Honeymooning in your married name

couple on their honeymoon on beach bare foot If you are dreaming of jetting off to sandy shores with your sparkling new ring, spouse and matching passports...then this guide from NameSwitch will tell you how to make your dreams come true.

Please do have a proper think about whether having matching passports straight away is really that important to you because, trust us when we say, it's not an easy thing to pull off! With recent changes to how processes work, effects of the Pandemic, and added complications like not being handed your marriage certificate on your wedding day, or needing the name on your NHS records to be the same as the one on your passport, an already stressful undertaking just got even more nail-biting! Now it's not mission impossible, but you do need 3 key things to be aligned (and nerves of steel) if this is going to work...

Possibly the most crucial element you need on your side is time. It is possible to apply for what is known as a "Post Dated Passport' to be issued ahead of the big day, using a PD2 form (which is signed by your wedding registrar or church) so that you can travel on honeymoon in your new married name - but there are a number of key caveats and risks to consider. We would only recommend this to couples who are embarking on a traditional surname change, have plenty of time (ideally 2+ months before the wedding) and are not needing to travel during that period. Crucially, we would strongly advise against planning to honeymoon in your new name straight after the wedding as it's not practically achievable! Especially with the recent changes.

For example, for most people, they would need to amend their NHS record so that their covid vaccination pass aligns with their new name before attempting to cross a border. Weigh up how important this is and whether it's worth navigating through additional stress and uncertainty at this time.

As of May 2021, couples are no longer handed their Marriage Certificate on the day of the wedding. Instead, Marriage Certificates will only be sent out once your marriage has been registered on an electronic register. For register office weddings your certificates can be posted about a week after your wedding, but for other venues it can take up to 3 weeks before they can be ordered online. So, not only will you need to allow 2+ months before of your wedding to allow for a smooth application of a Post-Dated Passport, but you will also need to allow around a month after your wedding for your marriage certificate to arrive. If you're honeymooning immediately after the big day, the timings simply won't work. Without your marriage certificate, you won't be able to change things like the name on your NHS record, which will need to match the name on your new passport for things like your Vaccination Record.

Short on time? The safest option is of course to opt to travel in your maiden name and switch names on your passport when you return. If you're adamant that you want to pull this off then you can consider paying a little extra for the 1 week Fast Track service – this is high risk as your travel documents must match your passport name at all points of your journey, not just immigration on both sides, but also at your resort/hotel.

Worth noting that:

  • The passport office put on extra staff during the peak season (June –August).
  • They can guarantee a straightforward application will result in a passport being issued within 7 days during this period.
  • However, you need to allow up to a week for your appointment, which will require some travel and time off work to get to your closest passport office. You can find nearest passport office here
Read more on the NameSwitch blog.

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