NameSwitch Guide Series
More and more people are getting married abroad in the hope that their special day will be blessed with sunshine. It’s now more affordable to travel to long-haul locations than it was a decade ago. And it’s a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones in the build-up to the big day and roll into your honeymoon in situ.
However the name change process is slightly more complex for destination weddings than for those who tie the knot in the UK.
So, if you’re wondering how to go about changing your name after getting married abroad, this Guide is for you.
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.
NameSwitch top tip! If it’s not in English or Welsh, you’ll need to supply an official translation from a certified translation service.
Ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the official translation that:
We recommend ordering 2-4 official copies from your translation company to enable multiple name-change requests to be sent off in parallel.
To ensure your destination wedding is legal and binding we recommend doing your research – you may also want to enlist the services of a specialist wedding planner.
Visit www.weddingsabroadguide.com - a UK based website packed with useful guides, blogs and planning tools to get you started on your destination planning journey.
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.
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.
NameSwitch top tip! Order 2-4 original copies of your marriage certificate so that you can begin changing your name once you get home with multiple organisations and companies simultaneously.
It’s best to begin the name change process when you arrive back home.
In the same way that anyone marrying in the UK needs to provide a copy of their marriage certificate to certain organisations, so will you. But you will need to have at least one original copy of your certificate if it’s in English or Welsh, or an official translation to accompany your foreign marriage certificate. Having 2-4 original copies will enable you to send off multiple name change requests in parallel.
Some companies will accept a photocopy/scan of your certificate to process a name change requests but not all. Many government bodies and financially regulated companies such as The Passport Office, the DVLA, and your bank will need to see either the original marriage certificate or a certified copy (or a certified translation if applicable).
If you are changing 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 surname 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.
It might be that your marriage certificate requires translation and/or that you only have one original copy - some find out our Deed Poll Premium Print Package to be a most cost effective and speedy option.
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 support you with changing your name once you’re home.
The average name changer notifies approximately 24 different government bodies, local authorities, and companies. Figuring out who needs what can be daunting and takes 14 hours on average! Most name changers find this process tedious and overly complicated.
NameSwitch has created a UK first and only award-winning namechange toolkit to help simplify this process. Change your name with speed and ease saving you so much time and with peace of mind that you’ll get it right first time.
In just 3 easy steps you can select who you need to notify from 700 government bodies, local authorities, and companies. You only need to enter your details once. You’ll have instant access to download your pre-populated name change letters, forms and personalised instructions ready for you to print and sign.
Dive into our practical Nameswitch guides.
Learn how to change your name on your drivers licence, on your Facebook account and how to handle updating your COVID pass along with your passport
Get your free name-change checklist to help you plan out all of the companies, government bodies and profiles you need to notify of your new name.