The Great Name Change of 2016: The Quick How-to Guide

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It’s been nearly a year since I became Asha and six months since it was a legal thing. I still don’t regret it but I did want to do a short post for anyone else thinking about doing it.

First off a quick disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this is just how I did it. There are other ways. You don’t need a deed poll to be known as someone else (and you’re perfectly within your rights to name yourself whatever you want) but if you want a passport or other legal documentation, then I suggest doing it this way rather than going via one of those up-selling websites which promise to do everything for you.

Also bear in mind the personal backlash. As a society we’re groomed to accept the names we’re given at birth, gods forbid we chose one ourselves. Your reasons for changing your name are your own and you don’t have to explain or tell anyone why you decided on the change. If someone can’t adjust, that’s their problem and not yours. If you have parents they’ll probably be mortally offended but again, not your problem.

I’m going to assume, for the sake of this, that you’re over 18 and a UK citizen.

  1. Think about it: a name change isn’t something to jump into with no consideration. Test run your name first (social media is a good way to do this) amongst a circle of friends (and for a chunk of time: six months is a good length). Remember there is no shame in tinkering with your name until you find the right one, or changing both your first and surname. Do take your cultural background into consideration and try to pick something simple or, at least, easy to spell because you’re going to spent a lot of time doing this over the phone.
  2. Read the government website on changing your name and download the Deed Poll documentation.
  3. Finalise your name.
  4. Get an appointment with a notary, this a particular kind of person who deal with documents and whatnot. Google one in your local area (solicitors can do this; notaries are basically a kind of solicitor, but are more expensive). It helps to have the forms filled out and emailed over, as well as bringing copies to your appointment. Make sure you have identification and can confirm your address, it also helps to bring your brith certificate as well.
  5. Find somone you trust whose known you for ten years (I know) and who has ID (a passport or driving license) and a utility bill to confirm address). They’ll be your witness.
  6. Go get the forms notorised, you should send the original forms via Recorded delivery, along with payment, to the Royal Courts of Justice. You can ask for a copy of the forms to tide you over until the enrolled deed poll gets back and it doesn’t hurt to digitise these or photocopy them.
  7. Celebrate!
  8. Wait.
  9. Once the enrolled deed poll arrives you can then use it to apply for passports, driving licenses and whatnot. Banks will update your account name (which is actually the least important detail; it’s the sort code and account number which matter).
  10. Get official ID and celebrate again, then ring around everybody from HMRC to your dentist to let them know of the change, providing the form. Also don’t forget your local council and the Electoral Roll so you can vote!

That’s basically it. The cost to change my name was, including postage, around £150 which isn’t too bad for such a drastic change. It’s definately a worthwhile one just be prepared to spend a lot of time on the phone (look for free numbers!) ringing people to explain what’s going on.

But that, in a nutshell, is how you change your name and enroll a deed poll in the UK.

 

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