If you’re thinking about changing your name after marriage, you’ll first have to decide what you want to be called. Then you’ll have quite a bit of work to do to finalise the details. Here’s our guide on how to change your name.
If you’re having trouble deciding if you want to change your name, check out our “Should I Change My Name After Marriage?” quiz.
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In the United Kingdom, anyone aged 16 years and over can be known by any name they choose just by simply using it. However, should you wish to change your name and get all your documents changed (e.g. your passport, property deeds and records such as income tax, national insurance, bank accounts, credit cards etc.), you need to provide documentary evidence that you have changed your name.
Changing Your Name and Title
There is no legal requirement for either partner to change their surname upon entering into a civil partnership, though most couples will probably want to share the same surname. They can choose to either:
- Continue using their own surnames
- One partner can take the other partner’s surname*
- Both partners can change their surnames to double‐barrel their surnames or to change to a new surname altogether.
*The civil partnership certificate provides the necessary documentary evidence of the change of surname. By sending the civil partnership certificate to all concerned, the person’s documents and records will be changed to show the new surname. If a female couple wish to change their title from Ms or Miss to Mrs., this can also be done.
Get the full intel on your married name options here, and here is everything you need to know about how to NOT take your spouse’s name after marriage (complete with some non-traditional surname changes). Furthermore, you can read about the many reasons for changing or not changing your name after marriage here.
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Changing Your Name For Your Honeymoon
While there are no official statistics, around 70-80% of people due to get married intend to honeymoon abroad while only 1 in 33 couples planning to get married prefer to honeymoon in the UK. Honeymoons abroad often make financial sense: accommodation, food, and entertainment are often cheaper abroad and with the budget airlines ready to whisk you off to exotic destinations in under 2 hours it’s often quicker to get there too. A much more affordable experience! No doubt the weather is also has something to do with it too.
But shortly before your trip you’ll probably look at your passport and give consideration to a few things: the photo, the expiry date and, most glaringly, the NAME. It can be confusing booking your honeymoon when you know you’re going to be changing your name after marriage.
“Which Name Do I Book My Honeymoon In?”
Here’s What You Need to Know About Changing Your Name
This is a very common query—the simple answer used to be that you should book your honeymoon in your maiden name and then go about changing your name officially with the passport office, DVLA and banks etc. when you come back. However, modern times being what they are, you can now get a post-dated passport in your new name up to 3 months before you marry and your old passport will be cancelled. Just be aware that, as the new passport will be post-dated, you won’t be able to use it until after you marry.
Always think carefully about if you should apply to change the name in your passport before you get married though. If you plan to visit a country that requires you to obtain a visa before you fly, you should leave your name change until after your trip as countries will not issue visas to post-dated passports. It is also essential your flights are booked under the exact same name that is to appear in your passport at the time of your departure. If the names don’t match you won’t be cleared to pass through immigration and your flights will not be refunded. Find out more at gov.uk.
For a full guide to applying for a post-dated passport, see our guide on how to honeymoon in your married name.
How to Change Your Name After Your Wedding
If you want to wait until after your wedding then you will need your marriage certificate to change your name on your passport and, during peak season, this can take some time so it’s a lot easier to wait.
Once you sign the marriage register you automatically become Mrs (your new surname) but you are still legally allowed to use your maiden name, which is why some women keep their maiden name and use their married name sometimes and their maiden name at work.
Changing your name after marriage is a lasting reminder of your wedding day and your life together. It’s exciting and sometimes strange to think of yourself with a different name. At first it may come out awkwardly, but within a few months it will roll off your tongue with natural ease. Before you can get to that point there’s a mountain of paperwork and notifications that need to get done.
Step 1: To get started, the first thing needed is your marriage certificate. You’ll need a government issued marriage certificate which can be ordered from the registry office in the district where your wedding took place. Religious certificates are often not acceptable to get identification changed because they may be missing certain security information and are not consistently formatted. Marriage certificates may take 1-2 weeks to be available to order and typically cost around £10 each. We recommend ordering 2-3 certificates so your name change is not held up while you are waiting for your only certificate to be returned.
Step 2: Once you have your certificate, arrange for your photo identification to be updated first. Driving licenses can be updated by mail and you’ll need to send your original certificate. There is no charge to update your license. If you currently hold a valid passport you can lodge your application online. Full renewal fees are due regardless of when your passport was issued.
Step 3: Next, notify HM Revenue and Customs. Your new details can be notified via their website. There is a lengthy form to complete and you’ll need to supply quite a bit of personal information when completing the form, so take the time to get all your information ready before starting the process. Once successful, all your records within HM Revenue and Customs will be updated.
Step 4: Once your photo ID and HM Revenue and customs has been updated, there will be a number of private organisations to notify. This may include your phone provider, utilities, banks, credit cards, loans, insurance, memberships, loyalty clubs and more. Each organization sets their own policy for name change. Some will allow you to update your details over the phone once you have proved your identity. Others, such as financial institutions, require original documents and photo ID before changes can be made to your account. This is to safeguard your account.
The typical bride will have around 15 to 20 organisations to notify of her new name. As each company has their own name change procedure, it is a time consuming task to contact each one to ask, then sent off any documents that may be required.
Here’s a Handy Name Change Checklist For You
- Driving license
- Bank accounts
- Credit, debit and store cards
- Your employer
- Car registration
- Electoral roll
- Local council
- Utilities (gas, electricity, water)
- Communications (home phone, mobile, internet, pay TV)
- Insurance (home, contents, auto, health, life)
- Health (doctor, dentist, specialists)
- You might also want to update your online name settings etc.
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How to Change your Name by Deed Poll
A Deed Poll provides the documentary evidence required so that everyone you have dealings with must change their records without question (although you cannot get your birth, marriage, adoption or decree absolute certificates changed). If you are 18 years of age or over and wish to change your name (or your children’s names) by Deed Poll, see gov.uk’s fast and convenient online service complete with templates.
To change your name by Deed Poll, all you need do is complete the Change of Name by Deed Poll Application Form. (There will be a charge for this.)
You can also change the name of other family members: a single Deed Poll can also include other members of your immediate family i.e. your husband/wife and children. (You must submit a separate form for each member of your family, and you will be charged for each additional family member.)
Featured above: Quiz: Should I Change My Name After Marriage?
What Documents They Need
You need to fax or send them a photocopy of one of the following documents that shows your current legal name (parental consent if also required for persons under 18 years of age—an original letter required):
- Birth Certificate
- Passport (personal details page only).
- Marriage Certificate (married women only).
- Plus, Previous Deed Poll Certificate (if you have changed your name before)
Please note, for persons under the age of 18 years, written consent signed by both parents is required in addition to one of the documents listed above (if you were married when your child/children were born). If you were not married when your child/children were born, only the written consent of the parent who has legal custody is required.
Also, if you are a foreign national living in the United Kingdom, you can use a Deed Poll to have your name changed on records and documents held in the United Kingdom. However, it is unlikely that your own country will recognise a Deed Poll so you will not be able to get your passport or any records and documents changed in your own country.
NameSwitch’s Top 5 Tips When Changing Your Name
NameSwitch can save you the hassle of all the research with personalised name change package. NameSwitch allows you to nominate who you need to notify of your new name, and they’ll provide all the information needed so you don’t need to get on the phone, wait on hold or ask what to do.
Here are our top 5 tips for changing names to help you along the way:
- Aim to get all your paperwork done in a few days. Having it hang around for weeks or months will drive you crazy and can cause problems when travelling abroad.
- Order 2-3 copies of your marriage certificate from the Registry office so your name change is not held up while you wait for documents to be returned.
- Take some photocopies of your old passport and driver’s license before getting them updated as they may need to be surrendered. A few years down the track you need to prove who you were!
- Prioritise updating photo ID. Some organisations may want to see updated photo ID as further evidence of your new name
- Buy a NameSwitch name change package which will speed up the whole process.
For more on changing your name, see our post on, “Why do we still change names after marriage?”