Validity of unregistered British deed polls to other Anglophonic countries?

In Britain, instead of court orders, a system of self-executed deed polls is used. I was told that these are acceptable to US embassies for passport issuance purposes for instance on the principle that they are the legal procedure per the law of the land in which the change of identity took place. Unlike other countries, England speaks English so no translations would be needed. Could these be used at an American foreign Embassy, or domestic DMV or bank, even though they are not certified, registered, or officially issued by any particular body but simply executed by the subject?

  • It would be worth clarifying (because the question doesn't state it anywhere) that you're talking about a deed of change of name, which is apparently one kind of deed poll - but not the only one. Jun 18 at 9:48

1 Answer 1


The question is open-ended, making it just too much work to give a comprehensive answer. But if you look at State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles form ID-44 you will see that an unregistered British deed poll has no value at all toward obtaining a New York driver license or state ID card. If you look at their web page about changing information on NY DMV records you will see that the more desirable NY licenses and ID cards require that the name on the card match the name on the social security card, so you are also faced with whatever the name change hurdles are at the Social Security Administration.

  • What did you mean by calling the NY licenses and ID cards "more desirable"... In what sense and than what?
    – Joseph P.
    Jun 17 at 21:26
  • And I mean the basic discrepancy that is trying to be understood/resolved is simple, it is that of the US using a process that requires explicit blessing by a judge, where any other state's instrument must be validly recognized in all 50, while the UK has more lax requirements and yet certain name change causing events can still happen overseas, so how does the US system address this?
    – Joseph P.
    Jun 17 at 21:38
  • New York's introductory page on driver licenses mentions the "Green Light Law", which "allows all New Yorkers age 16 and older to apply for a standard, not for federal purpose, non-commercial driver license or learner permit regardless of their citizenship or lawful status in the United States. " But that one won't let you board a plane. At the opposite extreme is the enhanced driver license, which allows one to cross borders by land in North America. One needs better ID to obtain the better licenses. Jun 17 at 23:20
  • "... so how does the US system address this?" There is no system. Each agency, even within the same state, has it's own rules. Jun 17 at 23:22

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