Marriage or registered relationship certificate
Names in passport Section 53(3) Australian Passports Act 2005
Regardless of the names appearing on an applicant’s Australian citizenship or Australian birth certificate (the cardinal documents), under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Section 53 (3), the given name/s and family name appearing on a valid Australian RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate may appear in an Australian travel document.
Given name/s to appear in an Australian travel document
The applicant may choose to have appearing in their Australian travel document the given names/s from their cardinal document or Australian RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate.
An applicant may nominate the whole group of given name/s exactly as they appear (order/spelling) on a single valid RBDM or DIAC certificate.
Note: To appear in an Australian travel document the given name/s chosen by the applicant must be compatible with the family name combinations outlined in the section ‘ Family name/s to appear in an Australian travel document ’.
Family name/s to appear in an Australian travel document
The applicant may nominate to appear in their Australian travel document the family name/s shown on their RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate.
The applicant (either bride or groom; or either partner of a Registered Relationship) may choose one of the following family name options from the names appearing on their RBDM registered marriage or registered relationship certificate:
- Retain their existing family name (the family name on their cardinal document);
- Adopt their spouse’s/partner’s family name;
- Adopt the family name as recorded on a RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate;
- Add their spouse’s/partner’s family name to their own name, either with or without hyphens and either by adding the name before or after their existing family name.
For example, if Mary Smith marries Barry Brown, their names could be:
Mary Smith Brown
Barry Brown Smith
Mary Brown Smith
Barry Smith Brown
For example, if Lisa Smith registers her relationship with Tammy Jones, their names could be:
Lisa Smith Jones
Tammy Jones Smith
Lisa Jones Smith
Tammy Smith Jones
Inconsistent family name/s across certificates
Occasionally, an Australian RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate will record a family name that does not match (is inconsistent with) the family name on the applicant’s Australian birth or Australian citizenship certificate.
In such cases an applicant may nominate to appear in their Australian travel document one of the two following options:
- any single or combination of family name/s recorded on a valid Australian RBDM:
- marriage, or
- registered relationship certificate.
- the family name/s as recorded on one of the following valid Australian documents from which they chose the given name/s:
- RBDM birth certificate (exactly as recorded), or
- DIAC citizenship certificate (exactly as recorded), or
- RBDM marriage certificate (sing/comb), or
- RBDM registered relationship certificate (sing/comb).
It is important to note that:
- The family name recorded on the RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate may appear in the Australian travel document singularly or in combination with the family name of the applicant’s partner as is current practice.
- If using the inconsistent family name appearing on the RBDM marriage or registered relationship certificate, as the name to appear in the travel document, no spelling variations are permitted.
Family name/s on subsequent travel documents
Once a combination of family names is nominated and appears in an Australian travel document, the person cannot nominate a different combination of names to appear in a subsequent Australian travel document without a RBDM name change certificate.
Consistent with current policies the person may revert, on a subsequent Australian travel document, to their birth/citizenship name or previous married/registered relationship name.
Unacceptable marriage certificates
Marriage certificates issued in Australia by a marriage celebrant or religious leader are not acceptable for change of name in a passport. Such marriages need to be registered with a State or Territory Registrar Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) and an RBDM marriage certificate produced in support of the married family name in an Australian travel document.
An Extract of a marriage certificate or Certificate of Particulars of Marriage issued by some RBDMs are not acceptable documents for change of name as they do not contain a registration number which can be validated against the RBDM record.
An applicant normally resident in Australia, who was married overseas, is required to submit a change of name certificate issued by RBDM before the name on the foreign marriage certificate can be accepted for use in an Australian passport. The original of the foreign marriage certificate (suitably translated) is required only when a gratis family name change is requested.
An applicant born overseas and residing overseas who is unable to register a name change or marriage certificate from any RBDM in Australia may use the name specified on a marriage certificate (suitably translated) issued by a foreign authority. See ‘ Overseas marriage/divorce/death of spouse ’.
Where an applicant has assumed the name of his or her common law partner (de-facto relationship) a RBDM change of name certificate is required before the new name can be accepted for inclusion in an Australian passport. Normal fees apply.
If the de-facto relationship has been registered with RBDM in the relevant states and territories, the relationship certificate is required before the new name can be accepted for inclusion in an Australian passport. A gratis passport may be issued provided normal requirements are met.
Same sex marriage
Same sex marriages are not recognised in Australia (Marriage Act 1961- Section 88EA) and therefore a same sex marriage certificate may not be used as evidence of a name change.
In cases of same sex marriages, a name change certificate issued by RBDM or the relevant foreign name change authority must be presented. Normal fees apply.
Alternatively, the applicant may consider obtaining an Australian RBDM issued registered relationship certificate from the relevant states or territories. This would be accepted as evidence of a name change.
Reverting to Australian birth or citizenship name/s
Either person recorded on an Australian marriage or registered relationship certificate between adults may revert to their Australian birth or citizenship name at any time provided neither person has formally renounced their Australian birth or citizenship name.
There is no requirement for divorce papers or a revocation of a registered relationship certificate if reverting to an Australian birth or citizenship name/s unless the applicant:
- is required to establish a chain of name change documents linking the current name/s to the Australian birth or citizenship name/s and/or,
- is applying for a gratis replacement document due to name change.
Gratis passport: family name change due to marriage/registered relationship
People about to marry or enter a registered relationship are issued with a full validity passport in their current name. Within one year of the marriage/registered relationship the passport may be replaced gratis in the family name of either person recorded on the marriage or registered relationship certificate, valid to the expiry date of the original document provided appropriate documentation is submitted.
See also ‘ Gratis Passports ’.