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Her Majesty’s Passport Office and the wider Home Office since February 2015 has taken a firmer line in its implementation of regulations on a single name for all official purposes. This means that they require the person named in the passport application to have conformity of name in other official documents prior to a British Passport being issued or renewed.
This has particular relevance to children adopted from overseas, many of whom will hold documentation in one name by which they are legally known in their country of origin and an adoptive name in the UK which differs to this in whole or in part. HM Passport Office may refuse to issue, or to renew a British passport for a child adopted from overseas when the name does not align between the foreign and UK passport.
Where the process of adoption/guardianship in the State or origin has concluded
The impact of these regulations will vary according to the State of origin concerned. The UK based Embassy of the child’s State of origin may be able to advise on whether and how the child’s name in the State of origin can be legally changed to that of the name the child holds in the UK. There will be occasions where this is not possible or, if it is, will require the adopters or adopted adult to travel in person to the State of origin for this to be effected. IAC understand that where the adopters or the adopted adult can provide written evidence from the foreign authority that there is no provision in the State of origin for the name to be changed retrospectively, or the process would cause significant difficulty, HM Passport Office might take such evidence into account when determining whether a British Passport can be issued. However the fact that travel may be required or that a large fee may be required overseas to change the name on the foreign passport will not in of itself be considered a ‘significant difficulty’.
When HM Passport Office does issue a passport in a different name to the foreign documents, they will consider including an observation in the British passport confirming the person is also known as their [other name] in their [country name] passport.
Where the adoption process is in train
As early as possible in the process, prospective adopters should seek information from the authorities in the State of origin about whether they will be able to obtain the relevant court order, identity/travel documents (and in the case of an adoption under the Hague Convention the Article 23 Certificate of conformity) in the name by which the prospective adopters wish the child to be known in the UK. There will be occasions where this is not possible. In such cases prospective adopters are advised to ascertain whether and how the child’s name can be changed after the event, in order that the child’s travel documents can be issued in the State of origin in the name by which the child will be known in the UK. Where there are limitations on the changes that the State of origin will allow to the name on the foreign travel documents, HM Passport Office will add an observation to the British passport linking the different names as detailed above.
Where can we go for further information and advice?
Adoptive parents applying for a passport for a child or adopted adults who may be affected as a result of the above should contact the Passport Adviceline on 0300 222 0000 or +44 (0)300 222 0000 from outside the UK for advice and guidance.