I recently got married in Portugal. My wife and I decided that we would both take each others surnames, combining the 2 so we now have 2 surnames. The registrar over there needed a letter from the UK government to highlight that this was achievable (along with all the other formalities), so we sent across the document on this page:


The document can be found under the heading 'Obtain an informative note on change of name'.

What I want to know is, now the we are married and all the formalities have been completed, is there anything that we need to do over here (the UK) to confirm the name change, such as get the marriage certificate translation via the Portuguese Consulate? Or is this process all completed without us needing to?

I just thought I'd check before changing my name in all the appropriate places, and if there is anything that we need to do.

If anyone is confused about what has actually happened to our names, I'll give an example:

Pre-marriage  : Maria Silva       & John Smith
Post-marriage : Maria Silva Smith & John Silva Smith

Thanks in advance

3 Answers 3


To quote Wikipedia:

In theory anyone who is at least 16 and resident in the United Kingdom can call themselves whatever they wish.

In practice, however, some form of documentary evidence is required when changing your name on bank accounts, passport, etc:

Documentary evidence of a change of name can be in a number of forms, such as a marriage certificate, decree absolute, civil partnership certificate, statutory declaration or deed of change of name.

While it seems likely that a certified translation of your marriage certificate would probably be sufficient, it may be quicker (and cheaper) to use a deed of change of name.

(See also the government advice on the subject.)

  • 1
    If the couple plan to do anything in the UK other than visit (live, bank, etc.), they'll probably need a certified translation anyway, won't they?
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    If you need to prove that you're married, then yes. For proving a change of name, then it is one option; a deed of change of name is another option. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 16:21
  • Yes of course. I mentioned it only because you pointed out that the deed may be cheaper; if they need the translation anyway, though, that becomes less significant.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 17:44
  • @phoog: agreed. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 18:38
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    If you get married in the EU, your marriage certificate should come written in about ten different languages anyway (I don't know if you need to ask for it or if it is standard). No need for translations.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 14:46

I thought I would add my experience as an answer now that I've spoken to the right people and been back to collect the wedding certificate.

Within the EU there is a certificate that adopts the "international model" which means it comes in around 10 different languages. We asked the registry office in Portugal if our certificate could come in that form. As it's in English it will be accepted in the UK.

I'm not sure whether this will remain or not once the UK has exited the EU, but fortunately for me, we were married before these times of uncertainty.

  • ''I'm not sure whether this will remain or not once the UK has exited the EU": foreign acts such as marriage certificates are generally recognized everywhere, though countries may require some sort of authentication by the foreign ministry of the issuing country, typically in the form of an apostille. So in non-EU countries, perhaps including a post-EU UK, the document will generally still be accepted, but may need the apostille or other authentication.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:07
  • That's a good point. Maybe I didn't word it properly, what I meant was whether English would remain on the international model after leaving the EU. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 11:26
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    Ah, I see. I expect that it would, since English is the most common language in Ireland, and it is one of the official languages in Malta. Even if those countries were also outside the EU, English would likely remain because it is the most common lingua franca in the EU.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 17:18

I had to do this recently to get married as my mother had reverted to her maiden name as did I when I was 9... all my docs were new surname but birth records where different.

You have to apply for a deed poll UK Deed Poll change and fill out the documents.

It didn't take that long to do. However I was getting married outside the UK so I had to get my new birth certificate (i.e. with the new name on it) and then get it certified by UK as real (ie Apsotile Stamp)

And if your in foreign country you will more than likly have to get it translated also

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