Author Topic: Surname change problems  (Read 273 times)

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Offline sfa2003

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Surname change problems
« on: October 22, 2017, 12:27:38 PM »
My partner and I got married 6 years ago in New York and she didn't change her surname then. I'm British she is now a dual British/American citizen. Now, as we are thinking of the future and children, we have decided to change her surname. We are starting the whole process now and everything is still currently in her maiden name.

We were recently in New York and went to the social security office to try and change her surname with the marriage certificate but they didn't accept it as the marriage was over 2 years old and her maiden name was on the marriage certificate. The DMV and her bank also wouldn't allow us to change it without proof of the new surname.

She needs to renew her US passport in the next month and we wanted to get it in the new surname but this is starting to seem impossible. The New York state website seems to say that we need to remarry to start the process, however we would like to leave that as a last resort. Does anyone know if there is an easier way to do this? Or could we start the name change process in the UK (where we are based) and then use these documents as proof of a new name for US authorities?

This is driving us a bit crazy. Thanks.

Offline ksand24

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Re: Surname change problems
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 12:38:41 PM »
It's probably best to do it all in the UK first, as it's much easier. It's not really necessary to change the US stuff just yet, if you are still living in the UK.

All you need to do to change her surname on most things in the UK is for her to just start using it. Just call the utility companies/store card companies etc and ask for her name to be changed on the account.

For bank accounts/UK driving licence etc., she'll probably need to take/send her marriage certificate to prove you are married and that she's taking your name.

She should be able to change her name in her US passport pretty easily - when she renews, she just requests a name change, and supplies her marriage certificate: https://uk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/u-s-passports/change-name-on-u-s-passport/

Same goes for her UK passport. She just applies for a name change on the passport: https://www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information

Once all that is done, you can look into sorting out the US side of things.

Offline sfa2003

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Re: Surname change problems
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 06:04:24 PM »
Thanks ksand24! Do you know if changing the US passport or even the bank over in the UK will work because she didn't originally take my surname on the marriage certificate? And because of that, we don't have anything in her new name because no one would change it in the States (granted, we only tried her bank and the Social Security office). We mainly want to change her passport soon, but are just unsure if a marriage certificate in her maiden name would be enough for them to do it.

A NY state website seems to suggest we need to remarry to legally change her name — I hope this isn't the case. Has anyone had a similar experience?

Offline ksand24

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Re: Surname change problems
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 06:49:50 PM »
And because of that, we don't have anything in her new name because no one would change it in the States (granted, we only tried her bank and the Social Security office).

My point was that you don't need to change anything in the US at all yet, because you don't live there at the moment, so there's no need to do it first.

So, just don't even think about the US stuff right now - you can sort that out later on - and instead I would first concentrate on changing her name in the UK... on things like her UK driving licence, council tax, electricity bills, phone bills, bank statements etc. You should just be able to contact the various companies you have accounts with and ask them to change her name on the account.

From what I can tell, as long as both her maiden name and your surname are listed on the marriage certificate, that is enough evidence of a name change for UK authorities.

So, you can also apply to change her name on her UK passport, by sending off your marriage certificate with the application.

And you can see about changing her name on her US passport... I found a link that said that as long as both your names are listed on the marriage certificate, it is sufficient evidence of a name change for a US passport, but it wasn't an official government link so that's not confirmed.

Once you have changed her name on her UK and US passports, you can start thinking about changing it on her SSN and other things in the US... because you will now have evidence of the new name.