One Name For All Official Purposes

07 Dec 2017, 23 mins ago

A naturalized UK citizen recently had her British passport renewal application refused due to the use of her maiden name. Russian born Elena Holdsworth has been a UK citizen for 10 years, however the fact that her Russian passport is in her maiden name has led the Passport Office to refuse her renewal application due to the ‘one name for all purposes’ policy.

The policy, first announced in February 2015, and maintained after a review in 2016, represents an effort to protect the public from criminal and false passport use. The policy seeks to ensure that a person is able to engage with banks, local authorities, employers and government departments etc. with the use of one common name. Individuals, such as Mrs Holdsworth, present a difficulty to this policy, by maintaining a core document with an alternative name that does not align with the name she uses for all of her official purposes within the United Kingdom. The 2016 review introduced exceptions, which allow a passport to be issued in the name requested even if it differs from the name on the passport issued by another country. Unfortunately, Mrs Holdsworth provided no evidence to the Passport Office that proved she fell within one of the exceptions.

Such a policy, while practical in the interests of identity protection, poses a unique problem for dual citizens like Mrs Holdsworth, who has had to secure a temporary UK travel document in order to return to her place of birth, in Siberia, in an attempt to change her Russian passport to reflect her married name. If she is able to do this, she will then begin the process of reapplying for her British passport with her new name reflected across her core documentation.

Anyone finding themselves in a similar position can be faced with a complicated and stressful process, however it should be noted that such processes are subject to each applicant’s circumstances and the consideration of the Passport Office.

Gherson has over 29 years of experience in handling the immigration matters of both individuals and corporations. Should you wish to discuss applying for permanent residence or any other immigration matters please contact us.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2017