A guide to changing your passport name before the big day

20 Jul 2017

Are you changing the name on your passport before your wedding day? Here's how to plan ahead for a post-dated passport

Image gallery

Image gallery

If you are honeymooning soon after your wedding, here’s some essential advice for changing your passport name in time – from name changing experts, NameSwitch.

How long does it take to apply for a passport?

Possibly the most crucial element you need on your side is time. Ideally 3+ months in advance of your wedding to allow for a smooth application with a little buffer just in case. Four weeks is possible, but starting to cut it fine – your nerves won’t thank you for leaving this one too close to the wire.

Short on time?

The safest option is of course to opt to travel in your maiden name and switch names on your passport and all other paperwork when you return. However, if you’re adamant that you want to pull this off, you can consider paying a little extra for the one week Fast Track service:

  • The passport office put on extra staff during peak season.
  • Allow up to a week to receive an appointment to apply through the Fast Track service. Factor in time off work to attend your interview office.
  • Straight-forward applications will see passports issued within seven days during peak season.  

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.

Travel experts www.honeymoondreams.co.uk offer the following advice:

"The key to achieving your dream honeymoon is planning in advance. Most airlines release their seats 11 months in advance, which is when they tend to have the lowest fares available. Planning early has many benefits including allowing you to spread the cost of your all-important honeymoon over a longer period, as well as having access to the best availability."

"While many brides-to-be travel in their maiden name, if you’re planning on post-dating your passport and travelling in your married name, make sure you advise your travel provider at the time of booking. Many airlines will charge for name changes after the initial booking. But rest assured that travelling in different names does not mean you won’t be recognised as a honeymoon couple while away.”

how-to-change-your-passport-name-before-wedding-3

Here are some guiding principles to help you with your visa research:

1. As a general rule, countries where you pay for a visa upon entry e.g. Bali/Indonesia, shouldn’t pose a problem as long as your flight booking and passport names match. You may need to pay the cash fee locally on arrival in US Dollars, or the local currency.

2. Countries requiring a visa to be applied for in advance can represent more of a headache. Do your research.

3. 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 i.e. the day of your marriage. Thankfully ESTAs 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.

4. Exotic locations: Take a more remote, tropical location whose 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 it is advised you seek professional guidance from your travel provider.

5. Ultimately, you must ascertain which countries have a need for a visa and also the (sometimes mandatory) health requirements. You will need a valid passport to apply for a visa online or via your travel agent.

how-to-change-your-passport-name-before-wedding-2

Once you’ve done your research on location and visas, here’s how to get your hands on a post-dated passport:

1. You can apply to change your name on your passport up to three months before the ceremony. Your old passport will then be cancelled.

2. The new passport is ‘post-dated’ which means it is valid from the date of your ceremony and you won’t be permitted to use it before the ceremony.

3. Some countries won’t issue visas for post-dated passports so do check with the country’s consulate.

4. Apply online or pick up an application form from any Post Office branch.

5. 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.

6. Get more details and a copy of the PD2 form here by contacting the passport advice line on 0330 222 0000.

7. It costs £72.50 to apply and you’ll be sent a new 10-year passport. Up to nine months of unexpired time on your old passport will be added to your new passport.

8. An online and extensively detailed guide to completing your passport application can be found here.

9. The Passport Office recommends visiting its dedicated travel advice pages, updated hourly and free to use.