How Many Names Can I Use?

You may think that everyone will want to use the same name for the duration of their life unless they get married and wish to change their surname to a spouse’s. However, there are several reasons why someone may want to change their name or use multiple names. This blog will look at how many names you can legally use.

A Legal Name

A legal name is a name someone is referred to and/or appears on their legal identification documents. The name on your birth certificate is your legal name unless officially changed via a Deed Poll. Any nicknames that people may use are simply names used and not official unless changed officially by a statutory declaration of Deed Poll.

Using Multiple Names

It is actually not uncommon for someone to go by multiple names. Friends, colleagues and family may all refer to someone by a different name. A lot of famous people use different names to differentiate between the stage and their personal life. Both names are just as valid. Another example of why someone may use more than one name is a married person who wishes t use both their marital and maiden name, 

Limit on Number of Names

Your legal name can include multiple names, but it has to be noted that all the names included in your legal name count as your legal name. You can legally only have one first name. Additional names are commonly included as hyphenated or middle names. There is no limit to the number of middle names you can legally have, but it is important to remember that official identification documents such as your passport and driving license will have a limit to the characters they can print in the name section.

You can also only legally use one surname at a time, but you can hyphenate and double-barrel your surname to get around this rule. This is often what happens when people get married and want to incorporate both names. However, you are entirely free to abandon the use of your surname if you so wish. You can submit a passport application without a surname, and it could legally stand, but it is worth noting that this is likely to cause attention and potential scrutiny as it is unusual. The freedom to change your name and use multiple names is something that helps many people feel more comfortable and more ‘Themselves’. 


If you would like to change your name, contact