Guide to Changing your Name on your UK Passport

NameSwitch Guide Series

Once you’ve changed your name, it’s really important that you update your passport as soon as you can – especially if you’re planning to go abroad on a holiday, business trip or honeymoon.

Passports are quite often used as a formal piece of identification, so it needs to reflect your official name. It’s a really important document to keep up to date!

Because it’s such a formal document, the process to get it changed can be a bit confusing and we’re often asked questions about how to do it. Hopefully this guide will cover what you need to know…

(If you’re not a UK national, check out our  Name Change Guidance for Non-UK Nationals to help make things official in the eyes of your native government)

Do I need to Apply for a New Passport?

If you currently hold a British passport, changing your name means a new one will have to be issued. It’s a bit confusing because the process for doing this is called ‘Passport Renewal’!

Unfortunately, the Passport Office will charge you the full price to change your name (most companies won’t), so make sure you put a bit aside in your budget for this.

It costs £75.50 to renew or replace your passport online, or £85.00 via the paper form. You have to pay another £9.50 if you want to use the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service too, which you can do at larger post office branches.

Even though it’s a bit more money, it can be a good idea to invest in the Check & Send service for a couple of reasons – firstly, it’s a way to make sure there are no faults on your application and secondly it can often mean your passport is returned sooner because it goes through the application verification process more speedily.

You can renew your passport either online or via the post, and there’s a detailed guide to completing your application on the gov.uk website.

Applying Online

If you want to apply online you can only do it on the official UK Government website.. The UK Government has invested considerable time and money in improving the online process recently to making it a much more straightforward process.

You will need to upload new digital photos with your application. The guidelines are very specific so have a look at what’s accepted and what’s not here.

You’ll also need to send off your old passport together with proof that you’ve changed your name – in other words, your original marriage certificate, civil partnership registration, decree absolute, or deed poll.

It’s worth being aware the decree absolutes don’t always include a maiden name so if that’s the case, you’ll need to send your original marriage certificate or birth certificate with your application too.

And if you’ve used a deed poll to change your name, you’ll also need to include another document in your new name like a bank statement, driving licence or voting card.

At the end of your application, they’ll give you an application reference number and details of the passport office where you need to send your old passport and supporting documents off.

Applying by Post

If you can’t do your application online, or you’d just rather to do it by hand, 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 (smaller Post Office’s don’t have the right forms). Once you’ve completed your form, you need to pop it in the post with your supporting documents, two photos, and your fee using the envelope supplied with the form.

Don’t forget to include enough postage as the envelopes aren’t pre-paid! It’s a good idea to include a self-addressed special delivery envelope (you can get these from the post office) to make sure your original documents come back to you safely.

If you have chosen to use Nameswitch to help you with your name change, we’ll include a passport renewal form in the Print Package that is dispatched to your home address (as well as detailed, step by step guidance to complete your application).

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, there are two options - you could get your new passport using the 1-day Premium service or you could use the 1 week fast-track service.

The Premium service usually means you’ll get your passport at your appointment, and appointments can last up to 30 minutes. 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.

Even though it costs a bit more, it’s well worth popping 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!

Also worth bearing in mind that you can only use Online Premium to renew an adult passport that was issued after 31 December 2001.

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

Belfast

  • Address: Law Society House, 90-106 Victoria Street, Belfast, BT1 3GN
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday; 8 AM to 3 PM on Saturday

Durham

  • Address: Millburngate House, Durham, DH97 1PA
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8.30 AM to 8 PM from Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday

Glasgow

  • Address: 3 Northgate, 96 Milton Street, Cowcaddens, Glasgow, G4 0BT
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8.15 AM to 8 PM from Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday

Liverpool

  • Address: 101 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9BD
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8 AM to 8 PM from Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday

London

  • Address: Globe House, 89 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PN
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 7.45 AM to 9 PM from Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday

Newport

  • Address: Nexus House, Mission Court, Newport, Gwent, NP20 2DW
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday; 8 AM to 3.30 PM on Saturday

Peterborough

  • Address: Aragon Court, Northminster Road, Peterborough, PE1 1QG
  • Telephone: 0300 222 0000
  • Opening Times: 8 AM to 8 PM from Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday

Alternatively, you could use the 1 week fast-track service which costs slightly less than the Premium service but is still faster than the standard process. You’ll need to get a paper application form from a Post Office (you can’t do that bit online), book an appointment online and pay the fee, fill in your application form and gather your documents before your appointment. You can check all the things you need to take with you here: https://www.gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently/1-week-fast-track-service .

Don’t get confused - the 1 week turnaround is from the day of your appointment, not the day you went online to book it!

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

Changing to your married name in your personal life and keeping your maiden name in your professional life is a perfectly legal and valid option when it comes to deciding on what you will be known as after marriage.

But you should change at least one piece of formal ID - either your driving licence or your passport with your new name. You can opt to update both into your new name, if you want to.

If you choose to change your passport to your married name, you can make an observation request in section 8 of your passport renewal application form to have it noted that you use your maiden name professionally. It’s worth being aware, though, that you will not be able to travel in your ‘observed’ name as it is for identification and not border control purposes. It’s important to think about whether you should align your passport name (maiden or new) with your NHS record so that they align with any vaccination records that would be needed when you travel overseas – so consider whether it’s best to stick or twist on both of these based on your own circumstances.

The same approach would apply for a divorcee or if you’ve undergone a gender reassignment - if you want it to, 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 700 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 £45.95.