Changing your name (formally)

Changing your name may be part of your transition, but the process can feel confusing and overwhelming.


Here you’ll find guidance on how to change your name. 

Informal name change

You can change your name any time informally by asking friends or people at school or work to use a different name. This can help you explore new names, before choosing one more permanently.

Formal name change

You need to be aged over 16 to change your name formally. There are two main ways to do so:


  • Statutory declaration
  • Deed poll 


These won’t allow you to change the name on your birth certificate – only a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) will let you do this.

A statutory declaration is a signed piece of paper that says that you now use another name. It is a legal document so needs to be witnessed by a solicitor or the courts (Justice of Peace).  


Once completed, you can update your ID documents to your new name. 


Step-by step-guide


  • Write your declaration using the template on the Scottish Trans Alliance website. You can pay a solicitor to write the declaration for you if you prefer. 
  • Next, print out your declaration so it can be witnessed.
  • There are now two options to get your document witnessed: 
    1. Contact a solicitor and arrange for them to witness the statutory declaration for you. They will charge you for this, so we recommend getting a price in advance.
    2. You can also get it witnessed for free via the courts through a justice of the peace
  • Get in touch to arrange this, and attend an appointment.
  • They will usually ask you to read your declaration out loud, confirming that your statement is true. Be prepared that you might have to read your previous name out loud.
  • While you’re there it’s a good idea to get some certified copies to use when you’re updating other documents like your passport and national insurance. There may be a charge for this – you could ask them in advance when you call them.

It is possible to buy a deed poll, or make your own one for free.

Free deed poll

You don’t have to buy a deed poll for it to be recognised, so it is possible to use a free template and make your own.


Once complete you will need two people to sign it in order for it to be valid. There is a chance you may be questioned when trying to use it. You might want to print it out on high-quality paper to make it look more official.

An enrolled deed poll

Some organisations may not accept a free deed poll as proof of your new name. Ask the organisation you’re dealing with (for example your bank) if they need an ‘enrolled’ deed poll instead.


An enrolled deed poll is public – this might not be suitable if you’re not ready to share your transition.

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