Name Changes, What Documents Are Required?

If you have or are thinking of changing your name recently, whether that is through marriage or a civil partnership, or you have changed your name via deed poll you will need to think about updating your passport. Many travellers are aware that if your legal name does not match your passport you may not be able to travel. This has resulted in customers being refused boarding at airports and ports as well as missed holidays and a loss of time, money and at a total inconvenience to you.

Ensuring you have a valid and up to date passport is vital for travel, and to receive that valid passport you must ensure you have all of the necessary supporting documents along with your correct and complete application.

There are different ways a person can change their name and which supporting documents you require depend on how you change your name. We have a full and complete guide on what you will need as which Urgent Services you can use, as well as changes that do not require a new passport.




Urgent services


1-Day Premium

If you are travelling within the next 4 weeks or you need to apply or renew your passport and you would like to use the urgent services please check which services you can use before you book an urgent passport appointment.

You can apply to use the 1-day Premium Service for:

• After marriage
• After a Civil Partnership


1-Week Fast-Track

You can apply to use the 1-Week Fast-Track Service for:

• By Deed Poll
• Before marriage
• After marriage
• Before a Civil Partnership
• After a Civil Partnership
• Gender change
• Divorce or returning to a previous surname
• Titles and small changes to forenames

Types of name changes



By Deed poll

A Deed Poll is a legal document, not to be confused with a certificate. It is a form of legal contract but it differs from legal contracts between two or more parties in that it only concerns one person (and it is only signed by that person in the presence of a witness). A Deed Poll legally binds the person who signs it to a particular course of action as detailed on the Deed Poll document. The legal name for a deed that has been drawn up to change someone's name is a Deed of Change of Name but more commonly known as a Deed Poll.

When creating your Deed Poll you must declare the following:

• I am abandoning my previous name.
• I will use my new name at all times.
• I require all persons to address me by my new name only.

Important: As this is a change by Deed Poll you must also supply a document that shows you using your new name. These can include:

• Letter from a local council or government department (such as HMRC Letter or Council Tax Bill)
• Bank statement
• Driving licence
• Baptism or confirmation certificate


Once a person has created their Deed Poll their name has legally been changed and they then need to change their name on all relevant documents and with all relevant agencies i.e. with their bank, their driving licence and their passport. You are able to use your passport in your previous name until your passport expires for all name changes.

Please note:

If you are creating your own Deed Poll you will need to print this off as proof of your name change. We recommend using a good quality paper or parchment paper and printing several copies to send to all relevant agencies.




Before Marriage



You may not be aware but you can actually change the name on your passport before you get married. Many couples want to travel together on their honeymoon as Mr and Mrs Jones and do not want to wait until after their wedding to make these changes.

You can apply for a passport in your new name up to 3 months before your marriage, your old passport will be cancelled and you will no longer be able to use this for travel, please bare this in mind if you are due to travel before your ceremony.

Your new passport will be 'post-dated' this means you cannot use it before the ceremony. Some countries will not issue visas for post-dated passports. You can check with the country's embassy or consulate. You must send a passports for newlyweds and civil partners form with your application. This must be signed by the religious minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony.

Please note:

This option is only suitable if you do not need to travel before your ceremony, if you require your passport for travel before your ceremony then please wait until after your ceremony to make any name changes on your passport.




After Marriage



To change your surname to that of your husband or wife, you do not need a Deed Poll. You can simply send off your marriage certificate along with a covering letter, explaining that you wish to have your surname changed to that of your husband or wife, to all departments which need to update their records of you.

This will be accepted by all government bodies and organisations as a legal entitlement to a change of name. Certain official authorities will require sight of an original marriage certificate, for example the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). Therefore, it is advisable to obtain several marriage certificates on the wedding day so that organisations can be notified of your name change quickly and conveniently.

Please note:

You are unable to simply send your marriage certificate and a cover letter to HM Passport Office. You will need to fill in a complete and correct application form as well as your marriage certificate and any other relevant supporting documents to renew your passport.

Important: Changes of name by marriage or civil partnership do not require additional documents to show you using your new name. This is due to the fact that HM Passport Office is part of the General Registry Office, therefore they are able to verify documents such as Marriage Certificates faster, which cannot be done with Deed Poll confirmations.




Before Civil Partnership



Civil Partnerships are given all the same requirements as a Marriage so you can apply for a passport in your new name up to 3 months before your marriage, your old passport will be cancelled and you will no longer be able to use this for travel, please bare this in mind if you are due to travel before your ceremony.

Your new passport will be 'post-dated' this means you cannot use it before the ceremony. Some countries will not issue visas for post-dated passports so please check this before you travel. You can check with the country's embassy or consulate. You must send a passports for newlyweds and civil partners form with your application.. This must be signed by the religious minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony.

Please note:

As stated above please do not use this option if you require your passport for travel before your ceremony. However, if your passport is due to expire before your ceremony then you can change your name when you renew your passport, the same applies if your passport has been lost or stolen. For this you will also need to report your passport as lost or stolen online prior to sending off your application or attending an appointment.




After Civil Partnership



Civil partnerships in the United Kingdom are a form of civil union granted under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, allowing same-sex couples to obtain essentially the same rights and responsibilities as civil marriage. Although Civil Partnerships were originally designed as a temporary stop gap until same-sex marriage was allowed they are extremely popular and as of very recently they are now available as an alternative to marriage for couples of all sexes.

Informing HM Passport Office of a name change following a Civil Partnership is done in much the same way as if you were married. You are still able to use your passport in your current name until it runs out, and when you wish to renew your passport simply complete an application form and send a copy of your Civil Partnership certificate along with any other supporting documents.

Please note:

HM Passport Offices do not accept any photocopies of any supporting documents. All documents sent in with your application must be the original, failure to do so may result in you needing to complete a new application at an additional cost.

Important: Changes of name by marriage or civil partnership do not require additional documents to show you using your new name. This is due to the fact that HM Passport Office is part of the General Registry Office, therefore they are able to verify documents such as Marriage Certificates faster, which cannot be done with Deed Poll confirmations.




Divorce or returning to a previous surname



If you are divorced you are wish to return to a previous surname this can done when you apply for or renew your passport. For this you will need the following:

• A document that shows you're using your new name (for example a payslip, or a letter from your local council)
• Your decree absolute or final order showing both names
• A statement signed by you saying you've gone back to a previous surname (for example your maiden name) 'for all purposes' - that is, you will not use your married or civil partnership name at all

• A marriage or civil partnership certificate showing both names - if you do not have it you can order a copy
• Your birth certificate

Please note:

As stated above all documents must be originals. HM Passport Office will reject applications that do not have the correct supporting documents.




Gender change



If you have changed your gender it is important to remember your passport will no longer be valid. To apply for or renew your passport you will need one of the following:

• A new birth or adoption certificate showing your acquired gender
• A Gender Recognition Certificate
• A letter from your doctor or medical consultant confirming your change of gender is likely to be permanent

If you're sending a letter from your doctor or medical consultant and you're changing your name, you'll also need to supply both of the following:

• Evidence of your change of name (such as a deed poll)
• Evidence that you're using your new name (for example a payslip, or a letter from your local council)




Titles and small changes to forenames

Small changes you can do include:

• Change the order of your forenames
• Change the spelling of your name slightly - for example, Jane to Jayne
• Remove middle names

Fill in and sign your passport application using the name you want to see printed on your passport.

You must also supply a document that shows you using your new name. These can include:

• Letter from a local council or government department (such as HMRC Letter or Council Tax Bill)
• Bank statement
• Driving licence
• Baptism or confirmation certificate

If you are applying online, explain the change in the additional information box. If you use the paper form, fill in section 8.

Titles you can use on your passport can include:

• Professional titles - for example, doctor, judge, minister of religion, professor, QC, or JP if you're a magistrate
• Honours or military decorations

Put the details in the 'other title' box of your application and send evidence of your title.
Your title will be on the 'observations' page of your passport, it will not be part of your name, except if it's a title of nobility, for example knight, dame or a lord.




Other name changes

You can change your name on your passport with one of the following documents:

• Enrolled or unenrolled deed poll
• Statutory declaration
• Affidavit

Send it with your passport application and both:

• Proof of any previous name changes you've made

Important: As this change is not due to Marriage or Civil Partnership you must also supply a document that shows you using your new name. These can include:

• Letter from a local council or government department (such as HMRC Letter or Council Tax Bill)
• Bank statement
• Driving licence
• Baptism or confirmation certificate



This full and complete guide to changing your name on your passport will help guide you through your passport application. However, if you would like more information or to book an urgent passport appointment.



Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm


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