Name difference problem renewing UK passport

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Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:23 am

Apparently about five years ago new rules were brought in by the UK passport authority applicable to those who have dual nationality but the names on the passports are different. If you declare on your renewal form that you have dual nationality and that your name is not the same on the other passport they will not renew the passport unless the names are the same.

In the case I am aware of the person was born in Thailand and their Thai birth certificate has their Thai forename and Western family name in Thai script. When the birth was registered in the UK embassy the birth certificate had an English forename added ( way back in 1992). This has not been a problem until now. The person is now living in the UK and needs their passport for work but is basically being left with the choice of either changing the name on one of the passports or relinquishing their Thai nationality.

The purpose of this post (although I am sure it will be discussed) is not the rights/wrongs or if it is worth keeping dual nationality but to raise awareness of this as I have not seen this anywhere else on the forum and no doubt others or their children may be affected by this rule.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by HHTel » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:02 am

An option, of course, is not to declare 'other' passports.
Legally, you do have to disclose the fact that you have a foreign passport. The information is requested on the application form, and its a criminal offense to lie on a passport application. Pragmatically its very unlikely the passport office would ever find out, but it is possible, if you were ever to have immigration problems that it would come to their attention and then you could be prosecuted.

There is some debate as to whether you actually have to send them originals of your foreign passports, which is required as supporting documentation. Its debatable whether the British government actually has any power to demand this, since passports are owned by their issuing country. However, as a practical matter if you admit to possessing a foreign passport on the application form but do not submit it, your application will be rejected.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:05 am

Unfortunately it was declared and has caused no end of problems. Totally agree with HHTel and will be recommending this to other relations where this may exist.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Big Boy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:22 am

The way my family use their duel passports, I would imagine such a problem would cause problems when travelling. The name on the ticket has to exactly match the name on the passport. Therefore, one leg of a return journey would result in refusal to travel.
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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:23 pm

I understand what you are saying Big Boy but while the relation concerned was younger travel to and from the UK was a regular thing and like my wife, departure from the UK was done on the UK passport and arrival in Thailand done on the Thai passport. For all that time the name difference existed and no questions ever raised as the only inconsistency was the additional name on the UK passport with every other detail the same. At check-in time in the UK the UK passport was used as there would be no issue entering Thailand without a visa and on the return leg both passports were shown as the Thai passport had the TM form and the UK passport was for entry into the UK. Perhaps this may not be the case with an over zealous official but the period covered was many years, the most recent about six years ago. In my wife's case there have never been any questions although her name is the same on both passports.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by REEM » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:28 pm

My wife, a Thai, has a Thai passport in her maiden name, and a UK passport in our married name. We were married in the UK.

She has renewed her UK passport in the past with no problems, they ask on the renewal application if any other nations passport is held, but they never asked to see it.

Her current UK passport is nearing its expiry date, and she needs to renew it in the UK. Now they ask to see the foreign passport. We sought information from the Passport Offices most unhelpful helpline.

They will not renew it whilst she has a Thai passport with a different surname. The names of dual nationals must be identical in both passports. This little known rule was introduced in 2015. That is was never publicised, or that dual nationals were never notified is causing big problems for the many affected by this. Immigration forums are full of stories about dual nationals who cannot travel back to their home country being left high and dry by the intransigence of the Home Office.

Failure to disclose a second passport when asked ( as on the passport renewal application) is a criminal offence, if found out and convicted, imprisonment is a possibilty, and in these security conscious and jobsworth boxticking times, loss of nationality is also distinct possibility. That advice was from our MP.

The Home Office/ Passport office do know who are dual nationals.

Repeated phone calls to the UK passport office confirmed this alignment of names in both passports requirement, Until the name in her Thai passport is changed, they will not renew her UK passport, and they also said that if an application to renew is refused, they are under no obligation to return the UK passport, as under these new rules, it is in fact illegal for one individual to hold 2 passports with different surnames. So do the name change first, and then apply for the renewal of the UK passport.

The Thai embassy in London cannot do this name change, it needs to be initially changed on the Tabien Baan, before a new Thai passport can be issued, and that can only be done in Thailand, and there is a lot of paperwork involved.

She consulted her MP in the UK, who expressed surprise at this requirement. He contacted the passport office on our behalf and was told that there are no exceptions to this rule. (Unless travelling back to the home country would put her life in danger from persecution etc.or her embassy would confirm that it is impossible to change ones surname, which the Thai embassy in London would not do.)

Hence our recent hastily arranged trip back to Thailand .... and my presence was also required, I have to give permission for her to take my name!

Note that some airlines will not allow boarding to passengers whose passports are close to expiry.

So, after sending our marriage licence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Milton Keynes to be apostilled, (one week and 40 quid) then sending the apostilled licence off to an official translator to be translated into Thai (one week and 30 quid) and then sending it off to the Thai embassy in London to have both the translation and the apostille certified, (one week and 20 quid) we came to Thailand. The amphur office then asked us to get my UK passport certified by the British Embassy as genuine, and then it was translated into Thai. ( make an appointment, up to a week, then 30 minutes and 1000 baht)

After that, the apostilled, certified and translated marriage certificate, along with my certified and translated passport needed to be taken to the Thai Ministry of Foreigh Affairs out at Chaeng Wattana to be certified yet again.(a morning queuing, then return 3 days later to collect and pay a few hundred baht)

Then, and only then, will the Amphur office accept them and change the maiden name to the married name in her Tabien Baan, which is the principal ID document in Thailand. ( 4 hours, reams and reams of photocopying, signing, witnessing and certifying)

Following that, at the adjoining desk in the Khlong Toey Amphur office my wife got a new Thai ID card, ( 20 minutes) and with that she obtained a new Thai passport at the Passport office at the Khlong Toey MRT station in her married name. (2 days)

The whole process in Thailand, including obtaining the new passport, took 10 days, and I must say, compared to Thai immigration, it was a doddle. At all stages, the officials were efficient, friendly, very helpful and flexible where small errors in the documentation were spotted. No requests for money were made.

In contrast, the UK passport office were unfriendly, unhelpful and inflexible. Had we been unable to make the trip back to Thailand, at great expense and with little notice, her UK passport would have expired and she would have been a British Citizen denied her right to a passport, and consequently denied healthcare and denied the right to seek employment.

When the passport office in the UK were asked what about those with jobs that they cannot suddenly absent themselves from, with health problems or with kids or who cannot afford to make such a trip, their reply was "then they must give up one of their nationalities"

All dealings with the UK passport office are by phone. It is impossible to get to see someone face to face. All dealings with the Thai civil service are face to face in well organised offices.

So to all those who are married to Thais with dual nationalities, do get the surnames aligned, and to say that we are disgusted with the attitude of the British authorities is an understatement.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Smoo » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:03 pm

Hi All,

We had the exact same problem with my wife's maiden name in her Thai passport and married in her UK. I declared she had a Thai passport in another name when I applied online as I follow the rules and didn't know it would be an issue, they refused to renew the UK unless we changed the Thai one to match names which as mentioned would require a trip back to Thailand. This process lasted weeks with many letters going back and forth, in the the computer said no and that was it. The application was cancelled and I lost the application fee.

Meanwhile and unbeknownst to me my wife applied again by post and a few days later waved her new UK passport under my nose, she did not declare her Thai passport. Its obvious the UK passport office which claims to follow security checks and procedures is not that great at doing so, there was only a week or so in between applications, you would think her name would flash up a query on the system.
Do countries around the world share passport information with other countries, how would they ever know what other passports somebody may hold and in what name.

My wife had already used the new UK passport with no trouble, so for others in the same situation I wouldn't bother to declare the other passport. Of course you have the weight the risks and decide for yourself.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by HHTel » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:38 pm

When we were married many years ago, changing the name on her Thai passport was so easy. One visit to the passport office with our marriage licence and my passport to show correct transliteration. A 'note' was stapled to the first page in her passport confirming a name change and stamped by the passport office.

How things have changed!

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:49 am

So far those who have responded have changed family names usually due to marriage. In this case it is the forenames that are the issue. Thai passport with one Thai forename, UK passport with a western name and the Thai forename.
Can a Thai have two forenames?Will one of the names have to be dropped and how easy is to change the Thai forename to a western one?

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Big Boy » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:49 am

Yes, definitely. I help my son out from time to time with a little admin, where he has to hold copies of ID Cards and Passports. I've just looked, and the Passports he has copies of have up to 3 forenames. Some of these names are a combination of Thai and English names.
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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Takiap » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:10 am

Gregjam wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:49 am
So far those who have responded have changed family names usually due to marriage. In this case it is the forenames that are the issue. Thai passport with one Thai forename, UK passport with a western name and the Thai forename.
Can a Thai have two forenames?Will one of the names have to be dropped and how easy is to change the Thai forename to a western one?

Sorry I can't help with regards to the passport issue, but if you wife wants to legally change her Thai forename to her western forename, it is a very easy and straightforward process. My missus changed her forename a few years back, along with all the other women in the office where she was working at the time. They had all been to some temple together and a monk advised them to change their names to western names. :shock: :laugh:

If my memory serves me correctly, the name change can be done at the tessaban offices by the traffic lights in the center of town. Some services that were formally done there are now done on the other side of the road, at the newer municipal premises, but not sure if this is the case with name changing.
If your wife changes her name, she will be issued with a new ID card, and she will also be given a certificate certifying the name change. It is important that she looks after this certificate because she will need to show it on certain occasions, including if/when she renews her Thai passport, and/or you apply for Thai passports for your kids if you have any.

When my wife and I went to Bangkok to apply for passports for our kids, it is the one document we forgot to take with, and it meant we had to make another trip. The passport office in Bangkok saw my wife's Thai forename on our marriage certificate, and her Western name on her ID card, and they refused to accept our application without seeing her name change certificate.

I think she has also had to show this certificate on a few other occasions, so it is important that you keep it somewhere safe. Anyway, like I've said, changing her name to a western one was a very quick and easy process. She walked in as Burian and walked out as Linda. :laugh:

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by HHTel » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:26 am

My two (leuk kung) daughters have two forenames, one western and one thai. They are both shown in their Thai and English passports.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:40 am

Thanks for the responses, things are looking up after a few down days. The UK passport office will be giving back the UK passport as it does not expire until October and there is now time for a visit to Thailand to get things sorted out. Great to know that multiple forenames can be used and this will be the path to follow.

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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Big Boy » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:54 am

Can you not get it done at the Thai Embassy in London? When I changed my wife's SURNAME, it was a simple visit to the Embassy. They put in an insert stating the new name. It was all updated properly on the next passport renewal. A trip to Thailand seems an unnecessary extravagance.
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Re: Name difference problem renewing UK passport

Post by Gregjam » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:01 am

Thanks for the responses, things are looking up after a few down days. The UK passport office will be giving back the UK passport as it does not expire until October and there is now time for a visit to Thailand to get things sorted out. Great to know that multiple forenames can be used and this will be the path to follow.

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