Often after marriage, women decide to change their surname to that of their husbands. This makes having a family easier as everyone is identified as having the same family name. There is, however, no legal obligation within the UK for a woman to change her name after marriage.
If you are changing your name after marriage, your marriage license is actually sufficient as a legal name change document. It can then be submitted to any relevant institutions in order to change your name without any other supporting documentation.
This is the case providing that you are taking on your husband’s surname as your new surname. In the instance that you decide you wish to retain your surname and double-barrel it with your husband’s, you must then apply to change your name through deed poll. Once again this is a relatively easy process that can be done over the internet with ease.
For domestic and civil partners one partner may make the decision that they would like to change their surname to that of their partner’s as a means of symbolising their union. As a civil partnership is the same as a legal marriage, either partner has the same rights to take their partner’s name. In order to do so they have to show their civil partnership certificate and identification to any relevant government agencies.
How to Change your Name in your passport
Your passport name should always match your legal name and therefore it is important to apply for a new passport with your name change as soon as you have executed a Deed Poll or married. This is true whether you change your name by Deed Poll or change your name following your marriage, separation, divorce or after entering into a civil partnership.
In all cases, you will need to apply for a new 10 year passport. This means your current passport will be cancelled. Your new passport may be credited with up to 9 months of extra time depending on how long was remaining on your old passport.
Passport application packs are available from most post offices or can be completed online here.
Other Institutions to Contact after you Have Changed your Name
Bank/ Building Society: It is important to contact your financial institutions straight away to ensure that all of your accounts and financial commitments such as a mortgage or loan are changed to your new name. Most will accept a marriage, civil partnership or decree absolute as documentary evidence. However, some financial institutions may not accept a double-barrelled surname and in this instance it may be necessary to apply for a Deed Poll.
National Insurance Contributions Office/ HM Revenue and Customs: In order to change your name it is necessary to complete an online form detailing your change of name. Before you start to complete the online form it’s very important that you have all of the information below to hand. Some of this information is used to confirm your identity – because of this, the information you provide must be accurate and complete.
Information you’ll need to provide:
• your email address
• your full name, including any middle name(s)
• your National Insurance number
• your date of birth
• your present full postal address – and previous address if you are telling HMRC about a change of address
• your contact telephone number
You will need to provide one of the following for HMRC to validate your identity:
• your current employer’s PAYE reference number – you’ll find this on your wage slip or on your P60 form, unless you have recently changed your employer
• if you currently receive a private or occupational pension, your pension payer’s PAYE reference number – you’ll find this on your pension payer’s advice slip or on your P60 form
• your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number – you’ll only have one of these if you complete a Self Assessment tax return and it can be found on Self Assessment letters or statements HMRC have sent you
• your current employer’s or pension (private or occupational) payer’s name
• the name of your previous employer if you have changed your main employment in the last two years
• your employee works number for your current employment or if you currently receive a private or occupational pension, your pension number
• if you’re self-employed you’ll also need to tell HMRC the nature of your self-employment even if you are also in paid employment
If you want to tell HMRC about a change of name you will also need to provide:
• your new name and date on which you changed it
• your spouse’s or civil partner’s full name, date of birth, National Insurance number and Unique Taxpayer Reference number if they have one (if relevant)
• the date you separated (if relevant)
The necessary forms to complete if you wish to inform the HMRC about a name change can be found here.
Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency: When you have changed your name legally, you will also have to contact the Driving Vehicle and License Agency so that your details can be changed on your driving licence and also your vehicle registration details. When changing your name with or without a change of address you’ll need to:
• complete a D1 ‘application for a driving licence’ available from the DVLA form ordering service or from any Post Office branch
• provide original identity documents confirming your new name (Marriage Certificate/ Deed Poll/ Civil Partnership Certificate/ Decree Absolute
• enclose your photo card driving licence and paper counterpart (there’s no need to supply a new photograph).
The Electoral Roll: You should contact the Elections Office when you have changed your name. If you change your name between November and August you will need to send a letter and proof of the new name to the Electoral Registration Officer. This proof can be either your marriage certificate/ civil partnership certificate/ decree absolute or deed poll. If you change your name just before or during the Annual Canvass, you can send them the annual Voter Registration form to update your record on the Electoral Register.
Employer: You must inform your employer of your name change as they will need to edit their pay roll accordingly.
Utility Companies e.g. Water/ Electricity
Health professionals e.g. Doctors and Dentists: For convenience and billing purposes it is a good idea to inform all relevant health professionals of your new name.
Interested Private Individuals: Landlords or other individuals with whom you have a contractual relationship
When contacting many institutions or interested parties it is necessary to provide a cover letter outlining your new name and what documentary evidence you are providing in support of the name.