If you are changing your name, you will need a new passport to travel outside the UK. However, you may find it useful to update your passport upon changing your name, as some organisations or bodies that hold records about you, may insist on seeing your updated passport, as evidence of your name change.
To update your passport you will have to fill in an application form for a new passport and send it to HM Passport Office. In some instances you will not need a Deed Poll in order to apply for a new passport.
Set out below are some of the processes that apply to updating your passport if you are changing your name because of marriage or divorce/separation.
If you are a UK national, you are living in the UK, and:
If you are not a UK national, but you are living in the UKand you get married in the UK, you can still use a Deed Poll, but this will only potentially be effective for updating your documents and records in the UK. Even only updating your documents in the UK may be dependent on whether or not you can update your passport whilst in the UK. This is because, to update your documents in the UK, you must be changing your name “for all purposes” and if you cannot update your passport, you may not be able to show that you have changed your name "for all purposes”.
In order to update your passport, documents and records in your country of origin, you will have to follow the procedure in your country of origin. We recommend that you check with your Embassy or High Commission in the UK, what the procedure for you would be. You should ask if your country of origin would accept your change of name by Deed Poll, if they will issue a new passport and if they have any special requirements for your Deed Poll to be recognised. For instance, they may require your Deed Poll to be witnessed by a solicitor, or “legalised”. Please see the FAQs entitled "When does a Deed Poll have to be legalised?" and "What is a certified copy and when might I need one?" for more information.
If your marriage was not in the UK and your certificate is not in English, you may need to have it officially translated by an accredited translator, or you can change your name by Deed Poll and use the Deed Poll to change the name on your documents in the UK. As you are the national of another country, you will also have to follow the procedure for changing your name on your documents and passport in that other country (see above).
Whatever the requirements are in your country of origin, you should always ensure that your passport, travel bookings and tickets are all in the same name before you travel, or you may be denied entry into a country, or refused passage on an aircraft. Also, if your travel between countries involves use of a visa, some visas may automatically expire when a passport is renewed. You should bear this in mind when updating your passport, if, for instance, your return to the UK depends upon the inclusion of a valid visa.
If you are a UK national, but you are living abroad, how you change the name on your passport will depend upon what your new name will be. You will be subject to the rules set out above that relate to your proposed change of name.
As you are living abroad, you should consider carefully how best to change the name on your passport, as your passport, travel bookings and tickets must always be in the same name. If they are not, you may be denied entry into another country or refused passage by an airline or other transport provider. If you want to update your passport whilst visiting the UK, you will need to have an address in the UK for long enough for the passport to reach you there. Alternatively, you could use the premium one-day service at HM Passport Office and apply in person and make an appointment in advance for a specific day and time. If you are not visiting the UK, you can apply for a new passport through the Foreign Office, British Embassy or High Commission. Any such bodies will accept a Deed Poll, but generally advise that it must be witnessed by a solicitor or notary public, which will increase your costs. You will also have to provide other documentary evidence and should check first with the relevant office which documents you will need.
If your marriage takes place abroad and your certificate is not in English, you will have to have it officially translated by an accredited translator, or you can change your name by Deed Poll and use the Deed Poll to change the name on your passport. If you are also the national of another country, you will also have to follow the procedure for changing your name in that other country.
If you are considering changing your name as a result of a break-up of your relationship, you may not need a Deed Poll.
If your divorce has been finalised and you have a decree absolute and you want to revert to your maiden name, you will not normally require a Deed Poll to change your records with all relevant bodies; you will generally have enough evidence if you can show your decree absolute, your original Marriage Certificate, your original Birth Certificate, and a signed statement that you are reverting to use of your maiden name for all purposes.
If you want to revert to using your maiden name prior to receiving your decree absolute, you can update your records by applying for a Deed Poll with us and following our procedure.
If one of the documents specified above is missing, you can also change your name back to your maiden name by applying for a Deed Poll with us and following our procedure.
If you do not have your original Marriage or Birth Certificate, you can obtain a replacement from the General Register Office. The current fee for each Certificate is £9.25 and you can apply for them online.
If you are going through a divorce or have completed it, but do not want to revert to use of your maiden name, and would rather change your name to something new, you will need a Deed Poll.
If you want to simply revert to using Miss or Ms, you will not need a Deed Poll, as your title is not used as evidence of your identity. In fact, your passport does not, in normal circumstances, state what your title is.