What are the restrictions on changing your name?

Rebecca Parr  10-09-2020

In this country, you can change any part of your name whenever you want. Whilst you have a great deal of leeway to choose your own name, there are some restrictions imposed by the law and official bodies (such as HM Passport Office), which you need to be aware of. 

You cannot change your name, if the new name:

  • cannot be pronounced;
  • exceeds the minimum and maximum number of characters;
  • includes numbers or symbols;
  • includes punctuation marks that do not have a phonetic significance;
  • is vulgar, offensive or blasphemous;
  • is for the purposes of fraud or deception;
  • is for a frivolous purpose;
  • is trade-marked, or subject to copyright;
  • promotes criminal activities or drug use;
  • promotes racial or religious hatred;
  • ridicules people, groups, government departments, companies or organisations; or
  • might mislead people to think you have a title or rank, such as Professor, Lord, Princess etc.

If you want to add a social title to your name (such as Mr, Miss, Mrs etc) there are no restrictions. For example, you would not need to prove that you were married to be able to use the title Mrs. This is particularly relevant to transsexual or transgender persons, who may wish to legally change their social title. 

If all you want to change is your title, you do not need to go through any formal procedures. You can just start using a new title.

If you want to change your name, you can either do it yourself, or you can instruct a law firm to assist you. At Samuels Solicitors LLP, based in Devon, we have assisted many clients change their name. We charge low fixed fees and will make the process simple and fast.

Why not contact us today to see how we can help?