What Name Change Documents do I need?
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The document you use to change names depends on your reason for name change. To get started you need either a marriage certificate, decree absolute (divorce order) or deed poll. 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 husband'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. As companies can ask for proof documents to support your name change request, you may also be asked for your birth certificate to prove the link between your names.
Separation/resume maiden name
Contrary to what deed poll sites tell you, you don't need a deed poll to resume your maiden name if you are still married. The UK passports 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 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.
Additional evidence of name change
Companies have a range of name change processes and can also 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 updated bank statement. These documents may verify both your name and address. You may also be asked for updated photo ID, so we always recommend updating your driving licence or passport first. Be sure to take a few photocopies of your licence or passport before updating 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 your 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?
It's each company's right to set their own requirements around what documents they accept as proof of name change. Usually it's straigHt forward, but if you have a more complicated name change scenario it's better to send more proof.
We explain what documents to send to each company and can also provide their special name change form, or else a letter or fax where your name change is needed in writing.