12

I am considering a name change, which seems to be a relatively straightforward action, when one remains in the same country: certain documents are replaced with new ones bearing the new name, and others are presented together with the name change document.

However, I travel internationally multiple times per year, and I often change temporary residence from one country to another. So I often deal with immigration and similar things. Furthermore, I have a lot of things going on like work and studies.

Quite obviously, if I change my name, I would often have to produce a proper translation of the name change document, which may include notarized translation thereof with apostille or, for example, traduction assermentée in France.

However, it would be great to hear about experiences of people, who have dealt with this issue first-hand, so I can weight the disadvantages against advantages of this correctly. In particular, I would like to know if anyone has encountered unforeseen difficulties with this, and how people rate the overall difficulty of such experiences.

  • 5
    I've filled in a variety of immigration-related paperwork over the years. In all the instances I can think of, there is only a question something like "List all other names you have been known by", without a requirement to produce documentation for that change. In fact, many countries do not have specific forms for change of name, so there would be nothing to translate or to produce. This is a comment and not an answer because I have not changed my name and so I don't have first hand experience. – Greg Hewgill Oct 7 '14 at 1:00
  • 1
    In general terms, the only name that counts when traveling is the one you are using and the one on your identification documents (passport, drivers license, etc), as long as they match you are good to go. Some visa applications ask for your former name(s), but usually that is to make sure your former name(s) doesn't have any red flags name in their records or any other database they reference. If you do a radical name change say Joe Smith to Ho Chi Minh, then some embassies might ask for further documentation (especially if the name(s) fall under watched categories). – user13044 Oct 7 '14 at 7:16
2
+50

Here are my experiences changing two letters of my last name:

  • First and foremost, always keep a translated copy of the document that explains your name change. Just in case. In my case, it was actually not even a notarized copy.

  • After I got a new passport, I had to get a new residence permit with a new name (I was living in Germany with an Azerbaijani passport back then), but that was a very straightforward process.

  • I also had to get my drivers renewed, also quite straightforward.

  • I still have my diploma with my old name, but it was not an issue when I was applying for grad schools in US. I however supplied a copy of the document explaining my name change.

  • While living in US, I had a social security number with my old name, got that replaced with no problems as well.

Overall I don't remember having any issues due to my name change, so I would say don't worry about it.

4

As Tom stated, as long as the name on your ID and your visa matches, that's all that matters. Well, and that you obey all other travel rules (valid ID, valid visa, etc.).

Just make sure that all your travel documents are in order before you leave and you should be fine.

4

I'm speaking with some experience, as, although I haven't changed my name, my wife has after we got married. In our case, the document confirming the name change was the marriage certificate, but for all intents and purposes it doesn't matter.

The matters were a bit more complicated for us, as we didn't get married in the country we live in (UK) but instead in the USA. Furthermore, my wife at the time was a Russian citizen.

Here's the quick run-down of what had to be done. With the marriage certificate in hand in the USA, we got it apostilled in the USA. We travelled back to the UK on her passport with her maiden name - this is obvious, as the name on the ticket matched the name in the passport nobody really cared.

When we arrived to the UK, we translated the certificate and the apostille and certified the translation in the Russian embassy. With the translation in hand, she had to travel back to Russia (under the old name - again, name on passport matched the name on the ticket, so nobody cared) to change her passport there. This is where the fun started, as now the name in her new passport didn't match the name on her visa. When she arrived back to the UK, she presented her new passport with the new name, her old passport with the old name and the visa in the old name and the marriage certificate - this was it - no problems at all.

After that, she changed all the relevant UK documents to the new name (driving license, work ID, etc.) - and from that point onward we've travelled to at least a dozen different countries - with just the new passport. She had to get visas for some of these countries. On pretty much all visa applications, she had to state her previous name - but nobody ever asked her about any documents confirming the name change.

What mattered was that her passport contained her new name and her photograph. The only reason we had to carry the marriage certificate with us was to present on arrival in the UK, as the name on the visa didn't match the name on the passport.

So, to summarize, you should have no problems after the name change as long as you properly change your documents (most importantly, passport) in the country where you change your name. After that, nobody will ever ask you about the name change confirmation document.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.