How To Change Your Name After Marriage

sarah ryan
Sarah RyanAccount Manager @ Lawhive & Non-Practising Solicitor
Updated on 24th May 2024

Changing your name after marriage can be an exciting step, but it's important to know exactly how to do it to avoid any hassles down the road. Whether you're adopting your partner's surname, hyphenating, or even creating a completely new name, the process involves several steps and some important considerations.

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about legally changing your name after marriage in the UK, from gathering the necessary documents to updating your passport, driving licence, and bank accounts.

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We'll also touch on some common questions and provide tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Do I have to change my name after marriage? 

Changing your surname after marriage is a personal decision.

Many people do so to follow tradition as, historically, it has been customary for one partner, often the wide, to take the husband’s surname. Alternatively, for some changing their surname can make it easier when dealing with schools, travel, and other family-related activities if everyone shares the same name. 

However, you don’t have to change your name after marriage if you don’t want to. For example, lots of people feel a strong connection to their birth name or have built a professional identity they want to maintain.

In some cases, couples choose to adopt a double-barrelled surname or create an entirely new name altogether.

Whatever you choose, legally, there are no hard and fast rules. Instead, you get to make them on your terms before or after you get married or enter into a civil partnership.

Do I need to change my name by deed poll after marriage? 

In the UK, you generally don’t have to change your name by deed poll or change of name deed after marriage if you are taking your spouse’s name or using a double-barrelled surname. 

To formally change your name on legal documents such as your passport, driving licence, or bank account, you’ll only need your marriage certificate. 

However, if you get married and decide to take a new surname that is not yours or your spouse’s, or you want to change your first or middle name, you may need to do so by deed poll. 

How do I legally change my last name after marriage? 

To legally change your last name after marriage, you’ll need your marriage certificate, as that is the primary legal document required by most institutions to process your name change. 

If you’re recently married, you likely already have your marriage certificate in hand. If not, you can get additional copies from the General Register Office or your local registry office. 

How to change your name on your driving licence 

To change your name on your driving licence, you need to send the DVLA your old driving licence along with the appropriate application form, and original supporting documents that confirm your new name (i.e. your marriage certificate). 

How to change your name on your passport after marriage 

You can get a new passport in your married name up to 3 months before your wedding (although you can’t use it before the ceremony), or you can apply for a passport in your new name after tying the knot.

When you apply for a passport in your new name, you will have to send your marriage or civil partnership certificate as proof. 

Alternatively, if you are looking to change your name on your passport before your wedding, you have to include a ‘passports for newlyweds and civil partners’ form signed by the religious minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony. 

How to change your name with the bank after marriage

Most banks won’t let you change your name online and instead will ask you to visit a branch with your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate, along with your debit or credit card and PIN. 

How to change your name with your employer after marriage

If you’re employed, you should tell your HR department or line manager about your name change so they can update their records. Likely, they’ll need to see a copy of your marriage certificate to do so. 

You’ll likely need to change your name with other institutions or organisations, too including: 

  • Electricity, gas, and water companies

  • Internet and phone service providers

  • Insurance companies 

  • HMRC

  • Your GP and other healthcare providers 

  • The local council 

  • Mortgage provider or landlord 

Is there a deadline to change your name after marriage? 

There is no legal deadline to change your name after marriage. You can choose to do so at any time, either immediately after the wedding or years down the line - or not at all if you prefer! 

How much does it cost to change your name after marriage? 

If you’re changing your surname after marriage, you don’t need to do it via deed poll. Typically, it’s enough to update your surname with the relevant institutions, organisations, and individuals.

That being said, there are costs involved that you may want to factor in including £88.50 to apply for a new passport online

It does not cost anything to change your name on your driving licence, unless you can’t send your old driving licence or you want to change your photo at the same time. 

Most banks, utility companies, healthcare providers, and other organisations do not charge a fee to update your name. However, you may need to pay for additional copies of your marriage certificate if you need them. 

Can I use my spouse’s last name without legally changing it? 

You can use your spouse’s last name socially without legally changing your name after marriage. However, to legally change your name, you must follow the formal processes to apply the change to official documents such as your passport, driving licence, and bank accounts. 

It’s important to note that if you are booking flights, your tickets must match the name on your passport, otherwise, you may not be permitted to fly.

Can I change my name back if I change my mind? 

If you’ve changed your name after marriage and then decide to revert to your maiden name or a previous name, the process is usually the same as changing your name after marriage. However, you may also need to provide different documentation, like your birth certificate or final order.

If you changed your name through a deed poll or statutory declaration, you’d have to change it back by executing a new deed poll or statutory declaration with your previous name. 

How long does it take to change your name after marriage?

The time it takes to change your name after marriage can depend on how many places you need to change your name and by what route. Generally, the process can be completed in a couple of months, taking into account things like processing times for passport and driving licence updates. 

Updating your name with banks, employers, utility providers and other institutions may be much quicker or even immediate in some circumstances.

Conclusion 

While changing your name after marriage is an exciting step, it’s entirely optional and the decision is entirely up to you. 

If you need further assistance have any questions about the name change process, or would like to speak to our family lawyers about any other legal matters relating to marriage (such as prenuptial agreements) contact us today. Our Legal Assessment Specialists are on hand to help. 

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