Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name in Scotland: Understanding and Navigating the Process

Introduction to Changing your Name in Scotland - A Legal Overview

Changing your name in Scotland is a significant decision that can be influenced by various personal reasons, including marriage, divorce, or the desire for a name that better reflects your identity. Understanding the legalities and procedures involved is crucial for a smooth transition. Scotland's legal framework for name changes offers flexibility and simplicity, but it differs from other parts of the United Kingdom in certain aspects.

The Legal Process for Changing Your Name in Scotland

In Scotland, the process of legally changing your name is governed by common law, which means it is based on custom and judicial precedent rather than statutory law. This flexibility allows individuals to change their first name, surname, or both without a formal legal procedure. Adults can change their name simply by adopting a new name and using it consistently in all aspects of their life.

However, for the change to be legally recognised across all official documents and records, it's advisable to obtain a document that evidences the name change.

For those seeking formal recognition of their new name, a 'Deed Poll'—more commonly referred to in Scotland as a 'Statutory Declaration of Name Change'—is used. Though the term 'Deed Poll' is widely recognised, it's important to note that in Scotland, the process involves making a statutory declaration before a witness who is authorised to administer oaths (e.g., a solicitor or notary public).

Differences Between Scotland and Other UK Regions

One of the main distinctions between changing your name in Scotland and other parts of the UK, such as England and Wales, lies in the terminology and the specific legal documents involved. In England and Wales, the Deed Poll is a widely used legal document for changing one's name, and it can be enrolled in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for public record. In contrast, Scotland does not require the enrolment of name change documents for them to be legally valid. Instead, a Statutory Declaration or sometimes a recorded change in the Register of Sasines (for property owners) suffices.Another key difference is the ease with which children’s names can be changed.

In Scotland, children aged 16 and 17 can change their name without parental consent, reflecting Scotland's legal system's recognition of younger individuals' capacity to make significant personal decisions. For children under 16, consent from all individuals with parental responsibility is required.
"Scotland does not require the enrolment of name change documents for them to be legally valid."

Understanding the nuances of changing your name in Scotland is essential for anyone considering this significant step. The process is marked by its straightforwardness and respect for individual autonomy, allowing Scots to navigate their identity changes with ease and legal support. Whether opting for a Statutory Declaration of Name Change or using a new name in everyday life, the key is consistent use and updating all relevant documents to reflect your new identity.

This introduction aims to demystify the process of changing your name in Scotland, providing a solid foundation for anyone looking to understand the legal implications and procedures involved in adopting a new name.

Understanding the use of Deed Polls in Scotland ( Statutory Declaration of Name Change )

In Scotland, the concept of a Deed Poll, more accurately referred to as a 'Statutory Declaration of Name Change,' represents a formal declaration by an individual to abandon their previous name and adopt a new one for all legal and personal purposes. While the term 'Deed Poll' is widely recognised and used across the United Kingdom, the Scottish legal system adopts a slightly different approach in facilitating name changes, emphasising statutory declarations.

Definition and Legal Standing

A Deed Poll in Scotland, in essence, is not a deed in the traditional sense used in England and Wales but a legally binding declaration made in front of a notary public or solicitor. This document does not change your name itself; instead, it provides incontrovertible evidence of your intention and action to change your name. The legal standing of a Statutory Declaration of Name Change is robust, as it is recognised by government bodies, financial institutions, and other organisations, enabling individuals to update their name on passports, driving licences, bank accounts, and other official documents.

Historical Context and Its Relevance Today

The use of deeds for name changes has a long history in the UK, with the process evolving over centuries to accommodate the changing societal norms and legal requirements. In Scotland, the historical context of name changes is deeply intertwined with the country's distinct legal system and societal values, emphasising the importance of individual rights and the recognition of personal identity.

Historically, name changes in Scotland were often recorded in family Bibles or through public announcements in newspapers. Over time, the process formalised, reflecting the need for a more standardised and legally recognised method. Today, while the term 'Deed Poll' is commonly used, the correct procedure involves a Statutory Declaration, underscoring Scotland's unique approach to legal documentation and the importance of a witnessed declaration.

The relevance of this method today lies in its simplicity and the empowerment it offers individuals in controlling their identity. In a world where identity can significantly impact personal and professional opportunities, the ability to legally affirm one's chosen name is a powerful tool.

Scotland's approach to name changes by Deed Poll (Statutory Declaration) remains an essential aspect of its legal system, providing a straightforward and accessible means for individuals to align their legal identity with their personal sense of self.
"Scotland's approach to name changes respects both tradition and your right to choose your own identity."

In summary, the Deed Poll in Scotland, through its practical application as a Statutory Declaration of Name Change, offers a legally recognised method for individuals to change their names. Its historical roots and continued relevance today highlight the Scottish legal system's commitment to recognising and facilitating personal identity changes, ensuring that individuals have the necessary legal mechanisms to navigate life under their chosen name.

Deed Poll vs. Statutory Declaration: Understanding the Differences for Name Changes in Scotland

In Scotland, the process of legally changing one's name involves nuanced procedures that reflect the country's distinct legal system. Two terms often encountered in this context are Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration. While the former is widely recognised across the UK, the latter is more pertinent within Scottish jurisdiction. Here, we delve into the key differences between these two methods and the situations where one might be preferred over the other, all while adhering to the nuances of British English.

Key Differences Between Deed Polls and Statutory Declarations

Deed Polls:

Traditionally, a Deed Poll is a legal document that signifies an individual's intention to change their name and requires them to renounce their former name in favour of a new one. It's unilateral, meaning it's a declaration by one person to all and sundry.

In England and Wales, this document is formally recognised for the purpose of changing one's name. However, the concept of a Deed Poll in the Scottish legal landscape is not as straightforward, given Scotland's unique legal principles and practices.

Statutory Declaration:

In contrast, Scotland favours the Statutory Declaration for the official change of a name. A Statutory Declaration is a legal document declared in the presence of someone authorised to administer oaths (such as a solicitor or notary public). It states the declarant's intention to abandon their old name and adopt a new one for all purposes. This document is a formal declaration made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1835, and it carries significant legal weight in Scotland.

Situations Where One May Be Preferred Over the Other

Given the legal distinctions in Scotland, the Statutory Declaration is the standard and preferred method for changing one's name. This preference is rooted in Scotland's legal requirements and the process's ease and straightforwardness.

The Statutory Declaration is widely accepted by government bodies, financial institutions, and other organisations, making it the most efficient way to ensure all records reflect the new name.

However, the term Deed Poll is still recognised and understood by many, even in Scotland, due to the commonality of legal terminology across the UK. Individuals moving to Scotland from other parts of the UK, where they have changed their name by Deed Poll, will find that their Deed Poll is respected and acknowledged for practical purposes like updating bank records or obtaining a new passport.

Preference in Specific Situations:

For Local Use in Scotland:

A Statutory Declaration is the recommended choice for residents due to its direct alignment with Scottish law. It's the most straightforward and legally sound method to change your name.

For Those Relocating to Scotland: Individuals who have previously changed their name by Deed Poll in another part of the UK will generally not need to take any additional steps. However, if they wish to update their legal documents within Scotland, they may be advised to make a Statutory Declaration for consistency within the Scottish legal system.

International Circumstances: For Scots living abroad or those who have changed their names outside of Scotland, a Statutory Declaration made before a diplomatic or consular official may be necessary to update records back home.
"Moving to Scotland with a Deed Poll? Rest assured, your name change is likely still valid, but a Statutory Declaration streamlines the process further."

In summary, while the Deed Poll is a well-recognised method for name change across the UK, Scotland's preference for the Statutory Declaration stems from its specific legal framework and the declaration's robustness within this system. Understanding these differences ensures individuals can navigate the process of changing their name in Scotland with clarity and confidence, ensuring their new identity is legally recognised in all facets of life.

How to Change Your Name in Scotland: Eligibility and Requirements

Changing your name in Scotland is a personal decision with a straightforward legal process. Whether you're embracing a new chapter in life or aligning your identity to your true self, understanding the legalities, eligibility, and necessary documentation is paramount. This section provides an SEO-optimised overview of what you need to know about changing your name in Scotland, from age restrictions to the essential paperwork.

Eligibility and Requirements

Age Restrictions:

In Scotland, the law permits individuals aged 16 and over to change their name without requiring parental or guardian consent. This autonomy reflects Scotland's legal stance on personal identity rights. For those under the age of 16, changes to names require the consent of all individuals with parental responsibilities. This process ensures that the best interests of the minor are considered and protected.

Residency Requirements:

Changing your name in Scotland doesn't hinge on strict residency requirements. However, the process may differ for those not domiciled or ordinarily resident in Scotland. If you live outside Scotland but wish to undergo the name change process under Scottish law, it's advisable to seek legal counsel to understand the implications and ensure compliance with local and Scottish regulations.

Necessary Documentation:

To initiate a name change in Scotland, several pieces of documentation are required. These serve to verify your current identity and support the legal process of adopting a new name:

Proof of Current Name:

Presenting a current passport, driving licence, or birth certificate provides a certified anchor to your existing legal identity.

Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration:

Although Deed Polls are more commonly associated with name changes in other parts of the UK, in Scotland, a Statutory Declaration is often used. This document is a formal statement made in the presence of a solicitor, justice of the peace, or notary public, declaring your intention to change your name and use it for all future purposes.

Additional Identification:

Depending on the institutions you'll be updating with your new name (such as banks, educational institutions, or passport office), additional forms of identification or documentation may be required.

Beginning the Process

To commence the name change process in Scotland, start by gathering the necessary documentation and deciding whether a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration suits your situation best. For those opting for a Statutory Declaration, contacting a legal professional to draft the document is the next step.

This ensures that the declaration meets all legal requirements and is witnessed appropriately.Changing your name is a significant step that requires careful consideration and proper adherence to legal procedures. By following the guidelines outlined above and consulting with legal experts when necessary, you can navigate the name change process in Scotland with confidence and clarity, embarking on a new chapter in your life under your chosen name.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Your Name by Deed Poll in Scotland

Changing your name by Deed Poll in Scotland is a process that, while straightforward, requires attention to detail and adherence to specific steps to ensure legal validity. This guide offers a comprehensive walkthrough of how to change your name, including drafting a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, key documents in the name change process within Scottish jurisdiction.

Drafting a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration

Step 1: Decide on Your New Name:

The first step in changing your name is deciding on the new name you wish to adopt. It's important to consider the implications of your new name in both personal and professional contexts.

Step 2: Understand the Document Requirements:

Deed Poll:

Typically used in other parts of the UK, a Deed Poll is a legal document not commonly utilised in Scotland for name changes. However, if you choose this route, it involves declaring your intention to abandon your old name and use your new name at all times.

Statutory Declaration:

In Scotland, changing your name is more commonly executed through a Statutory Declaration. This legal statement is made before someone authorised to administer oaths (e.g., a solicitor, notary public, or justice of the peace).

Step 3: Draft the Document:

Whether opting for a Deed Poll or a Statutory Declaration, the document should include:

- Your full old name and your full new name.
- A declaration of your intention to cease using your old name and to adopt and use your new name for all purposes.
- A pledge to require all persons to address you by your new name only.

Step 4: Witnessing Your Document:

Deed Poll:

If using a Deed Poll (less common in Scotland), it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are over 18 years of age and are not related to you.

Statutory Declaration:

This document must be signed in the presence of an authorised person, such as a solicitor. The solicitor will also sign the document, attesting to your identity and your declaration.

Step 5: Legalise the Document (If Necessary):

While not always required, you may need to have your Statutory Declaration legalised, especially if you plan to use it outside the UK. This process, known as apostilling, authenticates the signature of the solicitor or notary public.

Step 6: Notify Relevant Organisations:

Once your Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration is completed and witnessed, you'll need to inform various organisations of your new name. This includes, but is not limited to, banks, the DVLA, HM Passport Office, employers, and educational institutions. You will likely need to provide them with a certified copy of your name change document.

Step 7: Update Your Identification Documents:

Apply to update your legal identification documents with your new name. This includes your passport, driving licence, and any other official identification. Each organisation will have its own process for updating your details.

Step 8: Keep Records:

Retain a copy of your Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration for your records. It's also advisable to obtain several certified copies as some organisations may require an original document to process your name change

Changing your name is a personal milestone and, by following these steps, you can ensure the process is handled correctly and legally in Scotland. Whether you choose a Deed Poll or a Statutory Declaration, the key is thorough preparation and compliance with Scottish legal practices to smoothly transition to your new name.

Witness Requirements for Name Change Documents in Scotland

When changing your name in Scotland through a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, having your document properly witnessed is a crucial step to ensure its legal validity. This section outlines the guidelines on who can act as a witness for your name change document and the legal obligations these witnesses must adhere to.Guidelines on Who Can Witness Your Document

Guidelines on Who Can Witness Your Document

Statutory Declaration Witnesses:

A Statutory Declaration must be signed in the presence of someone authorised to administer oaths, such as a solicitor, notary public, or a justice of the peace.The witness must be a professional individual who is registered to practice in Scotland and possesses the legal authority to certify documents.

Deed Poll Witnesses (If Applicable):

Although Deed Polls are less commonly used in Scotland, if you opt for this method, your document needs to be signed in front of two witnesses.Witnesses must be over 18 years of age, must not be related to you, and should not stand to benefit from the name change.Ideally, witnesses should be individuals known to you, such as friends or colleagues, who can vouch for your identity.

Legal Obligations of Witnesses

Verify the Signatory’s Identity:

Witnesses are required to verify the identity of the person changing their name. This means the witness should personally know the individual or have sufficient evidence of the individual's identity at the time of signing.

Confirm Understanding and Willingness:

Witnesses must confirm that the signatory understands the document and signs it willingly, without any coercion or duress.

Witness the Signature:

The primary role of a witness is to observe the signatory signing the document. The witness then signs the document themselves, affirming they have witnessed the signing.

Provide Details:

Witnesses are required to provide their own details on the document, including their name, address, and occupation. This information is necessary should further verification of the witnessing be required at a later date.

Maintain Confidentiality:

Witnesses have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of the information contained in the document they are witnessing.

No Financial Interest:

Witnesses should not have any financial interest in the name change, ensuring their impartiality in the witnessing process.

Selecting appropriate witnesses is an essential part of the name change process in Scotland. Whether through a Statutory Declaration or a Deed Poll, understanding the role and responsibilities of witnesses helps to ensure that your name change document is legally recognised and enforceable.

By following these guidelines, individuals seeking to change their name can navigate this crucial step with confidence, knowing their document meets all necessary legal standards.

After Changing Your Name in Scotland

Once you've legally changed your name in Scotland, the next important step is to notify relevant parties and update your official documents. This ensures that your new name is recognised across all legal and personal spheres, minimising any potential confusion or issues.

Here's a comprehensive guide to help you through this process.

Notifying Relevant Parties

Notifying various organisations and authorities about your name change is crucial. Below is a checklist of entities you should inform, along with a brief guide on drafting template letters for notification purposes.

Comprehensive Checklist:

- Employers: Inform your HR department or manager to update employment records and payroll details.

- Banks and Financial Institutions: Update your bank accounts, loans, mortgages, and any investments.

- Utility Providers: Notify your gas, electricity, water, and internet providers.

- Government Bodies: This includes HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the Local Council for council tax records.

- Passport Office: To update your passport.

- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA): For driving licence and vehicle registration documents.

- NHS Scotland: Update your health records to reflect your new name.

- Insurance Companies: Ensure all your insurance policies are in your new name.

- Educational Institutions: If you're studying or hold qualifications under your previous name.

- Membership Organisations/Clubs: Anywhere you have a membership under your old name.

Template Letters for Notifying:

Drafting a template letter for notification can simplify the process. Your letter should include:

- Your old name and new name clearly stated.
- Your address and contact information.
- The date of name change and a request to update their records.
- Attach a certified copy of your name change document as evidence.
- Request confirmation of the update in writing.

Updating Official Documents

Updating your official documents is a critical step to ensure your new name is recognised legally and socially.

Procedures for Updating Key Documents:

Passport: Contact the Passport Office to apply for a new passport in your new name. You'll need to fill out the appropriate application form and submit it along with your name change document and current passport.

Driving Licence: Inform the DVLA of your name change and apply for a new licence. A D1 application form will be required, along with your deed poll or statutory declaration, and your existing driving licence.

NHS Records: Contact your GP surgery to update your NHS records. Provide them with a copy of your name change document to facilitate the update.

Electoral Register: To update your name on the electoral roll, contact your local Electoral Registration Office with evidence of your name change.

Changing Your Name on Legal Documents:

Legal Contracts: You may need to update your name on property deeds, wills, and other legal contracts. Consult a solicitor for advice on these changes.

Marriage or Birth Certificates: In Scotland, changing your name does not alter your birth certificate or marriage certificate. However, your deed poll or statutory declaration can be used as evidence of your name change alongside these documents.
"Your new name, everywhere.  Make sure your passport, driving licence, utilities, and accounts reflect the change."

By following these steps and ensuring all relevant parties are notified, and official documents are updated, you can seamlessly transition to your new name in Scotland. Remember, each organisation may have its own process for updating your name, so it's advisable to check their specific requirements.

Special Circumstances: Name Changes in Scotland

Navigating the name change process in Scotland involves understanding specific situations that might influence the procedure. Whether changing a child's name or altering your own due to changes in marital status, it's essential to be informed about the legal requirements and necessary documentation.

Changing a Child’s Name in Scotland

Changing a minor's name in Scotland requires careful consideration and adherence to legal protocols to safeguard the child's interests.

Legal Requirements and Process:

Parental Consent: The consent of all individuals with parental responsibilities is mandatory. This includes parents named on the birth certificate or those granted parental responsibilities and rights through legal means.

Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration: Similar to adults, a deed poll or statutory declaration can be used to change a child's name. However, this document must be signed by all parties with parental responsibility.

Court Order: In instances where parental consent cannot be obtained (for example, if one parent is uncontactable), a court order may be required to change a child’s name.

Consent Forms and Parental Agreements:

Documentation: A written agreement or consent form signed by all parties with parental responsibility should accompany the deed poll or statutory declaration. This serves as proof of consent for the name change.

Witness Requirements: As with adult name changes, the signature process must be witnessed, though specific criteria may vary slightly given the child’s circumstances.Marriage, Divorce, and Civil Partnership in ScotlandYour marital status can significantly affect the name change process, offering simpler pathways in some instances but requiring specific documentation in others.


Using Spouse’s Surname: In Scotland, you can assume your spouse’s surname without a formal deed poll or statutory declaration. Your marriage certificate serves as sufficient evidence for most organisations to update your records.

Returning to Maiden Name: If you wish to revert to your maiden name after marriage, your marriage certificate and a signed statement declaring your return to your maiden name are often enough for most legal and official purposes.


Reverting to Maiden Name: Following a divorce, you may revert to your maiden name using your divorce decree and, if needed, a signed statement. Some organisations may require a deed poll or statutory declaration as additional proof.

Changing to a New Name: If you decide on a completely new name post-divorce, the standard deed poll or statutory declaration process applies.

Civil Partnership:

Name Change After Formation: Entering into or dissolving a civil partnership allows for a name change process similar to marriage and divorce. Your civil partnership certificate or dissolution order, alongside a signed statement for reversion or change, typically suffices.

Specific Documentation:

For Marriage and Civil Partnerships: The marriage or civil partnership certificate is your primary document for changing your name.

For Divorce: The decree absolute or final order proves the legal end of your marriage or civil partnership and supports your name change.
"Married, divorced, or newly single? Your name change process in Scotland depends on your situation."

Understanding these special circumstances ensures that individuals in Scotland are well-prepared to navigate the name change process, regardless of their specific situations.

Always ensure that you have the correct legal documentation and consent when proceeding with a name change, particularly in more complex scenarios like changing a child's name or adjusting your name following a significant life event like marriage or divorce.

Deed Poll Records and Copies: Securing Your Name Change Documentation in Scotland

When you change your name by Deed Poll in Scotland, safeguarding this crucial document is paramount. This page explores the significance of archiving your Deed Poll, offers guidance on how to securely store and access copies, and details the process for obtaining additional certified copies.

Archiving Your Deed Poll

Importance of Keeping a Record of Your Deed Poll

Your Deed Poll is the legal testament to your name change, serving as indispensable proof for altering your name across all official and personal documents. Keeping a secure record ensures that you can readily demonstrate your legal name change whenever required, be it for updating your passport, driving licence, or informing financial institutions.

How to Safely Store and Retrieve Copies of Your Deed Poll

Digital Storage: Consider scanning and storing a digital copy of your Deed Poll in a secure cloud storage service. This not only safeguards it against physical damage but also ensures it is easily accessible from anywhere.

Physical Copies: Keep the original document in a safe, fireproof location. You might also store copies with trusted family members or in a safety deposit box for added security.

Record Details:
Note down where your Deed Poll and any copies are stored so that you or your loved ones can access them without hassle.

Obtaining Additional Copies

Process for Requesting Certified Copies of Your Deed Poll in ScotlandIf you find yourself in need of more copies of your Deed Poll, whether for personal records or to furnish various organisations with a copy, the process is straightforward:

Contact the Solicitor or Service Provider: Reach out to the solicitor or professional service that facilitated your Deed Poll. They can issue certified copies that hold the same legal weight as the original.

Local Courts: Alternatively, if your Deed Poll was processed or witnessed by a local court, they may be able to provide certified copies upon request.

Fees Associated with Additional Copies

Service Provider Fees: Most service providers or solicitors will charge a fee for additional certified copies. These fees can vary, so it's advisable to confirm the cost beforehand.

Court Fees: If obtaining copies from a court, there might be a nominal administrative fee involved. Again, this can vary, so checking with the specific court is recommended.
"Safeguard your Scottish Deed Poll.  Store it properly and understand how to obtain certified copies. "

Maintaining a comprehensive archive of your Deed Poll and understanding how to obtain additional copies are crucial steps in managing your name change effectively in Scotland. By ensuring your Deed Poll is securely stored and easily accessible, you'll navigate the name change process with confidence, fully prepared for any legal verifications or updates to personal and official documents. Remember, your Deed Poll is a key legal document—treat it with the care and attention it deserves.

Legal and Privacy Considerations in Changing Your Name in Scotland

Changing your name is not just a personal milestone; it carries significant legal and privacy implications. Below, we delve into how a name change impacts legal contracts and addresses anonymity concerns, as well as strategies for fraud prevention.

Legal Implications of Changing Your Name

Impact on Legal Contracts, Wills, and Other Binding Agreements

A change of name by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration in Scotland legally binds you to your new name, necessitating updates across all legal documents to reflect this change. This includes, but is not limited to:

Legal Contracts: Any existing contracts under your previous name remain valid but should be updated to prevent any confusion or legal ambiguity.

Wills and Estates:
It's crucial to update your will to reflect your new name, ensuring clarity for executors and beneficiaries.

Property Titles and Mortgages: Property ownership documents and mortgage agreements should also be updated to ensure legal consistency across all your assets.

Anonymity and Privacy Concerns with Public Records

While Deed Polls in Scotland are not centrally registered, creating a degree of privacy, individuals should be aware of situations where their name change might become public:

Publication Requirements: Certain legal processes may require publicising your name change, such as enrolling a Deed Poll for added legal recognition.

Public Records: Changing your name on public records like the electoral roll could potentially expose your name change to public scrutiny.

Fraud Prevention

Measures to Prevent Fraud and Identity TheftChanging your name requires careful consideration of identity security. Here are measures to bolster your defences against fraud during and after the name change process:

Notify all Relevant Parties: Ensure every institution and organisation with which you hold an account or membership is informed of your name change promptly to avoid discrepancies that could be exploited for fraud.

Secure Documentation: Store your Deed Poll and identification documents securely. Shred any obsolete documents bearing your old name that could be misused.

Monitor Credit Reports: Regularly check your credit report following a name change to detect any unusual activity or attempts at identity theft early on.

Changing your name in Scotland is a legally binding action with far-reaching implications for your privacy and security. It is essential to approach this process with a thorough understanding of its impact on legal agreements and to take proactive steps to safeguard your identity.

By meticulously updating your legal documents, being mindful of privacy concerns, and implementing fraud prevention measures, you can ensure a smooth transition to your new name while maintaining your legal and financial integrity.

Guidance for Transgender and Non-Binary Individuals in Scotland

Changing your name is a significant step for many transgender and non-binary individuals in Scotland, reflecting their true identity in all aspects of life. The process is both a legal and personal journey, and understanding the specific steps, rights, and resources available can make the transition smoother and more affirming.

Legal Process for Name Change

In Scotland, the process for changing your name for transgender and non-binary individuals follows the same legal procedures as for any other resident. This typically involves creating a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration to legally formalise the change of name.

Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration:

Both documents are legally recognised for changing your name. A Deed Poll is widely used and can be enrolled for public record, though this is not a requirement. A Statutory Declaration, on the other hand, is a sworn statement before someone authorised to administer oaths (such as a solicitor).


After changing your name, you must notify relevant parties, such as the DVLA, HM Passport Office, your bank, employer, and any other institutions where your name is registered.

Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)

For those seeking to change their gender marker on official documents, obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) is an additional step. The GRC allows you to change your legal gender on your birth certificate and other official records in Scotland.

Application for a GRC:

You can apply for a GRC through the Gender Recognition Panel of the UK Government. The process involves providing evidence of your gender dysphoria diagnosis, proof of living in your acquired gender for a specified period, and an intention to live permanently in your acquired gender.

Additional Resources and Support

Scottish Trans Alliance: Provides resources, support, and advocacy for transgender and non-binary individuals in Scotland. Their website offers detailed guidance on legal rights, healthcare, and social support services.

LGBT Youth Scotland: Offers a range of services and support for young transgender and non-binary individuals, including advice on name changes and gender recognition.

Equality Network: A leading Scottish charity working for LGBTI rights, the Equality Network provides information on legal issues affecting the transgender community, including detailed guides on changing your name and obtaining a GRC.
"Your identity, your journey. Learn how to change your name legally in Scotland as a transgender or non-binary person. "

Privacy Considerations

For many in the transgender and non-binary community, privacy during the name change process is a significant concern. Using a Deed Poll and choosing not to enrol it provides a level of privacy, as the change of name is not made public. However, when applying for a GRC, some details may become part of public record. Support organisations can provide advice on navigating these concerns, ensuring your transition is handled with sensitivity and confidentiality.

Changing your name and gender marker in Scotland is a deeply personal decision with legal implications. By following the established legal framework and utilising the support resources available, transgender and non-binary individuals can navigate this process with confidence. Always consider seeking advice from legal professionals or support organisations specialising in transgender rights to ensure your rights are protected throughout your transition.

Frequently Asked Question ( FAQs ): Changing Your Name in Scotland

1. Can I change my name in Scotland using a Deed Poll?

Yes, you can change your name in Scotland using a Deed Poll. Although the process might vary slightly from other parts of the UK, a Deed Poll is a recognised legal document in Scotland that allows you to officially change your name.

2. Is the process different in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK?

The process is broadly similar, but Scotland has its own legal system, so there are some nuances. For instance, the use of a Statutory Declaration alongside a Deed Poll can be more common in Scotland, especially for certain official changes.

3. What documents do I need to change my name in Scotland?

To change your name in Scotland, you will need to draft a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, have it witnessed, and then use this document to update your name across all personal records and identification documents.

4. Who can witness my Deed Poll in Scotland?

Your Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration must be witnessed by someone who is not related to you, over 18 years of age, and ideally someone of good standing in the community (e.g., a solicitor, teacher, or doctor).

5. How do I let organisations know about my name change?

After changing your name, you'll need to inform all relevant organisations, such as banks, utility companies, and government bodies. It's recommended to provide them with a certified copy of your Deed Poll as proof of your name change.

6. Can I change my child’s name by Deed Poll in Scotland?

Yes, but you'll need the consent of all individuals with parental responsibility. For children aged 16 and 17, their express consent is also required alongside the parental consent.

7. What if my Deed Poll is not accepted?
While it's rare for a Deed Poll to be not accepted in Scotland, if you encounter any issues, ensure the document complies with all legal requirements. If problems persist, seeking advice from a solicitor may be beneficial.

8. How much does it cost to change my name by Deed Poll in Scotland?

The cost can vary depending on whether you draft the Deed Poll yourself or use a professional service. Additional costs may arise for certified copies or if you decide to enrol your Deed Poll for added legal recognition.

9. Can I revert to my previous name using a Deed Poll?

Yes, you can revert to your previous name at any time using a Deed Poll, following the same process as changing to a new name.

10. Do I need to enrol my Deed Poll for it to be recognised in Scotland?

Enrolling your Deed Poll is not a requirement for it to be recognised in Scotland. However, enrolment can add an extra layer of official recognition and is advisable in certain circumstances.

11. How do I update my passport and driving licence?

To update your passport and driving licence, you'll need to apply to the respective agencies (HM Passport Office and the DVLA) with your new name, providing a certified copy of your Deed Poll as evidence.

12. Can I use a Deed Poll to change my name on my birth certificate?

No, a Deed Poll cannot be used to change the name on your birth certificate in Scotland. Your birth certificate will remain as a record of your name at birth, but you can use your Deed Poll as evidence of your change of name for legal and identification purposes.Remember, changing your name is a significant legal step. Ensure you understand all the implications and requirements before proceeding with a name change in Scotland.

13. How long does the name change process take in Scotland?

The time frame can vary depending on how quickly you can get your Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration witnessed and how promptly you notify all relevant parties. Drafting and witnessing the document can be done relatively quickly, but updating all your records may take several weeks.

Resources and Support

Changing your name in Scotland is a significant decision, and it's important to have access to the right resources and support throughout the process. Below, you'll find a curated list of external links and resources, including official government sites, legal advice resources, and support groups, to guide you through your name change in Scotland.

External Links and Resources

Deed Polls Online: For drafting and securing a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration for your name change, visit Deed Polls Online. They offer comprehensive services and guidance on how to legally change your name in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Scottish Government: For information on the legal process and requirements for changing your name in Scotland, the Scottish Government's official website is a valuable resource. Find more details at

Citizens Advice Scotland: For free, impartial advice on changing your name, Citizens Advice Scotland provides extensive guidance. Visit their page on personal matters at

The National Records of Scotland: For enquiries about enrolling a Deed Poll and accessing historical deed poll records, the National Records of Scotland is the authoritative source. Learn more at

Law Society of Scotland: If you're seeking a legal advisor or solicitor to assist with your name change, the Law Society of Scotland offers a directory of accredited professionals. Find a solicitor near you at

Scottish Trans Alliance: For support and advice on name changes related to gender identity, the Scottish Trans Alliance provides resources and assistance. Visit their website at