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When you can’t change your name on your birth certificate
In the UK, a birth certificate is classed as a historical record and therefore in most instances it can’t be changed. If changes are made, they are usually logged as additions to the original record, rather than simply a replacement. When changes are made after the original registration they often appear at the bottom of the certificate in a separate field with information about the changes and when they took place.
You’re unable to change your name on your birth certificate if you either marry, subsequently divorce or change your name via deed poll. Your new name will be valid for use, but if you are presenting your birth certificate for ID and the name differs to the one you’re currently using, you will need to supply supporting documents to reflect the change, such as your marriage certificate or a valid deed poll.
Changing a child’s name to reflect parent’s details
If you are married after the birth of the child
If you, as the child’s natural parents, were unmarried at the time of birth registration and have subsequently married, it is possible to update the child’s surname if you later either marry or form a civil partnership. This is known as re-registering and must be applied for with an LA1 form, which can be found on the government’s website.
Making changes to the father’s details
If there is no father listed on the certificate and you later wish to add one, or you have registered the father but later wish to remove him due to him not being the natural parent, this is possible. However, certain evidence must be provided in order to make the change to the details as well as any subsequent alterations to the name of the child. This can include:
- A DNA test result from an approved tester
- A court order
- Valid evidence that confirms the name of the true biological father
- Any other evidence that confirms the listed father can not be the child’s natural father
Any changes to the father’s details is known as a “correction” and must be handled by the registry office where you first registered the child’s birth. If you contact the office directly, they will be able to provide a form to complete as well as advise you of the charges associated with the service, which is usually around £70.00-£90.00.
Adding a female partner of the mother
It is possible in the UK to add a female as a second parent of a child, as long as the partners are married or in a civil partnership. Even if you get married after the official registration, you can still be added as a second parent later on. There are some restrictions on how this can be done, however, dependent on when the child was born. You can find out more detailed information about adding your partner here.
Changing a child’s surname after adoption or re-marriage
If you formally adopt a child of your partner, you can make an application for a change of surname during the adoption proceedings. The new adoption certificate will supersede the child’s original birth certificate as their official ID and should be accepted as proof of name to make any changes on their behalf, such as school registrations or GP records.
If you are not formally adopting the child but would like them to have your surname, for example if you marry the child’s natural mother, this can be achieved by obtaining a deed poll on their behalf, if they are under the age of 16.
Changing a child’s first name on their birth certificate
In the UK, you are permitted to change a child’s first name on their birth certificate within the first 12 months of registration. This can happen for several reasons, such as you simply changed your mind on the name, and does not require a deed poll to be issued; just get in touch with the registry office where you first registered the birth.
If there’s a mistake on the birth certificate
Although it doesn’t often happen, there can sometimes bean error made when registering a birth. This may not come to light until after the registration is completed. If the child’s name isn’t correct on the certificate, you must contact the registry office you attended as soon as possible to make them aware.
You can apply to have the birth certificate altered, though you may be required to provide evidence of the mis-spelling. Speak to the registrar directly to find out what evidence they are happy to accept so you can have this ready to present at your appointment.
A change of name for gender affirmation
If you wish to change your name because you going through gender affirmation and wish your name to reflect your identity, you can do this yourself with a deed poll. Your original birth certificate will remain unchanged, however, and your official ID will still display the gender you were assigned at birth.
Changing your name via deed poll can help many people feel more comfortable on their journey and can also count as evidence that you are taking steps to identify full time as your true gender.
If you would like your official ID, such as your passport or driving licence, to display your true gender as well as your new name, you can do this in several ways.
You can either use a deed poll and provide medical evidence from a registered practitioner, or apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). By obtaining a GRC, you can then apply for a new birth certificate which will display your new name as well as your preferred gender and will supersede your original birth certificate. This can then be used to update your details on all of your official ID and other documentation, such as your bank cards.
If you identify as non-binary, it is not currently possible in the UK to hold official ID which doesn’t display your gender as either Male or Female. However you can change your name to almost anything you like, as well as adopting any honorific you prefer. The prefix you use is not part of your legal name so can be changed without the need for a deed poll or anything official. A common gender-neutral honorific which is becoming more popular is “Mx.” though not all companies or official government departments yet recognise this or offer this as an option on their forms.
In the UK, it’s only legally possible to change your name yourself via deed poll if you are over the age of 16. Before this age, your parent or legal guardian will need to do this on your behalf.
How can I get a copy of a UK birth certificate?
If you need a replacement birth certificate you can order an official, long-form certificate from our certificates service here. We can obtain birth and adoption certificates for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and some overseas British certificates, too. If you need help locating the certificate and aren’t sure of some of the information, we will do all we can to locate the correct record for you and have the certificate issued.