situation.
Do I need a Deed Poll?In general, if you are taking a partners name after marriage or reverting to a maiden-name after divorce, it is not necessary to change your name officially by deed poll. Check out our blog post as a guide to help you determine if a deed poll is required in your particular situation.
Do you offer a Deed Poll service?Yes! Due to popular customer demand we are delighted to be able to offer a Deed Poll Service under the NameSwitch Brand. NameSwitch Deed Poll Services was established in 2020 and has been developed with the guidance of our legal expert, Nicola Russell. To find out more about our Deed Poll Packages, please click here: https://www.nameswitch.co.uk/deedpoll
How long is a Gift Card valid for?eGift Cards can be redeemed up to 12 months after the purchase date - should you need it for longer we will be happy to assist. Please email us at [email protected]
I have lost my decree absolute/ how do I get a certified copy of my decree absolute?Sometimes it's handy to have more than one certified copy if you are in a hurry to change your name. You can apply to the court directly that dealt with your divorce and request a certified copy. There is normally a charge of £45 for this service. For more information click here If you are not sure which court granted your divorce you can request a national search via the central family court. The cost is normally £65. For more information click here
I have lost my original marriage certificate/ how do I get a an official copy of my marriage certificate?The General Register Office (GRO) holds a central copy of all registrations for England and Wales. They offer an online ordering service which you can access by clicking: here Copies issued by the GRO are accepted by all government bodies including The Passport Office and The DVLA. For marriages registered within the last 18 months, applications should be made to the Register Office in the district where the marriage took place.
How can I obtain 'certified' copy of a document?Having multiple copies of an original or certified document (marriage certificate/decree absolute/ deed poll/gender reassignment) will help to speed up the name changing process by enabling you to send off multiple requests with documentary evidence in parallel. Take one (or several) photocopied document/s together with the original and ask the person to certify the copy by:
1) writing 'Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me' on the document
2) signing and dating it
3) printing their name under the signature
4) adding their occupation, address and telephone number
There are a number of professionals who are able to certify your documentation including a bank or building society official, dentist, solicitor or teacher. They must not be related to you or live with you. The person certifying the document may charge you a fee. For more information click here
Do you offer a Document Certification Service?Due to some recent staff changes we have had to temporarily suspend our Documentation Certification Service. Please refer to our FAQ (above) for guidance on how & who can certify a document for you. Please note that a document certification is not the same as a document legalisation. You can request a document be legalised (often required by foreign embassies) via the legalisation office: https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised This government run service charges £30 + postage.
I got married abroad, do I need to have a certified translation of my marriage certificate?Yes. You will need to certify a translation of a document that's not written in English or Welsh by an authorised translator. We recommend obtaining 2-3 copies to enable multiple change requests to be sent off in parallel. Ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation:
1) that it's a 'true and accurate translation of the original document'
2) the date of the translation
3) the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company
Why are some fields optional on the main form?We recognise that sometimes you don't have all your information to hand. Fishing out specific account details or identification numbers sometimes takes a little time or you may prefer not to provide that level of detail. You will always have the option to complete this manually at the point of signing.
Why don't you provide many Government forms?.GOV.UK is an online portal driving the nation to go more digital. Relevant digital forms such as British Passport MUST be completed and submitted directly on the relevant .GOV website or via the paper Passport Renewal application form. Driving Licence applications must be made using the DVLA paper D1 form. We will provide you with tips on how to fill them in, links together with advice on how to request paper copies.
If you opt for the print package, you will receive (if selected) paper application forms for British Passport and Driving Licence.
The following Governmental/Offcialdom forms do not need to be submitted digitally (and will be included in your pack if selected): HMRC, Land Registry, Company Director, Passports For Newly Weds (P2 form used before marriage) Check out our guides for further tips on Drivers Licence and Passport application processes
Why have I not received a form for every company I have selected?If you review your 'Instructions, read me first' document, you will find that all of the companies selected are covered. Not every company requires a form/letter to process a name change request. Some may for example accept a request via email or online chat. Please get in touch if for any reason a company has not been covered and we will get our researchers onto it straight away.
Can I edit my letters?Our system has been built to uniquely complete multiple forms and letters into one same format: PDF. Currently it is not possible to provide editable versions or word documents however those with PDF writers may be able to add (but not remove) copy on the PDF letters provided.
I don't have a scanner how do I make digital copies of my paperwork?If you have a smart phone there are a number of neat apps that you can download such as Tiny Scanner, this turns your photo's straight into PDF's. Alternatively, taking a photo straight from your phone and sending it to a computer will allow you to rename and in most cases save it into a compatible format as as a JPEG, TIF or PDF.
I don't have a printerNo printer, no problem! Please select the Print Package and we will take care of it.
Can you post my Print Package to my work address?As a safety measure to protect the level of sensitive information included, we always send packages recorded to the users registered home address. If not delivered they are held in the Royal Mail postal system and a redelivery or collection can be arranged for a time that is more convenient to you.
We are unable to send recorded post to a workplace where the risk of being misplaced is regrettably increased.
You're missing a companyWith over 700 companies and government bodies mapped onto our systems we have all the key life categories and companies covered.
Whilst we continuously research and add new companies, we would never cover every company in the UK. For example, we don’t cover store/loyalty cards as there are literally thousands of them, but we do offer advice on this guide: https://www.nameswitch.co.uk/guide/loyalty-cards-name-change
Every NameSwitch profile includes a generic cover letter with your old and new details that you can print off and send to any additional companies that are not on our system. There’s also a handy personalised email copy provided in your accompanying instructions document that you can use for companies who accept a name change request electronically.
Can I use NameSwitch BEFORE my wedding/divorce/gender reassignment?Yes! NameSwitch allows you to set an 'effective date' in the future. Ideal for the super organised who wants everything set to go straight after D-Day! PLEASE NOTE that companies will need to receive official documentation (i.e. Marriage Certificate/Decree Absolute/Deed Poll) to affect the name change
Got a question that's not listed here?Please email us at [email protected] or click to chat and we will be happy to help you.
Why am I not being asked to provide account information for every company I have selected?This is normal - you will only be asked for additional information where it is required to be entered into a form or letter. Many banks, for example, will need to see you in person - this will be covered in your 'instructions read me first' document. The system will never ask you for any personal information if it is not required.
Can I add additional companies after I check out?You can go through your NameSwitch order at a pace and sequence that makes sense to you.
If you use the same computer/device your entries will be saved on your cache. For it to be saved on our system you will need to review and accept our terms of service - your profile will be saved and you can then log back in and complete your order at your convenience.
If you think of other companies after you have checked out, simply email: [email protected] and we can update and regenerate your documents for you.
How long does it take companies to process my name change requests?How long it takes depends on each company’s policies and peak seasons. It also depends on how many original copies you need to send in parallel. On average, with 2-3 original copies, a full name switch (i.e. banks cards, driving licence, passports returned) can take 4-6 weeks. We recommend that requests are planned in batches. Given the current situation, please expect a slight delay in companies ability to process your name change requests. You may find this order guidance helpful: https://www.nameswitch.co.uk/order-guidance
What is the minimum age to change my name via Deed Poll?Legally you must be 16 years of age or more to execute your own Deed Poll in the United Kingdom and over 18 years old in Northern Ireland.
Someone with parental responsibility can only override your wishes in exceptional circumstances and not just because they don’t agree with your choice. If, however, there is a court order in force forbidding you from changing your name, you'll have to wait until you are 18 years old.
In general, children under the age of 16 years (in the UK) and under the age of 18 years (in Northern Ireland) can have their name changed by anyone with parental responsibility for the child, provided everyone with parental responsibility agrees.
NameSwitch does not currently offer a Deed Poll service for children under the age of 18 (in either the UK or Northern Ireland). This is in line with our general terms & conditions of use.
Can I create my own Deed Poll?Yes, absolutely you are able to create your own Deed Poll which will be accepted by most companies and Government bodies. If you live in the UK, you may also contact a local solicitor to draw this up for you. Please refer to the guidance via Gov.uk to determine which is the best route for you: https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll/make-an-adult-deed-poll
If you live in Northern Ireland, you may also apply directly to the General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI). A fee will be payable of £35 plus £15 for a certificate to be issued. Deed Polls are also accepted in Northern Ireland. Please refer to the guidance via NIDirect to determine which is the best route for you: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/recording-change-name
Is a Deed Poll accepted in Northern Ireland?Yes, it is. If you live in Northern Ireland, you also have the choice to apply directly to the General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI):
A fee will be payable of £35 plus £15 for a certificate to be issued. Deed Polls are also accepted in Northern Ireland. Please refer to the guidance via NIDirect to determine which is the best route for you: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/recording-change-name
How many Original Deed Polls will I receive?Depending on your chosen package, NameSwitch will generate 2-4 x high quality Deed Polls, printed on specially designed A4 150GSM, foiled and embossed paper. Each one will need to be executed (i.e. signed and dated by yourself and a witness) to become valid for use and deemed to be an original copy. Adult Deed Polls start with 2 copies and there is the option to add-on additional original copies at checkout.
We recommend having 3-4 original copies to enable multiple name change requests to be sent off in parallel.
What’s the difference between a Change effective date and a Deed Poll execution date?When you complete your Deed Poll application with us, your ‘change effective date’ can be a date of your choosing - In the past, present or *near future. Many people like to align the effective date of their Deed Poll to a memorable date. Brides who make a maiden name a middle name, for example, often opt to use their wedding date as a change effective date.
As your witness must actually witness you signing your Deed Poll and then sign it themselves, the ‘execution date’ is the date that you and your witness sign the Deed Poll.
Please note, companies can not accept any name change requests if either the 'change effective date' or 'execution date' is in the future.
Who can witness my Deed Poll?It is best practice to have a UK national witness you signing (executing) your Deed Poll.
- They should be over 18, and have known you for several years
- They should not be related to you, nor live at the same address as you
- They should have an active or retired occupation
- They do not need to be a solicitor, doctor or public sector official.
Are there any restrictions to what I can call myself?There is no UK law or list which specifically says what names you are or aren’t allowed to call yourself. However, some names may be illegal, due to other laws. Names which will likely be deemed illegal:
- Any name which promotes racist or religious hatred
- Any name which promotes other criminal activities (e.g. murder)
- Any name which could be blasphemous (e.g. “God”) may be illegal. Note that Jesus or Mohammad are commonly used first names and are legal
- Any name which is also a trademark would not be illegal in itself. However, depending on your actions, you may end up infringing that trademark. E.g. if you called yourself “Burger King” and started selling fast food, you would infringe Burger King’s trademark
- You cannot change your name for any criminal purpose (e.g. fraud)—no matter what the name.
- Any name which contains punctuation (other than apostrophes and hyphens or diacritical marks) is not deemed to be illegal, but you will have difficulties getting people to enter your name in their computer systems. HM Passport Office will only allow apostrophes and hyphens on your passport, for example
- A first name such as “Lord” or “Sir”, which gives the impression that you have a title, is not illegal. However, you cannot really change your title by Deed Poll—your “title” would not be officially or widely recognised, and you would actually be “Mr Lord Doe” (for example)
- Any name which is vulgar or offensive may not be illegal (unless it promotes crime or racist / religious hatred), however it is unlikely to be widely accepted, e.g. on your passport
- There is no legal requirement to have two (or more) names, and some people do legally have one name only (Madonna). However, you may find that your name is entered into computer systems as “X Doe” or “No Name Doe”, which may not be what you wanted
- Any name which is unpronounceable, excessively long, or difficult to spell is not illegal, but may be impractical in everyday use.
What happens if I make a mistake on my Deed Poll application form?It’s really important that you review and check your entries before you proceed to payment. If you spot any typos or errors, please ensure you edit your entries.
Once Deed Polls are printed and dispatched by us, NameSwitch reserves the right to charge an additional £24.95-£30.00 (depending on your chosen Deed Poll Package) to cover the cost of a re-print and first class recorded dispatch.
If any error is caused by our systems, we will of course assume the cost and issue an immediate replacement. Please get in touch with [email protected] if you have any issues that need to be addressed.
Do I need a Deed Poll to change my title?You can change your title (i.e. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Mx etc.) at any time, and you do not need a Deed Poll.
If you do change your title as well as a first/middle/surname, it will be noted and included in your Deed Poll, generated by NameSwitch and in the accompanying letters to ensure that any company you notify of your name change will address you with the correct name and title moving forward.
Note, you cannot use a Deed Poll to change your title to “Lord” or any other such title. A title will only be officially recognised if you’re granted the title via official means (i.e. from the Queen).
Do I need to register my Deed Poll with the Royal Courts of Justice?You are entitled to register your Deed Poll and put your name on record with the Royal Courts of Justice. There is a fee of £36 payable if you choose to go down this route. For more information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll/enrol-a-deed-poll-with-the-courts
Please note, it is not a legal requirement (nor common practice) to register your Deed Poll. Doing so will not affect the legal status of your name in any way. Government bodies such as HM Passport Office do not require you to register your Deed Poll.
Deed Poll advice for transgender peopleIf you’re transgender and you want to change your name, you’ll need to change your name by Deed Poll.
If your change of name is stated on your Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or a new birth certificate (for which a GRC is a prerequisite), then this will also prove your change of name, but you’ll generally need to change your name by Deed Poll first.
If you’re non-binary and you want to change your name, you’ll also need to change your name by Deed Poll. Please bear in mind that UK law currently only recognises two legal genders (male and female). However, you have the option to request your title be recognised as Mx. Not all companies processes/policies accept this but many are starting to.
If you haven’t been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)If you haven’t been issued with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) then you’ll need to change your name by Deed Poll. It is quite common for a Deed Poll to be used, prior to applying for a GRC, as it is a key and symbolic sign that you are living in a new gender.
A Deed Poll will be enough to change your name in your passport. However, if you want your passport to be in your new gender as well, HM Passport Office will need to see:
- Your Deed Poll, showing that you’ve changed your name to one that’s associated with your new gender
- Evidence showing that your change of gender is “likely to be permanent”. This can be a report from a medical practitioner (such as your consultant or GP), or a chartered psychologist practicing in the field of gender dysphoria.
If you want to change your title to one of the opposite gender, for example from Mr to Mrs/Miss or vice versa, you wouldn’t normally need a Deed Poll. In general, you’re free to use any social title, and — assuming the new title is part of a change of gender — you simply need to inform record holders of the new title. The important matter for most organisations is your change of gender. HM Passport Office for example doesn’t list social titles in passports at all — it isn’t considered to be a legal part of your name.
We offer a special discount for the transgender community. Please get in touch with us [email protected] to find out more.
Can I change my name by Deed Poll if I am a non-UK National?
IF YOU RESIDE IN THE UKYou can use a Deed Poll to update your documents and records in the UK, such as your driving licence and your tax records, but to update your documents in your country of origin, you’ll have to follow your own country's procedure.
Before applying for a Deed Poll, you should check with your Embassy or High Commission/Consulate in the UK to determine:
- If your country of origin will accept your change of name
- If they’ll issue you a new passport (or amend your existing passport) to show your new name
- What the procedure is for changing your name in your country of origin, and — if they’ll accept a change of name by Deed Poll — whether there are any special requirements for a Deed Poll to be acceptable, for example, that your Deed Poll needs to be witnessed by a solicitor, or needs to legalised.
PEOPLE WITH DUAL NATIONALITYIf you are a British national and you hold (or you are seeking to hold) nationality of another country, you should check the rules in that country to see whether your Deed Poll will be acceptable, and what special requirements there may be. If you are resident in the UK and you also need to apply for a passport in the other nationality, please contact your Consulate/Embassy.
IF YOU ARE AN IMMIGRANT TO THE UKUK Visas & Immigration (a division of the Home Office) will accept a Deed Poll as evidence of a change of name, though if you want to keep your existing nationality you should follow the above advice.
If you are claiming asylum or you have already been granted asylum (and you’re a refugee), UK Visas & Immigration will accept a deed poll (as well as other forms of evidence, such as a marriage certificate or decree absolute) when you apply for asylum. The more documentation you can provide to verify your identity, the better.