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Recording Changes of Forename(s) and Surname(s) in Scotland

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Who may Apply to Record a Change of Name?

Any person whose birth is registered in Scotland or who was legally adopted in Scotland may apply for a recorded change of name.  If the person is under 16 years of age, the application must be made by a qualified applicant who is defined as follows:-

(a) where only one parent has parental responsibilities in relation to the child, that parent;
(b) where both parents have such responsibilities in relation to the child, both parents; and
(c) where neither parent has such responsibilities, any other person who has such responsibilities.

If the person is over 16 years of age, they must apply on their own behalf.

How do I go about it?

You will need to complete an application form and may find it helpful to download the following documents:-

• Information Leaflet RCN1 (150Kb pdf file) – Recording changes of forename(s) and surname(s) in Scotland.
• Form 21 (44Kb pdf file) – Application for recording of forename(s) or change of forename(s) of child under twelve months of age.
• Form 23 (46Kb pdf file) – Application for recording of change of forename(s) or surname(s) of child under 16 years of age.
• Form 24 (42Kb pdf file) – Application for recording of change of forename(s) or surname(s) of  person over 16 years of age.
• Form PRF (27Kb pdf file) – Questionnaire to be completed where parents were unmarried at the time of the child’s birth and have not subsequently married.

The leaflet RCN1 (150Kb pdf file) should answer most of your questions but please bear in mind the following points:-

  • Where the parents of a child were married at the time of the birth, or married subsequent to the birth, then both parents have parental responsibilities for the child and therefore both parents should usually sign the application form.
  • Where the parents of a child are not married but both parents registered or re-registered the child's birth on or after 4 May 2006, both parents have parental responsibilties for the child and therefore both parents should usually sign the application form.
  • Where the parents are unmarried or only the mother’s details appear on the birth entry then a Form PRF (27Kb pdf file) should accompany the application form.
  • Any birth certificate issued subsequent to the recording of the change will show the new forename(s) and surname(s) with the original forename(s) and surname(s) shown separately. (This does not apply to an application for recording of forename(s) or change of forename(s) of a child under twelve months of age, ie, form 21 applications.)

Pdf files require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download it free  Get Acrobat Reader.

How much will this cost me?

The current fee is £40.00.  For family applications, the fee is £40.00 for the first family member and £10.00 for each subsequent family member when applied for at the same time.  The cost of a full birth extract or abbreviated certificate is £15.00 with a further £10.00 payable for each additional extract ordered at the same time.

Important.  The cheque or postal order should be made payable to the Scottish Government. If you wish to pay by credit or debit card, please complete form CON Card at the back of the application form. 

Reverting to birth (maiden) surname following separation or divorce

It is generally accepted in Scotland that on marriage a woman will ASSUME the surname of her husband, though she is not obliged to do so.

The changes of name recorded by the National Records of Scotland are recorded against a person's original birth entry and, on marriage, women tend not to have their birth entry changed to record their married name.

Unless you actually changed your name via the change of name procedure carried out by the National Records of Scotland described in this section of our website and your birth entry was revised, you do not need to complete any forms to revert to your birth (maiden) surname.

You may need to inform everyone who holds information about you (e.g. employer, bank, doctor)  that you are reverting to your birth (maiden) surname.  Banks and certain other organisations may ask to see your marriage/civil partnership certificate and any subsequent divorce certificate.

Where do I Send the Application?

The completed application form, the fee and where appropriate the Form PRF (27Kb pdf file), should be sent to the National Records of Scotland, Change of Name Unit, Room 35, New Register House, Edinburgh, EH1 3YT.


Page last updated: 25 April 2014


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