Changing your name by deed poll

Introduction

There is no formality prescribed by law in Ireland for the change of a person’s name or the assumption of another name. You may change the name you commonly use by simply adopting a new name. However, you will probably experience some difficulty proving the change to both public and private bodies in the absence of a document referring to the change.

A deed poll is a signed declaration that binds you to a particular course of action from the date of signing. It is most often used to declare an intention to change one’s name. A deed poll for a change of name contains declarations (in other words a sworn statement or affidavit) that you are abandoning the use of your old name, that you will use your new name at all times and that you require everyone to use your new name.

Changing your name after marriage

There is no legal or other obligation on anyone in Ireland to change their name on marriage. The fact that some people do, is purely based on tradition and culture. They may, for example, wish to signify they have joined a new family and therefore take the new name - but this is purely a social or cultural choice and has no legal basis.

How you earn your name is by use and repute. Effectively this means for most purposes, if someone wants to be known by their married name (or any other), then they just use this name and ask people to call them by it.

Changing the surname of a child

The surname of a child can be changed in the Register of Births but only in certain circumstances. However, the surname of a child can also be changed by deed poll or common usage. Children aged between 14 and 17 years can execute the deed poll themselves but need the consent of both parents. Where a child is under the age of 14 years, one of the child's parents must execute the deed poll with the consent of the other parent.

Changing your name by deed poll

The advantage of changing your name by deed poll is that you then have documentary evidence that you have changed your name. This, along with your birth certificate, is acceptable for most administrative procedures and provides an easy and inexpensive solution to most of the difficulties that can arise when you change your name.

If you changed your name when you married, you do not need to execute a deed poll as you have your marriage certificate as evidence of your name change.

Rules

Executing a deed poll

Execution of a deed poll is a relatively simple process. You can get a solicitor to do it or you can do it yourself. You declare that you have given up a former name and adopted a new name for all purposes. You sign the deed poll in the presence of a witness. The witness must also swear an affidavit (called an affidavit of attesting witness) before a solicitor or commissioner for oaths.

See ‘How to apply’ below.

Enrolling the deed

There is no requirement to enroll the deed poll in the Central Office of the High Court as, generally, it has no greater effect than a deed poll which has not been enrolled. However, some organisations will only accept a deed poll which has been enrolled. If you are applying for a gender recognition certificate and you wish to use a deed poll to change your name, your deed poll must be enrolled.

The enrollment of a deed poll in the Central Office places your change of name on a publicly accessible record. In addition, enrolling the deed poll means that a record of the change of name is preserved for future identification and a certified copy of the original enrolled deed poll can be obtained if required.

To enroll your deed poll you must attend in person. You will have to bring certain documentation as well as a completed application form. The application form includes an acknowledgement that enrolling the deed results in it being available for public inspection and published on the Courts Service website.

You also have to pay stamp duty on the deed poll.

See How to apply below.

Change of name licence for non-EU nationals

Under Section 9 of the Aliens Act 1935, a non-EU national aged 18 or over must get a change of name licence from Immigration Service Delivery (ISD), previously called the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), before executing a deed poll. You can obtain an application form for a change of name licence by writing to the Change of Name Section in ISD.

There is more information on change of name licences on the ISD website.

Recognition of your new name

Your name change does not necessarily need to be supported by any documentary evidence though such evidence is often required for a wide range of administrative and legal matters.

Government bodies and services, for example, Revenue or the Passport Service, may need proof of your new name. Each body may have their own requirements for verifying the change. Some ask for a copy of the deed poll, others ask for an enrolled copy, and some may require proof of usage of your new name with documents that date back at least 2 years. You should contact any relevant organisations or bodies to check what their specific requirements are.

Rates

There is a small fee to have the affidavit of attesting witness sworn before a commissioner for oaths or a practising solicitor.

There is no fixed rate of charges for legal fees, so you should enquire in advance for information on such charges.

If you enrol the deed poll in the Central Office of the High Court, you will have to pay stamp duty of €60.

How to apply

To execute the deed poll, you can get a solicitor to do it or you can do it yourself. You can download a template of an adult deed poll from the Courts Service website. The deed poll must be printed on deed paper (which is available from legal stationers). You sign the deed poll in your old name and your new name. You must sign it in the presence of a witness.

The witness must be at least 18 years of age. They must sign the deed poll as witness. They must also swear an affidavit before a solicitor or commissioner for oaths stating that they witnessed the signing of the deed poll. You can download a template of an affidavit of attesting witness from the Courts Service website.

There is a small fee for swearing the affidavit before a solicitor or commissioner for oaths.

If you want to change the name of a child by deed poll you should contact the Central Office of the High Court and ask for examples of the necessary documents.

Enrolling the deed

There is no requirement to enroll the deed poll in the Central Office of the High Court as it has no greater effect than a deed poll which has not been enrolled. If you do want to enroll your deed poll you must attend the Central Office in person. The service for personal callers to the Central Office is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 10.00am to 12.30pm. There is no appointment system and customers are dealt with in order.

You will require:

  • The deed poll executed correctly
  • Evidence of your previous name (for example, a birth certificate, marriage certificate, previous name change by deed poll, certificate of naturalisation)
  • A change of name licence (if you are a non-EU national)
  • Photographic proof of identification

You have to complete an application form which includes an acknowledgement that enrolling the deed results in it being available for public inspection and published on the Courts Service website. You can download an application form to enroll a deed poll from the Courts Service website.

You also have to pay stamp duty on the deed poll.

Due to current COVID-19 public health restrictions, the Deed Poll counter service is closed.

Further information is available on the Courts Service website.

Where to apply

Deed Poll Section

Central Office of the High Court
Four Courts
Ground Floor (East Wing)
Inns Quay
Dublin 7
Ireland

Opening Hours: Personal callers Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.00am to 12.30pm
Tel: (01) 888 6000
Fax: (01) 888 6125

For a change of name licence apply to the Change of Name Section of the

Change of Name Licence Section

Department of Justice

Immigration Service Delivery
3rd Floor
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2
Ireland


Page edited: 15 April 2021