Who , Why and How to Apply For Deed Poll ?
“Your guide to a successful Deed Poll Application”
A Deed Poll allows you to change your name for all further communication and documentation purposes. Your nationality, age and country of residence are three of the most important factors that determine your eligibility for a Deed Poll application.
Unlike other contracts, application for a Deed poll can be made irrespective of the nationality, country of residence and past criminal record. Disclosures need to be made, at the time of the application, with regards to the following:
Age of the applicant
Nationality and Country of residence of the individual
Dual Nationality possessed, if any
Refugee status or asylum seeking intent
Undischarged bankruptcy, if any
Criminal records, if any
Detention details under the Mental Health Act, if any
Age of the Applicant
To change your name by the use of a Deed Poll, the applicant must be a British citizen aged 16 years or above. For the change of name of a child under the age of 16, the application can be made by the parent or the guardian with the consent of the child. To learn more on changing a child’s name, please visit our “Can I Change my Child’s Name?” section.
Nationality and Country of Residence of the Individual
Deed Poll can be sought be foreign nationals as well. Please note that for the following sections, the term United Kingdom (U.K.) means England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and Northern Island:
U.K. laws impose no restrictions on British nationals applying for a change of name via Deed Polls. However, dual nationality, asylum seeking, bankruptcy and criminal laws provisions do apply.
Foreign Nationals in the U.K
Different Embassies have different requirements in respect of Deed Polls. For Danish and Estonian residents in the U.K, their embassies require the Deed Poll to be legalized before changing the name. On the other hand, the Pakistan High Commission requires that the Deed Poll be witnessed and signed by a solicitor for it to be a binding application for a change of name.
Foreigners in the U.K. can apply for a Deed Poll as well. However, the U.K. Government strongly advises the applicants to consult their country’s Embassy and High Commissions in the U.K. whether they will accept the Deed Poll as a documentary evidence of a change in name and change all documents accordingly.
Applications for a Child Deed Poll also require prior consultation with the Embassy, since parental laws and child consent requirements for a change of name vary from country to country. You should also find out the age up to which your country of origin considers a person to be young/minor.
For instance, the U.S. Embassy in London has established 18 years as the official age of majority. This means that a U.S. national residing in the U.K. will have to apply for a deed poll for child to change his/her passport name if the individual is under 18 years of age. Embassy specific laws override the general U.K. ruling that puts the official age of Deed Poll application at 16.
You can also change all your U.K. documents and records with a Deed Poll, without changing your passport. However, we strongly advise against such practice as it would create problems when travelling outside the U.K. when your documents and passport names mismatch.
As an alternate, you can apply for citizenship. The naturalized certificate and British passport will be issued on the name as mentioned in the Deed Poll and will be acceptable at the U.K. Border Agency.
Warning: Please do not book overseas travels in your child’s new name prior to being in possession of the child’s new passport.
Foreign Nationals outside the U.K
For non-British nationals residing outside the U.K, it is unlikely that a Deed Poll will be effective in changing the name. If you are applying for a British passport and citizenship and the British Embassy has advised you to change your name, then you may apply for a Deed Poll.
Dual Nationality Rule
If you have a British and any other nationality, you need to notify HM Passport Office regarding your nationalities when applying for a Deed Poll. HMPO will require you to first change your other passport to your new name, before issuing you with a new British passport.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
For asylum seekers and refugees (including those who have been granted asylum), Deed Poll is accepted at the U.K. Border Agency as evidence that applicant’s name has been changed. When completing your application form, make sure you enter your immigration status as your nationality.
If you are in possession of a Convention Travel Document in your former name, you may use your Deed Poll as an application for the issuance of a new travel document in your new name. Similarly, when you apply for a British citizenship under your new name, your British passport and naturalization certificate will be issued in the new name, as mentioned in the Deed Poll.
Undischarged bankrupts are also eligible to apply for a change of name, via Deed Poll. However, if you are self employed and want to trade with a new name, you must inform all your stakeholders about your former name, under which you had filed for bankruptcy.
If you have already been discharged from bankruptcy in your former name, then such a disclosure to third parties need not be made. You must also inform the Office Receiver dealing with your bankruptcy regarding the change in your name.
Individuals with a previous criminal record are not marred from changing their names via Deed Poll. However, the following rules apply:
If you are facing any existing or pending criminal actions against you, then notify the police station (dealing with your case) of the change of name
Report to your probation officer in the event of a change of name, if you are on probation
If your name is on the Sex Offender’s Register, you must inform the police of a change in name within 3 days after you start using your new name. Failure to inform the police will result in a criminal offense on your part
Mental Health Act
There are no legal provisions that prohibit a person detained under the Mental Health Act to apply for a change of name. However, the person who executes the Deed Poll must have the mental capacity necessary to understand the terms, significance and legal implications of the Deed Poll. The decision as to the mental capabilities of the individual rests with his/her clinician(s) and is based on the following rules:
Presumption of Capacity: Every adult is capable of making their own decisions and are presumed to have the mental capacity to do so, unless proved otherwise
Right to Decisions: Every individual is entitled to complete help and support before anyone can conclude that they are incapable of making their own decisions
Unwise Decisions: Any eccentric or unwise decisions taken by the individual shall not solely be construed as evidence that the person is mentally incapable of making his/her decisions.
If you believe you meet all the criteria for a change of name, then click here to proceed to creating a Deed Poll. Otherwise, please feel free to contact us to learn more.