How to change your name
There is no formality set out in 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 without 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 your 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
- Will use your new name at all times, and
- Require everyone to use your new name
Changing your name after marriage
There is no legal obligation on anyone in Ireland to change their name when they get married. You may change your name after marriage for tradition or cultural reasons. You may, for example, want to show you have joined a new family and therefore take the new name - but this is just a social or cultural choice with no legal basis. If you change your name when you marry, you do not need to execute a deed poll. Most organisations will accept your marriage certificate as evidence of your name change.
How you earn your name is by 'use and repute'. This means for most purposes, if someone wants to be known by their married name (or any other name), then they just use this name and ask people to call them by it.
Changing your name after separation or divorce
You may want to revert back to your maiden name after separation or divorce. It is likely there will be several organisations you need to contact to update your personal details, for example, your bank, your employer, the Motor Tax Office, your healthcare provider. Every organisation will have different requirements so check what is needed to complete the process. You usually will have to provide a valid form of identification and certified evidence of your previous name. You may need to provide a certified copy of your separation agreement or divorce decree.
Public Services Card (PSC)
To change your name on your Public Services Card back to your pre-marriage or pre-civil partnership name, you must submit:
- Divorce, dissolution or legal separation agreement documents, or
- Correspondence from a solicitor showing that a separation, divorce or dissolution has been initiated
To change your name on your passport back to your pre-marriage or pre-civil partnership, you need to apply for a new passport. You cannot apply online.
You will need to submit:
- Your previous passport
- Your birth certificate
- A judicial separation court order, separation agreement, or divorce decree. This must be certified by a solicitor or by the court.
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
Otherwise, you will have to provide proof of usage. To do this, you will need to submit two official documents that show you've been using your maiden name for two years.
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 (carry out) the deed poll themselves but they 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. (See 'How to change your name by deed poll' below.)
The process of 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.
Carrying out a deed poll
Carrying out (or 'executing') a deed poll is a relatively simple process. You can get a solicitor to do it or you can do it yourself.
First, you declare that you have given up a former name and adopted a new name for all purposes. You then sign the deed poll in the presence of a witness. The witness must also swear an affidavit (called an affidavit of attesting witness) in the presence of a solicitor or commissioner for oaths.
See ‘How to change your name by deed poll’ below.
Change of name licence for non-EEA nationals
If you are a non-EEA national aged 18 or over, and you want to change your name by deed poll, you must get a ‘change of name licence’ from Immigration Service Delivery (ISD). This rule is set out under Section 9 of the Aliens Act 1935.
You can get an application form for a change of name licence by writing to the Change of Name Section in ISD.
British citizens are not required to obtain a change of name licence to change your name by deed poll. However, you may be required to provide a letter from the Department of Justice stating that you do not require a change of name licence.
Recognition of your new name
Your name change does not necessarily need to be supported by any documentary evidence although evidence is often needed 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 need 'proof of usage' of your new
name with documents dating back at least 2 years. You should contact any
relevant organisations or bodies to check what their requirements are.
Cost of changing your name by deed poll
There is no fixed rate of charges for legal fees, so you should ask in advance for information on such charges.
How to change your name by deed poll
To execute (carry out) 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 should be printed on deed paper (which is available from legal stationers), or any high quality paper.
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 your witness.
They must also swear an affidavit in the presence of 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.
Changing a child's name by deed poll
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 the necessary documents.
Enrolling the deed
There is no requirement to enrol the deed poll in the Central Office of the High Court. However, some organisations will only accept a deed poll which has been ‘enrolled’ in the Central Office of the High Court.
To enrol the deed in the Central Office of the High Court, you will need:
- The deed poll to be completed correctly
- An Affidavit of Attesting Witness
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
- 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-EEA national (British citizens are not required to obtain a change of name licence.)
- Certified photographic proof of identification (such as a passport or driver's licence)
You will also have to complete an application form to enrol the deed poll, which includes an acknowledgement that enrolling the deed makes it available for public inspection and it will be published on the Courts Service website. You can download an application form to enrol a deed poll for a change of name from the Courts Service website.
You should post your completed application with all supporting documentation to: Deed Poll Section, Central Office of the High Court, The Four Courts, Inns Quay, Dublin 7.
You also have to pay stamp duty of €60 on the deed poll (payable at your local Court Service office). The Courts Service has a check list to help you make sure you have all the documents you will need.
Find more information about
changing your name by deed poll on the Courts Service website.