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I am US citizen by birth. I have lived in Australia my whole life. I became a naturalised citizen so now hold dual citizenship. Ever since I have only ever travelled on my Australian passport.

Early this year on a trip to the US I married my life partner and as such changed my last name.

When returning home I applied for a US passport under my married name.

I am now looking to travel to the US later this year but have a predicament as I have the Australian passport in my maiden name and the US passport in the married name.

The challenge I have is that when booking the flight I have to have the correct name, but this is different for entering/exiting the US.

I can't work out what to do and getting a name change in Australia is complicated as they require documents I don't have, eg my original US birth certificate or even my Australian citizenship certificate (lost in moves).

  • 1
    Does a marriage certificate not suffice to effect a name change in Australia? – phoog Jul 29 '18 at 23:39
  • You can get a reissued certified copy of your US birth certificate, usually from the government of the county where you were born. That should suffice; "original" means issued and certified by the registrar of births, not necessarily at the time of your birth. – phoog Jul 29 '18 at 23:54
  • See Case 2 here: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/52100/… – jpatokal Jul 30 '18 at 2:03
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If I were you, I would probably book the ticket in the married name since that is the name you plan to use from now on. But whichever name you book the ticket in, you should be fine:

  1. When checking in for the flight to the country whose passport shows the name you booked the ticket in, because you will show that country's passport, and the names match.

  2. When checking in to fly to the other country, if you show the passport for the first country, with the matching name, and then say "I don't need ETA (or ESTA, as the case may be) because I am a dual citizen," whereupon you produce your other passport to prove that, along with a copy of your marriage certificate to show the name change. It's better if the copy is an original certified copy.

When faced with immigration officers (or indeed any kind of officer) from either country, show the passport of that country. In the event that they ask about your name or your authorization to enter the other country (both of which I suspect to be very unlikely), show the other passport and the marriage certificate.

  • What I expected to do was to simply travel on my aussie passport with its etsa visa. That is because I can only book my airline tickets in the aussie name at this stage. – Trish Jul 30 '18 at 0:25
  • There are limitations to Australian change of name rules and one important one is that it is all State by State based. If you haven't lived in a state for less then 12 months you can't apply and that is our case after moving from NSW to Vic this year. Hopeless. – Trish Jul 30 '18 at 0:26
  • What I thought might be necessary is to book the flights in my Maiden name. Then travel out of Aust on my aust passport with etsa via. When entering the US enter on my US pp as I don't think it will matter that the name is different to my airline ticket at that stage? Will it? Then when I leave the US I am confused if I need to present my US passport again or just use my Aust passport as that is where I am heading? I will need to present my Aust pp when I book into the flight as that is the name on the ticket, but when I exit the US customs which pp do I present then - US, Aust or both? – Trish Jul 30 '18 at 0:29
  • Your suggestion to take my original marriage cert is a good one. I'll do that too. – Trish Jul 30 '18 at 0:29
  • You're not really supposed to get an ESTA (note spelling) if you're a US citizen, but if they issue it after you disclose your US citizenship you can do that too. – phoog Jul 30 '18 at 0:32
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I have dual citizenship under 2 names as well. I book under the US name, as they're usually the most tiresome with that sort of verification. I show the passport corresponding to that name to the airline. When I show up at custom of the other country, I go into the citizen line and pull out my other passport. On return, I do the same with my US passport. Nobody's ever questioned anything (even in the currently internationally paranoid climate) because everyone assumes the other country will do the checking for themselves. And nobody's ever thought to check my passport against the ticket.

But note that I'm white, so your mileage may well vary if you're not. And it's a wise precaution to travel with a copy of the document that establishes that you are indeed the same person, even if you don't expect to have to use it. Note also that many if not most countries assume women will change last name like hyperactive squirrels, multiple times even, and won't bat an eyelash, while a man might have much more difficulty with the same situation.

  • This works well if US passport holders can enter the country of other citizenship with only a passport. That's not the case in Australia, so it's not possible to check in for a flight to Australia with only a US passport. – phoog Jul 30 '18 at 23:34

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