I was born into both US and Japanese citizenship and have passports with 2 different names. For some odd reason, my parents decided to use my father's family name for the US and use my mother's maiden name for the Japanese.

Japan requires you to declare one of your citizenship and renounce the other by the age of 22, which I have not done.

Now I am applying for an Australian work and holiday visa on my US passport and it asks if I have citizenship in another country. I do not want to lie to their government so I am planning to give both names and both passport information, but does this mean I will be in trouble or not very likely to be granted a visa?

It would be easy to lie to the government without giving my Japanese name. However, my significant other is in Australia so, further down the line, if we ever decide to marry, I'd have to change my last name for both countries and I'd like for my s.o. not to get into any legal trouble for marrying 2 "separate" people at the same time as well as me for lying to the government.

  • 1
    Are you now 22 or older? In any case, I can't imagine the Australian government caring if you're violating some obscure Japanese law prohibiting dual citizenship, as long as you aren't violating Australian law.
    – Flimzy
    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


Just tell the truth. Australia is fine with multiple citizenships, so they're not going to care if you declare multiple citizenships or names, but they will definitely care if they ever find out you purposely mislead them. And if you do ever end up applying for permanent residence, they will require so many documents from you that they will most likely find out.

Source: My own children are dual citizens, they too have a different name in their Japanese passport than in their Australian passport, and Australia is fully aware of this but does not care.

Incidentally, the "some odd reason" you (and my kids) are in this situation is that Japanese passports can only be issued in the same family name as their koseki entry, which in turn must be the same as the mother's family name. And if your mother did not legally adopt your father's last name when they got married, it's quite difficult to change it afterwards. You can include parenthetical extra names in the Japanese passport though, so my kids have both their last names listed along the lines of "Tanaka (Smith)".

  • The Visa should always match the name on the Passport you are travelling on. Australia is fine with you haviing multiple names (my wife had 4 distinct names). But Airlines and Australian immigration like details to match perfectly on travel documents.It is unlikely you will need to "prove" your Japanese citizenship for any reason.
    – mckenzm
    Feb 3, 2018 at 2:24

Visa granting decisions lay with the examining consular officer. There is no way for anyone here to accurately answer your specific question.

As a precaution you might wish to include copies of your birth certificate(s) that show both names along with your parents name with your visa paperwork, as likely the Australian consular office will ask for that information to verify the dual name status.

Another aspect that might come into play, are you over 22? If so, then the validity of your Japanese citizenship might be questioned, which may or may not effect the visa decision.

Ultimately, if it were me, I will call the Australian Embassy/Consulate and ask about how they prefer I handle the dual citizenship / dual name aspect. They are by far the best source of info.

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    Even past age 22, dual citizens by default retain Japanese citizenship until explicitly asked to declare which one they want to keep. So the OP is definitely still Japanese. Jan 26, 2015 at 20:35

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