Changing your name
As part of your transition you may wish to change your name. At first this can be done informally amongst friends, in your educational or work setting, at the clubs and interest groups you’re part of. Sometimes trans people have a bit of an experiment with names before settling on one that will become permanent enough to change their name on documents. Again though there is no rule around the amounts of times you change your name. So if you change your name and wish to change it again then you totally can!
Formal name change
Changing your name formally can be an important part of your transition. It allows you to have your new name on all of your legal documents (excluding birth certificate, see the Gender Recognition Certificate).
There are two main ways of changing your name formally - Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration. It doesn't matter which method you use, but there is a difference in price.
You can change your name yourself by Deed Poll from the age of 16 (although you may need parental permission to change some documents). It is possible to buy a deed poll, or make your own one for free. With parental permission you can change your name by Deed Poll under the age of 16.
If you are aged 16 or over, you must apply for your own Deed Poll - read more on UK Deed Poll Service's page 'Can I change my child's name?'.
Purchased Deed Polls
You can buy deed polls from the internet, but ensure you are using a reputable website such as the UK Deed Poll Service and The UK Deed Poll Office. You just send off for your Deed Poll online and it will arrive in the post.
You can also apply for a 'title change' for an additional fee, but bear in mind that there is no actual legal process for changing your title - you are legally allowed to use whatever title you want. Many organisations offer this service with prices ranging from £18.50 to £35.
Free Deed Poll
There is nothing that states you have to purchase a deed poll for it to be formally recognised, so it is possible to use a template and make your own.
- You will need 2 witnesses to sign it in order for it to be valid.
Despite it being perfectly legal to do this, there's a chance you may be questioned when trying to use it, so it is recommended to print it out on to high-quality paper to make it look a bit more official.
Click for a template for a free deed poll.
A statutory declaration is a document declaring your name change, similar to a Deed Poll. The difference however is that it only requires one signature, but this must be sworn in front of someone who is authorised to notarise it. This can be either a solicitor or a clerk to a magistrates court. Provided you produce the statutory declaration yourself, having the document notarised should cost no more than £5.
A solicitor will charge you a fee to draw up the document, but you don't need to pay this as you can print it yourself and just pay the small fee for them to sign it.
Click for a template for a statutory declaration form.