Remember the episode from Friends in which Phoebe Buffay changed her name to ‘Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock’? While we don’t condone choosing something that wacky, you have the right to change your name (unless you’ve been convicted of certain felonies) at any point in life.
So whether you’re trying to leave behind an embarrassing middle name, validating your new identity or adding your spouse’s last name to yours, the process of changing your name is fairly easy. However, if you’re completely unfamiliar with the process, we’re outlining everything important you need to know. Let’s take a look.
The process is quite simple
Contrary to what you might have heard, the process of changing your name is quite simple. All you have to do is go online, fill out an easy application and pay the fees. Then your documents will be processed and arrive at the specified address. Next, you just have to sign these documents in front of a witness and send them back. And you’re done! The process usually takes about a couple of weeks and can be expedited by paying additional charges.
You don’t have to shell out a huge amount to legally change your name. Starting an adult Deed Poll costs approximately £18.50. The charges might vary depending on your customised requirements.
It can be anything but T&C apply
From Crap Bag to James Bond, you can literally name yourself anything you please. However, there are some restrictions imposed. For instance, you cannot include punctuation marks or any other symbols. The first name can’t exceed 250 characters and the last name can’t exceed 50 characters. Also, your new name must be pronounceable.
Even after considering these terms and conditions, you have the liberty to pick the most outrageous name. So get the creative juices flowing.
Legal & religious restrictions
Continuing the previous point, there are certain names that are completely off-limits for valid reasons. For instance, you cannot choose a blasphemous name or a name to promote political propaganda or racial hatred. Apart from these, you cannot give yourself certain titles or ranks such as Sir or Doctor.
Updating is time-consuming
Though the name changing process itself doesn’t take long, you’d be surprised to find how cumbersome it is to get your name updated on all your documents. From driving license, passports to utility bills, there will be endless documents to update.
And the worst part is, you have to individually go to the respective departments to update your new name. Therefore, when you change your name, be prepared to wait in offices and make several rounds to correct your name.
Choosing a name can be tricky
Perhaps the most tricky part about changing your name is actually picking out a name. It’s one thing to name a child, but naming yourself is an uncharted territory that most people won’t have the first clue about.
Your name should perfectly encapsulate your identity and personality, which can be tough to achieve. You can name yourself after an inspiring fictional character or a family member.
And finger-crossed, you don’t get inspired by Superbad and name yourself McLovin, but who are we to judge?
Do it for yourself
When you make the decision to change your name, be prepared for a lot of unsolicited advice coming your way. People will tell you that it’s not a good idea or project unwelcomed name suggestions.
But in the midst of all the noise, remind yourself that you’re doing this for you. Unless you’re doing it for fraudulent purposes to escape an obligation, then refrain from taking advantage of this right.
We hope this post gave you some clarity about the process of changing your name. Good luck!