28 February 2024

Passport, driving licence, name change, medical gender ID

From the outset most here applies to the UK.
It may be very different in other countries.

‘What’s in a name?’

In the first days of transition, I was deciding on my new name. My old name was too gender specific and also I wanted a fresh start. Many people add the feminine version of their name, and often keep their surname. This is personal choice and it is a choice only each can make.

Psuedo name

I joined several online chats and transgender groups so what name would I use? This is the time to play, try out the name I feel will suit me. As it turned out Alex (Alexandria) was my first choice…and it has stuck. I can’t remember exactly why I chose it, perhaps a subconscious thing? I don’t know anyone named Alexandria, perhaps that is a good thing?
Whatever the reason it is a good idea to live with it for at least a year before finalising on it legally.
One thing I was aware of was that my friends were confused enough as it was calling me by a new name…to change it again seemed a bad idea. If I had felt Alex was not right…I would have though. This is my name for the rest of my life…I have to be happy and comfortable with it.

Deciding on my name was the first step to everything

It starts with my name, all documentation and legal status will come from that. So, some 18months of using my new name I decided to make it my legal name.

In the United Kingdom there are two major ways to change your name legally,

Deed Poll

or

Statutory Declaration

Deed Poll, is probably the best known, however it is the slowest and most expensive a solicitor’s fee of around £700 is a fair ball park figure for it.
Statutory Declaration, is the easiest, cheapest and quickest. You can do the paperwork yourself and a solicitor is unlikely to charge you more than a few pounds for their signature.
I have found nothing a Deed Poll can do that Statutory Declaration can’t. Passport, Driving Licence, Doctors, Dentist, Bank, Council Tax, Insurance…all done with my Statutory Declaration.

So, arranged a date with my solicitor, and turned up. Do two copies if you can, it makes life easier. Made my ‘declaration’ in her office, got the declaration document(s) signed and stamped by the legal practice and made my way to my Bank.

First stop, my High Street Bank (any branch will do)

Once there I explained I wished to change my name at the Bank. I produced the newly signed declaration which the assistant copied and returned to me. I did my new signature…and thats about it. My new debit/credit cards were set to be sent to my home address within a few days. My old debit/credit cards were still valid until my new ones arrived.
Next stop, my Doctors Surgery. Same process as the Bank, next stop the Post Office for a Driving Licence renewal.
I hope you can see the process is not complicated, the order is the best I think.
Very next if you can, scan your declaration on a flatbed scanner. You can email a copy to many places you wish to inform. Gender GP for one. Council Tax office is another.
One thing to mention is Passport and Driving licence require you to send the original Statutory Declaration document. You will get it (and other supporting documents) back but it takes time.

My suggestion in the UK is if you have a full Driving Licence is to do this one first. The reason is two fold, firstly if you are driving you really should do this asap. A replacement licence took about 3weeks. In contrast a replacement Passport will take 3months (on average) so unless travelling abroad it can wait. A driving Licence is a very good photo ID for almost all things…and that is good to have.
If you have two copies of your Declaring…you have more options.

Changing your utilities asap is a good idea and as mentioned a .pdf/jpeg scan will suffice for most things. You need a utility bill for your Passport application.
*The Passport Office will insist your FULL new name appears on a utility or Bank statement.
i.e.
J. Bloggs. X
J.J.Bloggs X
John J Bloggs X
John James Bloggs YES!


more to follow…

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