Legal Requirements to Change Surname to Husband's Name in the UK

Written by peter mitchell
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Legal Requirements to Change Surname to Husband's Name in the UK
It's not compulsory in the UK for a bride to take her husband's name (marriage image by Mykola Velychko from

Much like in the USA, the majority of new brides in the UK choose to take their husband's surname after marriage. However, this is not a legal requirement. There are several different naming options available. Some of these can be done simply through signing the marriage certificate, but some require more complicated and expensive procedures.

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Changing to Husband's Surname

Adopting a husband's surname doesn't involve changing names via the UK Deed Poll naming service. Instead, a newly married woman can send a copy of her marriage certificate and a note confirming that she has changed surname, to relevant organisations. This includes banks, insurance companies and government departments---such as HM Revenue and Customs and the Identity and Passport Service. In most cases it won't cost anything to change surname, though there are exceptions. For example, in 2010 it costs £77.50 (around £74) for the standard name change service for a UK passport. Some organisations may request to see the original marriage certificate before making the requested change.

Double-barrelled Surnames

A double-barrelled surname is when the surnames of both husband and wife are hyphenated to create a linked single surname. If a couple chooses to have a double-barrelled name then it usually requires contacting the Deed Poll Service, the official UK name registrar.

It's possible to save money on Deed Poll registration by changing the man's surname well before the marriage via Deed Poll. After the couple are married, the bride can simply follow the normal process for taking her husband's surname. There is no legal requirement for whether the husband or wife's surname comes first in the double-barrelled name.

UK Deed Poll Service Freebournes Court Witham, England, CM8 2BL +44-333-444-8484

Keeping Maiden Name

Some brides choose to keep their maiden name. In this case there's no requirement to change via Deed Poll. However, if a bride wants to use "Mrs." before her name, then she needs to inform the departments and organisations mentioned above---except for the passport office.

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