For all individuals that were born and registered in Scotland (or legally adopted) there is the opportunity to change their birth name.
You can do this by contacting the General Register Office for Scotland and filling out the correct forms. This differs from other areas of the UK.
You can contact the General Register Office via post, visit, telephone or email (www.gro-scotland.gov.uk). The completed and signed form should be returned to them for processing. In most cases this should be successful.
Where this is not possible, Scots can also apply for a Deed Poll document (same as the rest of the UK). A Deed Poll is a form of Legal contract and is accepted by all organisations, companies and bodies within the UK and British Embassies across the world.
In order to attain this documentation, you may be asked to prove that you do not intend to commit a crime such as fraud by changing your name. On a similar thread, if you have been declared bankrupt it is essential that your previous name is made known. Deed Polls can be created at home on the condition they are acceptable to relevant agencies.
There are now literally hundreds of websites and organisations offering to supply Deed Poll documentation (www.Deedpoll.org.uk is the most popular). In the age of convenience changing a name can take a few clicks of a button. In reality, the actual process takes up to two weeks to complete all paperwork. Deed Polls can be issued by Solicitors and organisations.
Although most names are acceptable there are basic criteria you should consider before submitting to changing your name. You may not use symbols, vulgar language, academic qualification (without relevant proof) or a group of letters that cannot be pronounced.
As with a change of address, there are a number of important bodies you legally must contact when you change your name. These include:
- Passport – this is the only item that will result in charge
- Driving Licence
- Bank Accounts (including Credit Cards)
- Medical Records
- Council Tax
- Mortgage Provider
- Utility Provider
The list is almost inexhaustible so it is recommended to create a personal check list in order to inform all parties.
If you are under 16, then appropriate paperwork must be signed by parent or guardian.
In Scotland it is possible to change a name on a Birth Certificate but please note the original name will be retained on the paperwork. There is a £40 charge for this service.
There are limitations on the number of times a name can be changed at the General Registry Office. For all adults (over the age of 16) one change of first name and a maximum of three changes of surname can be recorded. It is worth noting that further name changes can take place but cannot be registered.
Good luck if you decide to change your name but a word of caution – professional bodies are less likely to take you seriously if you become something amusing!