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Can I continue to use my passport in my maiden name?

by K

Question: I got married last year in the US and legally changed my name. My husband and I are currently living in Guatemala and my residency visa is in my current passport with my maiden name.

I also have visas to travel to other countries, and they are also in my maiden name. Can I hold on to my maiden name passport until it expires, or must I change it now? How will that affect my visas? I know that once I change my name in the passport, they return the old one, but that it is then voided, so I am not sure how I can enter other countries. Thank you!

Answer: Best practice and the one that has least potential for problems is to travel with a passport that has your current legal name in it.

Once your new passport is issued in your current name, the old passport will be invalidated and returned to you. There are a few countries that allow you to enter with your valid passport and the visa in the invalidated passport. Most others require you apply for either a transfer of the visa the new passport or a completely new visa. You need to check with the embassy or consulate general of each nation for which you have valid visas.

Guatemala likely has regulations requiring the update of your residence visa due to name change. Contact the immigration agency that oversees the issuance of residency visas there.

You can apply for a passport name change at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City.

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