One of the major considerations people make when looking to change their name is ‘how long is it going to take to actually change my name’?
This is a sensible consideration as changing your name can have complications should you be needing to use official documentation such as your Passport or Driving License.
So, how long does it actually take to legally change your name?
In England and Wales, you are able to obtain official documentation and use the deed poll process to legally change your name within 2-8 weeks in most cases.
However, the time it takes to finalise depends on your actions, so there’s no one fits all answer.
The three factors which affect the time in which it takes to legally change your name are;
- How you acquire your deed poll documentation.
- How long you take to sign and witness your deed poll.
- How long you take to notify record holders of your name change.
How you choose obtain your deed poll documentation, the number of copies you decide to purchase and how efficient you are in notifying all major record holders will shape how long it takes for you to change your name.
You can find more detail on each of these three important factors below.
Before considering changing your name, you need to ensure that you are eligible to do so.
The main restriction to changing your name in England and Wales is your age.
If you are 16 years of age or older
There is no parental or any other consent required in order to change your name by deed poll for anyone over the age of 16.
You can make a name change by deed poll on one ground, which is that you are not changing your name for fraudulent purposes.
If you are 15 years old but approaching your 16th birthday, it may be easier for you to wait until you no longer require parental consent to change your name.
You can also change your name as often as you wish as there is no legal amount of times a name change can take place.
Children aged 16 to 18 years old
If you are aged between 16 and 18 and you want to change your name, you can quickly and easily follow the deed poll process without seeking the consent of those holding parental responsibility for you.
You will need to apply for an Adult Deed Poll and then have an independent witness sign your documentation.
Most people tend to choose a friend, work colleague or neighbour to witness their deed poll.
To complete the name change process, you will need to send out your signed deed poll documents to notify all record holders of your name change.
Children under the age of 16 years old
If you are under the age of 16 and wish to change your legal name, you must have permission from all persons holding parental responsibility for you.
Without the permission or consent of everyone holding parental responsibility for the child, organisations such as the Passport Office will not accept the deed poll and update the child’s records, which ultimately stops the name change taking place.
Parental responsibility comes in different forms and depends on the child’s situation, so it’s best to read our guide to find out who holds parental responsibility for the child.
How to change your name
Using the deed poll process to change your name is a 3-step process, which consists of;
1. Acquiring your deed poll
You can apply online and receive your deed poll documents within 1-2 working days, which provides you with a quick and efficient way to obtain your documents.
2. – Sign and witness your deed poll
We provide you with full instructions of how to correctly sign and have your deed poll witnessed for both Adult and Child’s applications.
You will need to follow our instructions that we provide to you, so that you can correctly sign your documents without any mistakes.
Most people tend to choose a neighbour, friend or work colleague to witness their deed poll as you are not allowed to use a family member or someone living at the same address.
3. Notify all record holders of your name change
To complete your name change and make it legal, you will need to notify all departments, companies and organisations of your name change.
To do this, you will need to send them a copy of your deed poll document, accompanied with a covering letter that we provide you with so that your records can be updated accordingly.
How long should it take to change my name?
You are able to receive your deed poll documents within less than 24 hours of applying online, which is very fast.
Unfortunately, receiving your deed poll is just the second step in the name change process, which means there are more steps to take in order to legally change your name.
- Obtaining your official name change documentation (1-2 days)
- Executing your deed poll (1 day)
- Notifying all record holders of your name change (2-8 weeks)*
This brief overview of how long your name change could take does depend on how many copies you obtain at your time of purchase, but it does show that you can change your legal name within 2-8 weeks generally.
*2-8 weeks is the timeframe we have given, but is based on you ordering at least 6 additional legal copies of your deed poll, if you are trying to keep the cost of changing your name down then it could be 8-12 weeks or longer.
As you can see from reading this short guide to how long it takes to change your name, it really does depend.
If you are seeking to change your name as quickly as possible, the best way to do that is to use our online order form and purchase at least 6-10 legal copies.
Doing this will enable you to change your name within 2-4 weeks, which is typically 4 weeks quicker than the time it takes most people to change their name.
Visit our website today and apply for your deed poll online.