(Last updated on: 04/04/2020)
Have you been wondering how to change your name on your passport? Maybe you’ve been putting off changing your name on your passport because you don’t know how to do it? If so, you’re not the only one!
If you’re anything like me, you got married and told everybody your new, married name… except the passport office.
Now, this isn’t a huge issue, because you CAN travel with a passport that is in your maiden name. HOWEVER, things can start to get complicated when you are using two different names simultaneously. Trust me, I know!
Why you should change your name on your passport
I continued to travel in my maiden name for four years after I got married. I had paid for extra pages in my passport when I renewed it only a year before my wedding and I was determined to fill them. I had also spent ALL of my money on the wedding and the honeymoon and I didn’t want the extra expense of paying for a new passport.
Whilst this is completely legal, it did cause a number of complications whilst travelling!
I forgot to book flights in my maiden name
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? 1-Log onto Skyscanner 2- Find great deal on flight 3- Book said flight in your maiden name, NOT your married name…
For me, however, that was easier said than done! I’m not daft (I have a PhD for goodness sake!), however it wasn’t always easy to remember to book everything in the correct name.
You might also be interested in my post- ‘Things to Consider When Booking a Hotel With a Baby‘
As any mother will know, sleepless nights take their toll on you. And this is often reflected in your mental capacity! Throw pregnancy and the inevitable ‘baby brain’ into the mix and I became ridiculously forgetful.
Trying to remember small details like which name to use where? Forget it…!
We would be given separate beds when travelling
Since getting married hubby and I have travelled to several countries in the Middle East.
We love travelling in this part of the world and have learnt a lot about the local customs and cultures. One such thing was that if you are not married, hotel staff are reluctant (or sometimes unwilling) to allocate you a room with a double bed. I usually book through Booking.com and I would put in a request for a double bed. However, many hotel workers chose to ignore this request.
Whilst Philip and I were married, we didn’t carry our marriage certificate with us on our travels. Our passports presented different surnames and therefore the hotel staff would assume that we were unmarried.
Whilst we assured them that we were indeed married, the looks on their faces often indicated that they did not believe us. And I can’t blame them- I’m sure that there are plenty of Western couple who are unmarried but wish to share a bed, after all- it is perfectly normal in Western culture.
I couldn’t claim my frequent flier points
A couple of years back I applied for an American Express credit card in view of collecting Avios points and redeeming them as air miles when travelling with British Airways.
The card arrived in my name (Hayley Stainton) and I started using it. I could see a healthy amount of points building up but these didn’t appear to be transferring over to my British Airways account. When I phoned up to query this I was told that it was because the name on my credit card did not match the name on my British Airways account (which had to match my passport).
The way that I overcame this issue was to change the name on my credit card to my maiden name.
Obviously the customer service staff who dealt with my request were somewhat confused- why would somebody change their name from their married name to their maiden name? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
You might also be interested in my post- ‘Where Can’t I Travel When Pregnant?‘
It confused the spousal visa process
As you may have read, we are relocating to China this summer!
As I will be travelling on a spousal visa, having a different surname on my passport to my husband somewhat complicated the process. I knew this would cause more problems than it was worth, so I finally admitted to myself that I needed to find out how to change the name on my passport.
Changing your name on your passport isn’t as difficult as you might think
Another reason that I had been putting off changing the name on my passport was because I thought it would be a long and complicated process. I was, however, pleasantly surprised!
I put my application in and only a week later I received my new passport!
If, like me, you’re wondering how to change the name on your passport. I have outlined the process for you below.
How to change your name on your passport
The bad news is that changing your name on your passport means that you have to apply for a brand new one. So no- I will never fill those blank pages! *sob*
The good news, however, is that in recent years the passport application process has been simplified.
You have two options to apply for a new passport- online or by post. For me, the online application wins hand down. You don’t have to take a trip to the post office, there is no risk of completing the form wrong and having to re-write it several times, and it’s cheaper- £9.50 cheaper to be exact!
Click here to access the online application system.
Either way, you’ll need to fill out a bunch of details, as to be expected. You’ll then need to add a photo. Because your passport application is due to a name change, you will already be in the system, so there is no need for a counter signature.
The new online system for photos is great. You can simply take a photo at home and upload it. There is no requirement for the photo to be high quality, so you can use your mobile phone to take it (although many phones now do take amazing quality photos).
You do, however, need to find a white background. You can stand against a white wall or use a sheet or other white material in the background.
The online system Weill guide on you on the requirements (don’t smile, look at the camera, no hats etc etc) and will notify you if there are any issues. This is a feature that I particularly like as with the old process it wasn’t unlikely that your application would be returned because the photo didn’t meet all of the requirements.
It took me all of about half an hour to take the photo and upload it and to complete all of the passport application forms. When you have completed the forms you will be provided with an address. This is where you should send your supporting documents. If, like me, you are changing your name because you have recently got married, then this will be your marriage certificate.
The length of time that it takes to process passport applications varies. Mine arrived in only a week, which was pretty good, but I have heard of applications taking a few weeks. The passport office will return your passport to you along with your supporting documents. You can also choose to collect it if you have used an express service.
As of 2019, it costs £75.50 for a standard UK passport application completed online or £85 for an application submitted by post.
A couple of things to note are;
- If your appearance has changed significantly since your last passport was issued, you may require a counter signature to verify your photograph
- Visas in your old passport will not be carried over to your new passport
- Unused pages in your old passport will not be carried over onto to your new passport
- You can apply for your new passport in your married name up to three months before the ceremony
To conclude: How to change your name on your passport
As I have explained in this post, it is not essential to change the name on your passport, HOWEVER, it might be more convenient for you to do so! Once you know how to change the name on your passport you realise that it actually isn’t as difficult as you might have previously thought.
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P.s. if you have any experience of changing your name on your passport that you would like to share, please love a comment below!