Guide to Changing your Name on your UK Passport

NameSwitch Guide Series

Changing your name on your UK passport following a name change is particularly important if you’re planning an upcoming holiday, business trip or if you’ve recently got married, a honeymoon.

Of equal importance when a passport is used as a formal piece of identification – it needs to reflect who you are officially known as and is therefore an important document to tackle.

We get many questions about passports and have put together a brief guide to cover the basics around what, how, when and outline some additional tips and options available to either fast track your UK passport application or have your previous name also recognised on your passport.

Non-UK nationals may find our Name Change Guidance for Non-UK Nationals a good starting point to make things official in the eyes of their native governments.

Do I need to Apply for a New Passport?

If you currently hold a British passport, changing your name requires a new one to be issued, although somewhat confusingly, the process for doing this is referred to as a Passport Renewal.

Unfortunately, the Passport Office is the only company that charges people the full price to change their name.

At the time of writing this guide, renewing or replacing a passport costs £72.50, and if you wish to take advantage of the Post Office’s Check and Send service (which is offered by larger post offices), the fee rises to £82.25 and whilst not guaranteed (especially during peak times) often results in your passport being returned sooner as it goes faster through the application verification process.

There are two ways in which you can renew a British passport – online or via post – and you can read a detailed guide to completing your application on the gov.uk website.

Applying Online

In recent years, the Government has invested considerable time and effort in improving the online application process, which means that there are now fewer errors and rejected applications than there were previously.

Please note that you can only renew your passport online via the official UK Government website.

Applying by Post

If you’re unable to complete your application online or prefer to use handwritten methods, you can submit your application by post.

The first thing you’ll need to do is visit your nearest large post office to get a Passport Renewal pack (as smaller ones do not hold stock of the necessary application forms). Once you’ve completed your form, you must send it with your supporting documents, two photos, and your fee using the envelope supplied with the form. Don’t forget to include sufficient postage as the envelopes are not pre-paid. We recommend you include a self-addressed special delivery envelope for safe return of your original documentation which you can get from the post office.

If you have chosen to use Nameswitch to help you with your name change, we will include a passport renewal form in the Print Package that is dispatched to your home address.

What do I do if I need my Passport in a Hurry?

If you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you urgently need to travel or require up to date identification, you may be able to get your new passport using the 1-day Premium service. The service usually results in you receiving your new passport within four hours, although it could be next day if the office is about to close.

To use the 1-Day Premium service, you’ll need to book and pay for an appointment online and attend your nearest passport office with your fully completed form, any supporting documents, and two photos.

Our top tip – whilst this is an additional step and cost, we recommend you pop into your local post office branch with your pre-populated passport renewal application form ahead of your appointment to use their ‘check’ element of the check and send service – the eagle eyed folks at the post office can spot anomalies in seconds and will give you the peace of mind that your trip to the passport office (and most likely time off work) will not be in vain!

There are seven Passport Customer Services Centres in the UK at the following locations:

Belfast

Durham

Glasgow

Liverpool

London

Newport

Peterborough

I’m Getting Married and I Need to Renew My Passport

Most people leave changing their passport until after they are married and will jet off following their nuptials using their original passport and name. Many people choose to start the name change process immediately after the big day, while others wait for a passport renewal date before taking action. Some, who we affectionately refer to as ‘Tina the Inbetweener’, will do a bit of both. You should change your name with government bodies and companies in an order and sequence that makes sense to you personally, however we strongly recommend prioritising at least one formal piece of identification i.e. Drivers Licence or Passport.

It is possible to apply for a Post Dated Passport (PD2) before marriage for those who are keen to jet off on honeymoon with their shiny new passport and name. To find out more please refer to our blog on Honeymooning in your Married Name to determine if a PD2 can be applied for in your particular case.

I’m changing my name after marriage but still want to use my maiden name professionally

We recommend that you change your passport to your married surname on the passport renewal application. You can also include your maiden name (and title, such as Dr) by making a statement in section 8 of the passport application form. This will enable you to have both names officially recognised as a form of ID, however it’s important to note that any travel will need to be booked in your new name. Please refer to the Passport Office guidance paper; section 7.5. for further details. Below is an extract from this Passport Office Guidance:

‘If you have changed your name as a result of getting married, but you want to continue to use your maiden name for professional purposes, you should make a statement in section 8 of the application form and we will add a note on the observation page of your passport showing your maiden name. This will keep an observation in your new passport’

The same approach would apply for a divorcee or for someone who has undergone a gender reassignment - if desired, a statement and observation can also be made using the same method.

We hope that our Guide to Changing your Name on your Passport will make the passport renewal process easier for you to navigate. And, if you’d like to find out more about how Nameswitch can help save you valuable time and effort in notifying other government bodies and companies about your name change, why not take a look at our packages today? NameSwitch has over 600 government bodies and companies name change forms, addresses and guidance mapped on our systems such as HMRC, Land Registry, Council Tax, Banks, Credit Cards, Utility Companies and Pension Providers. Let us help you blitz through your switch from as little as £29.95.