How to Change Your Name After Getting Married

Adopting your spouse’s surname can come with numerous advantages. It may enhance your sense of belonging within your new family, streamline travel arrangements, simplify medical situations, and be beneficial if you have children. However, it’s important to weigh other considerations too. If you’ve established a professional identity with your current name, transitioning to your spouse’s surname might require a period of adjustment.

Alternatively, you can opt for a double-barreled surname, merging your current name with your spouse’s. The choice of whether to change your name post-marriage or civil partnership is deeply personal. If you decide to make this change, don’t let the paperwork deter you.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage

The process for changing your name varies based on your location, the new name you choose, and when you want to start using it. Below, we outline some common scenarios for UK citizens whose marriages were finalized in the UK. If you are a UK national living abroad, additional steps are discussed later.

1. Taking Your Spouse’s Last Name

This is the simplest option in terms of paperwork. You’ll only need your marriage certificate, provided it includes both your maiden name and your spouse’s last name. This certificate can be used to update your passport, driving license, and other official documents.

Lost Marriage Certificate?

If you’ve lost your marriage certificate, you can request a replacement certified copy. Alternatively, you can use a deed poll to officially change your name.

What is a Deed Poll?

A deed poll is an official document that confirms your name change. It can be used to update your driver’s license, passport, and other official records. A deed poll shows your new name, your relinquished old name, and the date you started using your new name.

How to Apply for a Deed Poll

You can apply for a deed poll through a solicitor or online. The process is quick, taking about five minutes to complete.

2. Keeping Your Maiden Name as a Middle Name

If you want to adopt your partner’s surname but keep your maiden name as a middle name, a marriage certificate alone won’t suffice for updating official documents like your passport. Instead, you’ll need to apply for a deed poll, as this change affects your forename.

3. Double-Barrelled (Hyphenated) Last Name

If you want a double-barrelled last name (e.g., Amelia Williams-Brown), your marriage certificate will be sufficient. This is because the hyphen clearly indicates that Williams-Brown is a surname. Both partners can adopt this surname using the marriage certificate.

Before making changes, check with your bank, employer, and other entities about their documentation requirements. It might be helpful to update your passport or driver’s license first.

4. Choosing a Completely New Surname

Some couples opt for a completely new surname, which could be a combination of their surnames or an entirely new name. In this case, a deed poll is necessary to make the change official.

5. Using Your Spouse’s Name Officially but Keeping Your Maiden Name Professionally

You can legally take your partner’s last name while continuing to use your maiden name professionally. For official purposes, follow the standard name change procedures. When applying for a new passport, you’ll need to declare your professional name in the relevant section. Your new passport will then indicate that you are also known by your professional name.

Changing Your Name as a UK National Living Abroad

If you are a UK national living abroad and have a foreign marriage certificate not in English, you’ll need to either get a certified translation or apply for a deed poll. For UK nationals with English marriage certificates living abroad, contact your local British embassy or consulate for assistance.

Changing Only Your Title

If you only wish to change your title (e.g., from Ms. to Mrs.), you don’t need an official name change. Simply start using your new title. Note that some documents, like your passport, do not list titles.

Updating Your UK Passport After Marriage

To update your name in your UK passport, apply for a new passport through HM Passport Office using your marriage certificate or deed poll as evidence. This process results in a new passport with a 10-year validity. Ensure your travel documents match your bookings to avoid travel issues.

Traveling Right After the Wedding?

If traveling immediately post-wedding, it might be easier to travel under your current name and update it later. Alternatively, you can apply for a deed poll in advance and update your passport before traveling, allowing for potential delays.

Newlywed Passport Option

You can apply for a post-dated “newlywed passport” in advance, which becomes valid on your wedding date. Confirm with the embassy of your destination country if they accept visas on post-dated passports.

Is Name Change Automatic After Marriage?

Your name does not change automatically after marriage; you have the choice to keep your name, change your title, take your partner’s name, or choose a new name.

Does Name Change Affect Credit Rating?

Changing your name won’t impact your credit rating if you update all financial institutions. Notify banks, lenders, and credit card companies of your new name, preferably after updating your ID documents. Inform HM Land Registry if you own property.

Informing Relevant Authorities

After changing your name, notify all relevant institutions, including:

  • HM Passport Office
  • HM Land Registry Office
  • Driving License
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • HMRC
  • Your employer
  • Car registration
  • Electoral roll
  • Local council
  • Utility providers
  • Communications services
  • Mortgage lenders
  • Insurance companies
  • Healthcare providers
  • Will documents

Compile a list of documents and institutions to update, and contact each to update your name. This ensures all your records reflect your new name smoothly.


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