Changing your name by deed poll

Introduction

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Enrolling the deed

There is no automatic requirement to enrol the deed poll as, generally, it has the same effect as a deed poll which has not been enrolled.

Some organisations will only accept a deed poll that has been 'enrolled' in the Central Office of the High Court. 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 enrolment of a deed poll in the Central Office puts your change of name on a publicly accessible record known as a Deed Poll register. In addition, enrolling the deed poll means a record of the change of name is kept for future identification, and a certified copy of the original enrolled deed poll is available if needed.

To enrol your deed poll, you must attend the Central Office in person. You will have to bring certain documentation and a completed application form. The application form includes an acknowledgement that enrolling the deed will make it available for public inspection, and it will published on the Courts Service website. (See 'How to change your name by deed poll' below.)

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

Change of name licence for non-EU nationals

If you are a non-EU 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), previously called the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). This rule is set out under Section 9 of the Aliens Act 1935.

You can obtain get an application form for a change of name licence by writing to the Change of Name Section in ISD.

Recognition of your new name

Your name change does not necessarily need to be supported by any documentary evidence although such 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 specific requirements are.

Cost of changing your name by deed poll

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 ask 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 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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

You sign the deed poll in your old name and your new name. You must sign it in the presence of a witness.

Step 3

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. If you do want to enrol 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.

Due to COVID-19, the Deed Poll counter service is currently closed. A request for a deed poll appointment for an adult application can be made by email to deedpollquery@courts.ie. Currently, all child applications must be made through a solicitor. Contact the Central Office of the High Court for more details.

To enrol the deed in the Central Office of the High Court, you will need:

  • The deed poll to be executed (carried out) 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 (such as a passport)

You will also have to complete an application form, 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 enroll a deed poll for a change of name from the Courts Service website.

You also have to pay stamp duty of €60 on the deed poll.

Find more information about changing your name by deed poll is available on the Courts Service website.

Contact details

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

Change of Name Licence Section

Department of Justice

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


Page edited: 12 May 2022