Most companies will ask to see proof of your new name, and this changes depending on your reason for changing names. To get started you’ll need either a marriage certificate or a deed poll. You can go back to your former name even if you’re not divorced! Whatever your situation, we refer to this document as your certificate. Financial institutions and government departments may ask for additional documents to safeguard your identity.
If you are taking your spouse’s name, either in a straight swap with your own, or adding it to your current surname, you only need your marriage certificate. See our section on marriage certificates.
If you are reverting to your prior name after divorce all organisations accept your decree absolute together with your birth certificate as it links your names.
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Separation/resume maiden name
Contrary to what some deed poll sites tell you, you don’t need a deed poll to resume your birth name if you are still married. The UK passport office only requires your marriage and birth certificates, together with a statement that you are going back to your maiden name for all purposes. You also need proof that you have resumed the use of your former name (like a payslip or utility bill). You can then show your updated passport as proof of your new name.
For all other name changes it’s recommended you get a deed poll. These can be arranged online with reputable deed poll organisations. Just google Deed Poll for more information, or see our section on deed poll. We recommend www.deedpolls.co.uk.
Additional evidence of name change
Companies have a range of name change processes and can ask for whatever supporting documents they like as proof of name change.
Money laundering laws require financial institutions to validate their client’s identities before allowing personal changes. This means you could be asked for documents such as a recent utility bill, your birth certificate, a letter from a government department or an updated photo ID. These documents may verify both your name and address. It’s recommended you prioritise your driving licence or passport first. Be sure to take a few photocopies of your licence or passport before updating it as you may need to surrender it. Showing a photocopy of your old ID alongside your new ID can help prove your identity.
In some cases where an organisation does not want the responsibility of handling original documents, they may ask you for a certified copy. This is a copy of the original that has been checked by a specific professional. See our section on certified copies for more information.
How do I know what documents to send where?
Simply check the enclosure notes on each form, letter or email. It lists what proof is needed by that company. Each form and letter is pre-addressed to the company and ready to send. Our ready to send emails also list the proof documents and where to send them. If you don’t want to buy our notification kit simply contact each company directly to learn the proof needed and where to send.