Getting Married & Passport Name Changes

Thousands of people every year dream of their perfect wedding and for lots of people that might mean a wedding abroad, white sands and beautiful beaches or a winter wonderland adventure it sounds like an idyllic way to start the rest of your lives together. And, for many more people a honeymoon is a must do after you've tied the knot.

But, as with most things there is an awful lot of paperwork involved to ensure it's legal and of course you can travel to and from your chosen destination. A huge part of getting married often involves one or both parties having a name change, this alone can cause untold issues if you don't ensure it's all done correctly. Hopefully with this information your wedding will go smoothly and without a hitch.

When can I change my name?

Many people are completely unaware that you even have an option of when you change your name, and most people assume that you can only change it after you have been legally married.

This is not the case...

There are two ways you can choose to change your name one is before the wedding and of course the other is after the wedding. It's worth looking into this as it will affect when you should and shouldn't do your name change.

Before the wedding

If you would like to get all your paperwork organised before you head off for your then there are a few things you need to know about and changing your passport will be at the top of that list.

You can actually change your name on your passport before you get married and to do this you will need a passports for newly weds and civil partners form this must be signed by the religious minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony. This is extremely important and without it you will be unable to change your name on your UK post-dated Passport.

It is also important to check where you are travelling to as you will need to contact the embassy or consulate of that country as some countries like Australia will not issue visas on post-dated passports.

Please Note - Changing your name before your wedding ceremony means you will be issued with a post-dated passport and your old passport will be cancelled - you can't use this post-dated passport before the date of your ceremony. Unless there are extreme circumstances in which case you will need to contact The Passport Office as soon as possible.

This is ideal for a honeymoon but if you're planning a wedding abroad you have two options. You can either have a small legal ceremony before the big foreign wedding or you will need to keep your original surname until after the wedding.

After the wedding

As many people are aware planning a wedding can be stressful enough without thinking about all the extra paperwork. So of course you can wait until after your big day to make all of these changes which is perfectly fine.

To change your name on your passport after your ceremony you will need to fill in a passport renewal form and you will need to ensure your application is complete and correct and you will also need to supply supporting documents, so in this case it would be your marriage certificate or your civil partnership certificate.

Getting these changes made in time though and on average can take 3 weeks or more, if you would like to get your name change done quickly so you can fly off on honeymoon with your new name we suggest using the urgent passport services. Using the Premium or Fast-Track services gives you peace of mind and are guaranteed your new passport in either 1 or 7 days providing your application is complete and correct.

Can I use my old passport after I am married?

If this is your first marriage and your old passport was in your maiden name then "Yes" you can use your old passport after you are married right up until it expires, this is because with your first marriage you are still legally entitled to use your maiden name for other purposes, and can still use this as a valid form of identification. However if this is a second or third marriage this condition may not apply as further name changes have now taken place which require further documentation to be provided to the Passport Office in the event of a further name change.

Booking flights and name changes

There is one huge thing that you must remember when changing any name on your passport and that is to remember that you must use the same name on your current passport when booking any flights. If the name on your flights is different from the name on your passport you will not be allowed to fly.

So please make sure you are careful when making any changes or bookings.

Getting married abroad

If you chose to have your ceremony abroad you must ensure you follow local law to make sure your marriage is also legal in the UK, this often means getting your foreign wedding certificated notarized and or translated. *Please note however these can only be translated by official registered companies. i.e your friend can not translate your documents for more information on this you can speak to The British Embassy and they will provide you will all the relevant information required.

And again please ensure that the name on your passport matches the name on all of your bookings and your flights otherwise you will be unable to travel.

Passport changes can be stressful at the best of times but if you're adding in a wedding as well then the stress can be off the charts. We aim to make passports an easier task and that is all about having the correct information all in one spot without being passed from one person to another, and hopefully we've given you all the information you need.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm

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