Honeymooning in your Married Name
Guide to Honeymooning with a Post-Dated Passport
If you are dreaming of jetting off to sandy shores with your sparkling new ring, spouse and matching passports…then this guide will tell you how to make your dreams come true.
But….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
Honeymooners often travel to far and fabulous destinations - after all this is the trip of a lifetime to celebrate your nuptials! The critical question to ask (after you peel yourself from Pinterest) is this: Do I need a visa?
Combining a visa with a post-dated passport isn’t necessarily a No–No, but you should research this thoroughly and approach with considered caution!
This is where travel agencies come into their own – not only for advice, but if you are planning a multi-destination holiday they will help guide you through what is and isn’t possible. We spoke to travel expert, Steve Finch of Travel Counsellors who offers the following sound advice:
‘As well as your final destination(s) beware of transiting or layover rules that apply with regards to visas. A well-seasoned travel agent will be au fait with the nuances of each country and able to support you through all elements of your travel.
For the USA, use extreme care when applying for the mandatory ESTA online, otherwise you may end up needing to approach the US embassy to obtain your visa. If you tick the box saying you have a criminal record for example your ESTA application will be denied. Be wary, for example, if you have a speeding ticket this is not classed as a criminal record’
Here are some guiding principles to help you with your research:
- As a general rule, countries where you pay for a visa upon arrival for example Bali/Indonesia shouldn’t pose a problem as long as your flight booking and passport names match. However, you may for example, need to pay the cash fee locally on arrival in US Dollars, or the local currency.
- Countries requiring a visa to be applied for in advance can represent more of a headache and in some cases may be a deal breaker. Turnaround time is key here.
- USA: The United States remains a very popular holiday multi-stop destination for newlyweds – To get in, you’ll need an ESTA which can only be applied for once you have your new passport, corresponding passport number and most crucially, your passport has become valid (IE the day of your marriage). Thankfully ESTA’s are very straightforward to obtain and can be applied for online. They take about 10 minutes to be issued so it’s doable, albeit a little close to the point of boarding for some.
- EXOTIC locations: Take a more tropical location who’s consulate relies on bureaucratic processes from the dark ages – you’ll need to be prepared for a few bumps en route….Not totally impossible, but you better have a good amount of time, strong nerves and of course a VERY trusted source of advice!
- Click here to for this neat resource about entry and visa requirements for British citizens to over 100 countries.
The last of the 3 key pieces to be aligned is of course practicality. Assuming you’ve got time and location under control we recommend you use the below checklist to ensure you understand the practical implications, and what that might mean in your individual situation.
BE AWARE OF:
- COST: Even if you have years left on your current passport you will still be charged for a new one: £75.50 to apply for a 10 year passport (more if you use Check and Send or Fast Track services).
- YOU CAN’T TRAVEL You’ll need to surrender your passport at the time of submitting your application - if you’re planning on nipping off for a hen-do weekend or you travel with work - you’ll need to rethink things. Your new passport, even if it arrives weeks ahead of the big day can’t actually be used until after the ceremony.
- COLD FEET: If the marriage doesn’t go ahead for any reason you will need to return the new passport to HM Passport office and re-apply for a new passport in your original name.
- If you have dual citizenship (‘dual nationality’) and have a non-British passport, the name on your non-British passport must match the name you want on your British passport - If it doesn’t, change the details on your non-British passport before you apply for a new British passport.
- If you are planning on getting married abroad you will be unable to apply for a post-dated passport as you will need to begin and end your trip abroad with a passport in your original name.
- You can’t apply for a post-dated passport if your name change isn’t a traditional change - for example, if you are planning to create a brand new team name or make a maiden name a middle name (which would require a deed poll - there is a specific path for this, and we can help you give you more information if you’d like to get in touch).
HOW TO GUIDE: THE BORING (but helpful) BITS
Assuming the trilogy of Time, Location and Practicality are favourably aligned, read on to understand how to get your hands on a Post-Dated passport:
You can apply to change your name on your passport up to 3 months before the ceremony. Your old passport will then be cancelled.
The new passport is ‘post-dated’ which means it is valid from the date of your ceremony and you can’t use it before the ceremony. Some countries won’t issue visas for post-dated passports so do check with the country’s consulate.
To renew your passport you can either:
- Apply online
- Or apply using a standard passport application form, which you can pick from any Post Office branch.
You will need to send a ‘Post-Date Form 2’ (PD2) along with your application - The minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony must sign this, as must you with your current name and signature.
You can download a copy of the PD2 form here. For further guidance, please call the passport advice line on 0330 222 0000.
It costs £75.50 to renew or replace your passport online, or £85.00 via the paper form. There is an additional fee payable of £9.50 if you use the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service, available at larger post office branches.
For further guidance on how to complete a Passport Renewal Application to accompany your PD2, please check out our comprehensive guide.
The Passport Office recommend visiting their dedicated travel advice pages. Updated hourly and free to use.
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