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31 Changing Your Name

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1. Introduction

2. When may I want to change my name?

3. When am I allowed to change my name?

4. What if I am widowed?

5. What if I enter into a civil partnership?

6. What if I want to change my child´s name?

7. What sort of name can I choose?

8. How do I prove I have a new name?

9. Who should I tell about my name change?

After changing your name you must tell everyone who needs to contact you, provides services to you, or has dealings with you. Start by writing to tell them that you have changed your name, giving your old and new details. If they ask you for more evidence, start with the simplest type (see 'How do I prove I have a new name?').

Below is a list of the types of organisations you should contact (though, for most people, there will be others too). The list is broadly in order of priority, though this will depend on your circumstances. For example, you would need to tell anyone likely to be sending you a cheque or other payment at the same time as you change the name on your bank or building society accounts.

If you are due to travel soon, the Passport Agency should be high up on your list. A new passport may also serve as proof of your name change for other organisations.

You will need to change your details on the electoral roll if you are likely to be applying for a loan or credit card, because banks and other financial services companies often use the roll as part of their credit checks.


  • your employer, and former employers where you have a pension;
  • your pension provider or providers;
  • your landlord or mortgage company;
  • the Department for Work and Pensions;
  • your local authority (council), for such matters as council tax, housing benefit and social services;
  • the electoral registration officer at your local authority (you don’t need to wait for an election to do this)
  • utility companies (water, gas, electricity, phone and mobile phone);
  • banks, building societies, insurance companies, and companies you have shares in;
  • credit-card, store-card and charge-card companies, other organisations you have a loan with, and mail-order companies;
  • the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA);
  • the TV Licensing Agency;
  • the Passport Agency;
  • the school, college or university you or your child attends;
  • the local library service;
  • insurance companies;
  • HM Revenue and Customs, to make sure your tax and National Insurance records are kept accurate;
  • your GP and dentist, and any other healthcare professionals or clinics you go to;
  • the trade union, professional bodies and clubs you belong to; and
  • any mailing lists you subscribe to.

10. Further help

11. About this leaflet

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See 'Further help' for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Citizens Advice.


Leaflet version: December 2008

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