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BANGKOK 17 June 2019 01:54
Arkady

British dual nationals asked to change names when applying for a new British passport

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It has come to my attention that the British passport office has introduced a regulation requiring dual nationals to use the same name in their British and foreign passports.  I am not sure when this regulation was introduced but I believe it was in 2015.  I found a report on another web board dated late 2015 from an Englishman living in the UK, whose Filipina wife had applied for her first British passport on being naturalised but was rejected by the passport office on the grounds that her Filipino passport showed her maiden name but she had already changed to her married name in the UK.  Her situation was exacerbated by the fact that her Filipino nationality had been automatically revoked on her naturalisation as British. Therefore she was unable to obtain any kind of valid travel document without applying for her Filipino nationality to be restored (requiring an oath of allegiance) and changing her name to her married name in the Philippines.   The English husband complained that there was no notice about the new requirement at that time in the guidance notes for applying for a passport.  

 

This situation has now been remedied by the passport office, since the current guidance notes make it clear that the British government expects dual nationals to change their foreign name to be the same as their British name, if they want a new British passport.   From page 5 of the guidance notes: British passport Guidance_Notes 2017 .pdf

 

If you are a dual national, you should send us a full

colour photocopy of the uncancelled non-British

passport, or British Overseas Territories Citizen passport

(every page including blank pages). If you hold a non-

British passport in a different name, you must change it

to match the name you want on your British passport.

You must do this before you make your application.

 

The guidance notes also specify that dual nationals in the UK are not eligible to apply online.  Applicants in Thailand, as we know, are required to make an appointment online and apply in person at the Trendy Building. 

 

I have seen a report from a German/ British dual national who complained that the German government does not recognise name changes, which means she will either have to change the name she has used in the UK for the past two decades to her German name or drop either her British or German passport, since all her names are different.   I believe Austria also does not permit name changes and I think Italy no longer allows women to adopt their husband's name. 

 

The main problem for TV members is likely to be for Thai wives who have naturalised as British but retained their maiden names in their Thai passports.  It is not difficult for them to change to their married names in Thailand with a Thai marriage certificate or a certified translation of a foreign one but, if someone needed a British passport in a hurry and had to jump through these hoops, it could be a problem.  In view of this regulation, it is recommended that Thais marrying Brits with a view to settling in the UK and eventually applying for naturalisation, should change to their married names in their Thai documents immediately, or as soon as possible. Contrary to some people's belief, having a foreign surname or being married to a foreigner has absolutely no impact on their rights as Thai citizens to own land in Thailand.  It used to but that was changed in 1999.

 

I was about to post this when I received a report from a British/Thai dual  who applied to renew a British passport late last year and either completely overlooked the new requirement or perhaps it still wasn't included in the guidance notes at that time.  She just gave them the expiring British passport and it was renewed without the obvious question, as why it had no Thai visas in it.  So she got another 10 years with a British passport without having to change her Thai name which is completely different to her British one (first and last names).  She told me she might not bother applying for another British passport, rather be forced to change her Thai name and live in Thailand under a farang identity, as she has no plans to move back to the UK.  So it is hard to say how vigilantly this new rule is being enforced but it is best for all in this situation to be prepared.                 

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would this apply to a Thai with an expiring UK passport, applying within the UK, all Thai id in maiden name, 

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30 minutes ago, steve187 said:

would this apply to a Thai with an expiring UK passport, applying within the UK, all Thai id in maiden name, 

Yes and, as a dual national, she would not be eligible to apply online

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1 minute ago, Arkady said:

Yes.

in the last paragraph of your op, in which country did the person apply

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18 minutes ago, Arkady said:

It has come to my attention that the British passport office has introduced a regulation requiring dual nationals to use the same name in their British and foreign passports. ...

 

I was about to post this when I received a report from a British/Thai dual  who applied to renew a British passport late last year and either completely overlooked the new requirement or perhaps it still wasn't included in the guidance notes at that time.  She just gave them the expiring British passport and it was renewed without the obvious question, as why it had no Thai visas in it.  So she got another 10 years with a British passport without having to change her Thai name which is completely different to her British one (first and last names). 

The instruction is simply for the names to be the same. It is not an instruction to take your spouses family name.

 

I assume the lady had her UK passport renewed without question as the names on both passports were the same. Why would the UK passport office question her about the lack of a Thai visa or any visas for that matter?

 

29 minutes ago, Arkady said:

She told me she might not bother applying for another British passport, rather be forced to change her Thai name and live in Thailand under a farang identity, as she has no plans to move back to the UK.  So it is hard to say how vigilantly this new rule is being enforced but it is best for all in this situation to be prepared. 

Since UK immigration is hell bent on letting only well-sponsored foreigners who honestly want to live in the UK to lodge successful ILR applications, there's no need for anyone to be too dischuffed with the ruling regardless if they have already gone the whole citizenship route, obtained their UK passport but don't plan on spending any more time there.

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27 minutes ago, steve187 said:

in the last paragraph of your op, in which country did the person apply

Thailand.

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28 minutes ago, NanLaew said:

The instruction is simply for the names to be the same. It is not an instruction to take your spouses family name.

 

I assume the lady had her UK passport renewed without question as the names on both passports were the same. Why would the UK passport office question her about the lack of a Thai visa or any visas for that matter?

 

Since UK immigration is hell bent on letting only well-sponsored foreigners who honestly want to live in the UK to lodge successful ILR applications, there's no need for anyone to be too dischuffed with the ruling regardless if they have already gone the whole citizenship route, obtained their UK passport but don't plan on spending any more time there.

 

Indeed, it is not an instruction to take a spouse's surname.  If the Thai wife declined to take her husband's name both in the UK and Thailand, there won't be a problem.  The problem might arise, only if she took her husband's name in the UK but kept her maiden name in Thailand.  Another solution would be to revert to her Thai family name in the UK.  

 

In the case I mentioned the applicant didn't submit a copy of her valid Thai passport, not intentionally but because she was unaware it was required, having previously renewed under the previous rules. Both her first name and family name are different in her Thai passport. If they intend to enforce this rigorously, an obvious way to do it in overseas offices would be to check that the expiring passport has visas for that country in it. I think I saw another guideline for people applying at the Trendy Building saying that they needed a colour copy of every page of the passport the applicant used to enter Thailand, if it was not the one the applicant is applying to renew.  I can't lay my hands on that one now and it might have been replaced.  It's hard to know whether this was one that was overlooked or whether they are only enforcing it on those who comply by sending a copy of their other passport with different names in it  without being aware of the consequences.    

 

It doesn't affect me or anyone in my family but personally I think it is none of the British government's business what names people have in documents that are the property of other country's governments.  If it it to enhance security, it doesn't seem to be very effective.    

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1 hour ago, Arkady said:

In the case I mentioned the applicant didn't submit a copy of her valid Thai passport, not intentionally but because she was unaware it was required, having previously renewed under the previous rules.

Presumably this lady succeeded because she was able to submit recent documentary evidence of her "UK" name connected with her address. As we retired to Thailand nearly 8 years ago, my wife has no such document. She has written to (inter alia) the DWP in the hope of generating a letter which would satisfy this requirement, but that was before your post in another topic made me aware of this more recent requirement for matching passport names.

I infer from your OP that the other lady was living in, and applied for the passport in Thailand, which is my wife's situation. I suspect she was lucky that they didn't spot the lack of Thai immigration endorsements, and wouldn't like to bet that this would always be the case. As we're unlikely to resume residence in the UK I don't fancy the process of getting my wife to change her name on all her Thai stuff. I am now looking into changing her "UK" name by deed-poll to her Thai name, which is perfectly legal, can be done by a British citizen living abroad quite cheaply and quickly, and  the notarised document can then be presented with a passport application.

I'll let you know how we get on, but we're not in a hurry, we'll probably leave it until after we've returned from a trip to the UK in August. 

 

Edited by Eff1n2ret

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There is no requirement in UK or Thai law for a woman to take her husband's surname upon marriage.

 

As Arkady says

3 hours ago, Arkady said:

It is not difficult for them to change to their married names in Thailand with a Thai marriage certificate or a certified translation of a foreign one

 Which is what my wife chose to do when we married 17 years ago.

 

The choice, it appears to me, is simple.

  1. keep Thai maiden name and use that for all UK visa and LTR applications, then once qualified for British naturalisation and passport, or
  2. change to the husband's surname and change all Thai documents, including ID card and passport, to that.

 

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44 minutes ago, Eff1n2ret said:

Presumably this lady succeeded because she was able to submit recent documentary evidence of her "UK" name connected with her address. As we retired to Thailand nearly 8 years ago, my wife has no such document. She has written to (inter alia) the DWP in the hope of generating a letter which would satisfy this requirement, but that was before your post in another topic made me aware of this more recent requirement for matching passport names.

I infer from your OP that the other lady was living in, and applied for the passport in Thailand, which is my wife's situation. I suspect she was lucky that they didn't spot the lack of Thai immigration endorsements, and wouldn't like to bet that this would always be the case. As we're unlikely to resume residence in the UK I don't fancy the process of getting my wife to change her name on all her Thai stuff. I am now looking into changing her "UK" name by deed-poll to her Thai name, which is perfectly legal, can be done by a British citizen living abroad quite cheaply and quickly, and  the notarised document can then be presented with a passport application.

I'll let you know how we get on, but we're not in a hurry, we'll probably leave it until after we've returned from a trip to the UK in August. 

 

 

Yes, she is living in and applied in Thailand.  I don't know all the details of this one and don't want to pry any further but I guess you must be right, since something to verify address is required at the Trendy Building.  I think we should consider this as a one-off that slipped through the net due to special circumstances.  Most people who are living in Thailand under a different Thai name would not have any of the accepted documents for proof of address in their British name.

 

Your approach seems perfectly valid and probably a good solution for someone living in Thailand. I hope it works out.        

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Can't speak to the details but my USA friend's wife is Filipina and I am sure she still has Filipino nationality and nothing was revoked when she got her USA green card holder, USA passport, USA citizen etc.

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3 hours ago, gk10002000 said:

Can't speak to the details but my USA friend's wife is Filipina and I am sure she still has Filipino nationality and nothing was revoked when she got her USA green card holder, USA passport, USA citizen etc.

I think it is not difficult but there seems to be a formal process to apply for retention or re-acquiisition of Philippine nationality after naturalisation to another nationality http://www.immigration.gov.ph/index.php/services/citizenship-retention-and-aquisition/application-for-retention-re-acquisition-of-phil-citizenship .  The lady  in question obviously thought she could get a British passport straight after naturalisation without first having to go through the rigmarole of applying to retain Philippine nationality and then changing her name in the Philippines - a fairly reasonable assumption. 

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6 hours ago, 7by7 said:

There is no requirement in UK or Thai law for a woman to take her husband's surname upon marriage.

 

As Arkady says

 Which is what my wife chose to do when we married 17 years ago.

 

The choice, it appears to me, is simple.

  1. keep Thai maiden name and use that for all UK visa and LTR applications, then once qualified for British naturalisation and passport, or
  2. change to the husband's surname and change all Thai documents, including ID card and passport, to that.

 

I agree. Though the UK could make things even simpler by not allowing one to change your family name that easily.

 

In the Netherlands you will always keep your birthname so the old fashioned 'maidenname' (what would we call a guy adopting the wife's name? A surname and surname? :p) is a thing of the past. If you marry you may request that official letters are addressed with your birthname, The birthname of your spouse or any combination of both. You can also request that your pasports has an extra field that says 'surname of spouse: ' . This of course applies to both men and women. However your birthname will never change so this prevents you from being known under more than one surname. Still this allows a more old fashioned woman or a man that really fancies his wife's surname to be addressed with that surname so this satisfies those who prefer dropping their own surname in daily life.

 

 

 

 

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An interesting question would arise for a Thai who naturalised as British and changed his or her gender officially while living in the UK.   The passport office would no doubt tell them to go and change their gender in their Thai ID card and passport before applying for a British passport. Since  this is impossible under Thai law, their only option might be to change their gender back again in the UK, possibly transforming an officially opposite sex marriage into a same sex one.    

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This is a very good thread and an interesting question/problem.

 

Looking at the Gov website for on line passport renewal, it does state it is a trial but they do ask that the names are the same.

 

I see many issues arising here. If you can, it may be worth waiting to see if they amend the application.

 

My wife renewed hers in 2014 so no issues but like many, she will refuse to change her family name as her culture retains the name on marriage but adds the title Madam to denote marriage. Her British passport however has her married name as is our custom.

 

Human rights perhaps?

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