Changing Your Name After Marriage

According to some surveys, roughly 60-80 percent of women take their husband’s names after they get married. 

There are many benefits to taking your spouse’s name. It may help you feel like more of a part of your new family, it could make things easier when you travel, if there are medical issues, or if/when you decide to have children. 

Or, maybe you simply think your spouse-to-be has a cool last name!

But there are some things to consider as well. If you’ve built up a professional reputation with your current last name, changing it to your spouse’s might require a period of transition. 

Of course, you do have the option to change to a hyphenated last name where you retain your current name, but also add your spouse’s last name.

You may also feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through all the paperwork to switch to a new name.

The decision on whether to change your name after marriage or a civil partnership is a profoundly personal one. But if you do feel the desire to change your last name, you shouldn’t let the fear of paperwork hold you back.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the process of changing your last name after marriage in the UK.

We’ll also include some necessary resources, as well as recommendations for what you should immediately after you change your name.

How do you legally change your name after marriage? 

The process for changing your name may vary to some extent depending on where you’re living, the name you wish to switch to, and your desired timeframe for starting to use your new name.

Let’s look at some common scenarios, and discuss what documents you’ll need in each case. 

For each of these scenarios, we’ll assume you’re a UK citizen living in the UK, and your marriage was also finalized in the UK (if you’re a UK national living abroad, we’ve included a section below on what you need to change your name after getting married).

1. You’re taking your spouse’s last name and giving up your own

This is the most straightforward option when it comes to paperwork. 

You don’t need any additional new documents besides your marriage certificate. You can use your marriage certificate to update your name on official documents as long as it includes the following information:

  • Your maiden name
  • Your spouse’s last name that you’re changing to 

You can use the marriage certificate to update your passport, driving license, and other official documents (more below).

What if I’ve lost my marriage certificate?

Maybe it’s been a while since you got married. And only recently, you and your partner have decided that you want to change your last name to match your spouse’s.

But you’ve lost your marriage certificate. Now what? Are you no longer able to change your name?

Thankfully, that’s not the case, and you have a couple of options.

The first option is to get a replacement certified copy of your marriage certificate. For more details on how to apply for a copy, check out the government website.

Your second option is to get a deed poll to change your name officially.

What is a deed poll?

A deed poll is an official document that serves as evidence that you’ve legally changed your name. You can use it to update all your official documents like driver’s license, passport, bank documents, and more.

You can use a deed poll to change your name for any reason you wish, including changing your name after marriage.

A deed poll will demonstrate the following:

  • You have chosen a new name
  • You have given up your old name
  • The date you started using your new name

How to apply for a deed poll?

Although a deed poll is recognized as an official document, you can’t get it directly from a government office.

You can hire a solicitor to apply for a deed poll, or you can get one online.

For more information and how to apply, check out our in-depth article on deed polls.

2. You’re keeping your maiden name as your middle name

Maybe you want to take your partner’s last name, but you also want to keep your current last name as your middle name (people with a middle initial are perceived as being more intellectual).

Maybe you want to retain the professional reputation that you’ve built with your maiden name, or you don’t want to give up your pre-marriage identity completely.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your name is Amelia Williams, and your partner’s last name is Brown, and you want to change your name to Amelia Williams Brown.

In such cases, a marriage certificate most likely won’t be enough to change your name, especially when it comes to your passport and other official documents. 

You’ll have to apply for a deed poll to make your name change official.

The reason that your marriage certificate won’t work as evidence of name change is that in this case, the change is considered to be in your forename instead of your surname.

3. Double-barrelled (hyphenated) last name

In the previous example, we explained how someone named Amelia Williams marrying someone with a surname Brown would need a deed poll if they want to change their name to Amelia Williams Brown.

But here’s something interesting. If that person wanted to change to Amelia Williams-Brown, then her marriage certificate would be enough evidence.

The reason, again, has to do with the forename vs. surname.

In this instance, it is reasonably clear that Williams-Brown is the last name due to the hyphen. It is also easy to understand how you decided on that last name.

Also, we should note that your marriage certificate would also work if you and your partner both wanted to change your surnames, either to Williams-Brown or Brown-Williams (it doesn’t matter which surname comes first).

If you do choose to go the double-barrel route, be sure to check with your bank, employer, and other official places to see what kind of documentation they would need to update your name. 

One thing you can do to make life easier is to apply for a new passport or driver’s license before you go about updating your name elsewhere.

4. If you and your partner decide to go with a brand new surname

Another option gaining in popularity among couples in the UK is for both partners to change their surnames to something new. It could be a combination of the two names, or it could be something brand new.

A new surname for both partners could resemble a fresh start. It could also promote a sense of equality in the partnership instead of one partner adopting another’s name.

If your new surname is anything other than a double-barrelling of the two surnames, you’ll need to apply for a deed poll to make your new name official.

5. You take your partner’s name but keep using your maiden name professionally

You want the best of both worlds. You want to take your partner’s last name because of convenience, tradition, or another reason, but you don’t want to give up your maiden name in a professional setting.

The good news is that you can have it all.

As long as you intend to change your name for official purposes (driver’s license, passport), then you need to follow the same process outlined above, depending on your documents and the new name.

And you can keep using your maiden name in a professional setting (LinkedIn profiles, emails, etc.). 

The only extra step is that when you apply for a new passport in your new name, you have to include the information that you’re still using your maiden name in some capacity. 

There is a section in your passport application (More Information in section 8) where you make a statement declaring that you’re still using your previous name.

Your new passport will be issued in your new name. 

It will also display the following:

“THE HOLDER IS ALSO KNOWN AS {Your professional name}.”

If you’re a UK national living abroad

If you’re a UK national, but you are/were living abroad when you got married, and your documents are not in English, then your marriage certificate won’t work as evidence of name change.

Again, you have a couple of options. 

You can have your marriage certificate translated to English, and then have the translation certified by a bank or building society official, chartered accountant, solicitor, or notary.

You can find more details about the certification process here.

Alternatively, you could also apply for a deed poll, since it allows you to change your name for any reason you wish. 

If you have your marriage certificate from the UK in English, but you’re currently living abroad and want to update your name, you should contact your local British embassy or consulate

They might also be able to advise you if you have a foreign marriage certificate, but it is in English. 

If you only want to change your title (e.g., Ms. to Mrs.)

If you only want to change your title, let’s say from Ms. to Mrs., for example, then you don’t need to go through an official name change.

Some official documents, like your passport, don’t list titles. So, you can simply start using your preferred title right away.

Remember, this is assuming you’re keeping your pre-marriage/civil partnership name, and not taking your partner’s name or modifying your first or last name in any way.

How do I change my name in my UK passport after marriage?

To update your new name, you’ll need to apply for a new UK passport with supporting documents as evidence of your name change.

The document could be a marriage certificate or a deed poll, depending on your new name.

You’ll apply for a new passport from HM (Her Majesty’s) Passport Office. 

Even though you’re only trying to update your name, you’ll get a brand new passport with 10-year validity. If you have any old visas, they should still be valid in most cases. 

But you should check with the relevant authorities of the visa-issuing country on whether they will accept your old visa under your new name, or if you should re-apply for a new visa.

For detailed information about how to apply for a new passport after a name change, including costs, required documentation, how to get help, and contact information, check out our article on applying for a new passport after a name change. 

Do I have to change my name in my passport? 

It is not required by law that you update your name in your passport after changing your name. 

But if you want to travel under your new name, then you should update your name in your passport. If the name in your travel documents doesn’t match the name in flight or accommodation bookings, you may be denied boarding, or have trouble with immigration. 

What if I want to travel right after the wedding?

If you’re planning on traveling right after your wedding, for your honeymoon, as many people do, you might be wondering what’s the best course of action as far as your travel documents.

If you’re traveling right after your wedding, the simplest thing to do would be to travel under your current name and move forward with the name change process when you get back.

But if you really want to travel under your new name, here are some options for you.

1. Order your deed poll before your wedding

If you need a deed poll to change your name, you should order it in advance so that you can sign it on your wedding day. 

Then, you can begin the process of updating your name in your passport immediately so you can travel under your new name. You should allow ample time between your wedding and your travel in case there are some delays.

2. Apply for a “newlywed passport”

But keep in mind that your old passport will become invalid, and your new passport will be post-dated to your wedding date. Meaning that it won’t be valid till you’re officially married.

Some countries may not issue visas on post-dated passports. Check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country to see if they issue visas on post-dated passports, so you can decide if a “newlywed” passport is right for you.

If you want to get a head start on your new passport and apply in advance, you have to send in a ‘passports for newlyweds and civil partners’ form. The form has to be signed by a religious minister or registrar who is planning on conducting the ceremony.

Does my name change automatically after marriage?

Your name will be whatever you choose to call yourself after marriage. 

It can be the same exact name you had before marriage, it can be just a change in title, you can take your partner’s name, or it can be any other name you wish. 

So, nothing changes automatically after marriage. As far as your name is concerned, the only difference is that now you have the option to legally change your name in official documents with your marriage certificate. 

Does changing my name after marriage affect my credit rating?

If you change your name, it will not affect your credit rating as long as you update your name with all of your financial institutions.

Be sure to inform any banks, lenders, or credit card companies you’re associated with, about your new name. It might be better to do this after you update your driver’s license or passport so you can show documentation of your new name if needed. Your marriage certificate should work too.

If you own land or property, be sure to let the HM Land Registry Office know as well about your new name.

Who to inform when you get married? 

Just because you’ve successfully changed your name after a marriage or civil partnership, it doesn’t mean your work is done. 

Now that you have evidence that you’ve started using a new name, you have to update your name with all relevant authorities and institutions. 

We mentioned a few documents throughout the article that you should update with your name, but here is a more comprehensive list.

  • Passport (HM Passport Office)
  • Land or property ownership (HM Land Registry Office)
  • Driving license
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit, debit and store cards
  • Lenders 
  • HMRC
  • Your employer
  • Car registration
  • Electoral roll
  • Local council
  • Utilities (gas, electricity, water)
  • Communications (home phone, mobile, internet, pay TV)
  • Mortgage
  • Insurance (home, contents, auto, health, life)
  • Health (doctor, dentist, specialists)
  • Will documents

Make a list with any of these documents or institutions that are relevant to you, and contact them one by one to have your name updated. Before you know it, your name will be fully updated in all your documents, and you’ll be living life smoothly with your brand new name. 

READY TO CHANGE YOUR NAME?

Join the thousands who have trusted the UK Deed Poll Office to help change their name Fill out our fast, simple, and affordable online application to receive your government-registered Deed Poll in no time!
LET'S GO!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram