Guide to Changing your Name after Getting Married Abroad

NameSwitch Guide Series

Let’s face it. The British weather has an uncanny habit of letting us down just when we really need it to be dry and sunny. But we’re not just talking about the issue of soggy sausages at summer barbecues or mud-soaked tents at the Glastonbury festival.

More and more people are getting married abroad in the hope that their special day will be blessed with sunshine, as well as the fact that it’s more affordable to travel to long-haul locations than it was a decade ago. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with your close family and friends in the build-up to the big day and roll into your honeymoon in situ.

However, if you’re changing your name as a result of your new partnership, the name change process is slightly more complex than it is if your marriage is held here in the UK.

So, if you’re wondering how to go about changing your name after getting married abroad, this Guide is here to give you the low down.

Do I need to register my marriage in the UK?

As of the beginning of 2014, you no longer need to provide the GRO (General Register Office) with a copy of your foreign marriage certificate or have your marriage recorded in the UK. Your foreign marriage certificate will usually be accepted for official purposes in the UK, although if it’s not in English or Welsh, you’ll need to supply an official translation from a certified translation service.

We also advise that you ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the official translation that:

  1. It is a “true and accurate translation of the original document”;
  2. the date of the translation;
  3. the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company.

How can I be sure that my marriage is legal?

When you’re getting married abroad, one of the easiest ways to ensure that everything is above board as far as legal requirements are concerned is to enlist the services of a wedding planner. We recommend - a UK based website packed with useful guides, blogs and planning tools to get you started.

A note of caution - if you’re going solo, you should be aware that the legal validity of your marriage is governed by the laws of the country in which you are getting married and not the laws of the country in which you reside.

Help! I’m getting married in Vegas!

If you’re planning on heading off to the Little White Chapel or another Las Vegas venue to say “I do”, you’ll need to ensure that the ceremony is performed by an officiant who’s licensed in Nevada, and once complete, your marriage will be internationally recognised.

You can find plenty of useful information on getting married abroad in Las Vegas on this website, which also includes an order form that lets you request certified copies of your marriage certificate. We recommend that you order three copies so that you can begin changing your name once you get home with multiple organisations and companies simultaneously.

How do you go about changing your name after getting married abroad?

It’s best to begin the name change process when you arrive back home.

In the same way that anyone who has recently got hitched in the UK needs to provide a copy of their marriage certificate to certain organisations, so will you. But you will need to have a certified copy of your certificate if it’s in English or Welsh or an official translation to accompany your foreign marriage certificate as we mentioned earlier in this Guide to Changing your Name after Getting Married Abroad.

While not all companies will require a copy of your marriage certificate in order to process your name change request, some authorities such as the Passport Office, the DVLA, and your bank will need to see either the original marriage certificate or a certified copy (along with a certified translation if applicable).

Do I need a deed poll after getting married abroad?

If you have changed your surname to your partner’s surname after getting married abroad, you will not need to apply for a deed poll on your return to the UK, provided that your marriage certificate records both your maiden name and your partner’s surname.

However, there are some scenarios in which you may require a deed poll. For example, if you wish to “mesh” your joint surnames (e.g. Miss Price and Mr. Night becomes Pright), you will need a deed poll.

If you want further clarification on this matter, you may find our Helpful Guide to Determine When a Deed Poll is Needed to Legally Change your Name useful.

Can NameSwitch help me with my name change?

While we can’t help you with the documentation that you will need to supply to the relevant authorities/registrar before getting married abroad, we can certainly assist you with changing your name once you’re safely home.

NameSwitch is a unique UK-based companies that provides a comprehensive online name changing service, and the positive feedback that we’ve received from our customers so far just goes to show how much simpler changing your name can be when you’ve got us on your team.

Whether you’re getting married abroad or here in the UK, changing your name requires notifying a whole host of companies and government bodies. For example, you’ll need to renew your passport, change your driving licence and vehicle registration document, inform your bank, mortgage provider, credit card companies, utility companies, and more.

With NameSwitch, getting the ball rolling is as easy as picking your preferred package, and our ePackage costs as little as £45.95.

Whichever option you choose, we’ll ask you for some personal details such as your full name, home address and contact number. Next, we’ll provide you with a list from our extensive database so that you can highlight which companies and organisations are applicable to your name change. Once you’ve completed all the necessary information and paid for your chosen NameSwitch package via our secure servers, we’ll provide you with personalised letters, forms, and instructions, ready for you to sign and send off.

Why not start by downloading your free name change checklist today?