Your passport could be wrong

Yes it could.  I must say that I honestly don’t understand how a passport can have a completely different name from what appears on your birth certificate.  Now before you jump down my throat … I am not talking about last names.  Yes, people get married and change their last name or even combine their maiden name with their spouse’s last name.  What amazes me are the number of people who don’t get the first part right on their passport.

Example – if you were born John Henry Smith and you apply for a  passport you can apply for a passport issued in the name of J. Henry Smith and then support your identity with your driver’s licence.  See extract from the application form –

passport application

So this means you can use your driver’s licence to support your identity – not your birth certificate.

I can’t tell you how many headaches this gives us travel agents.  Some airlines are really difficult to work with when it comes to name changes.  Some even insist that a completely new ticket is issued with the according penalties and cancellation charges.  Woe is you J. Henry Smith.

Then there is the problem of trying to get a passport after you have changed your name legally – yes really – read this story –

Laura Skywalker Matthews added the Jedi name “for a laugh” after joking with her friends about her love of the character from George Lucas’ seminal films.

But the stunt backfired when it took eight weeks for passport officials to refuse her application meaning she missed a summer holiday to Amsterdam.

The 29-year-old was told her signature of L Skywalker infringed a copyright despite it being accepted previously for her driving licence.

Miss Matthews said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“They told me the issue was with my signature because L Skywalker is trademark.

“I have the same signature on my driving licence, bank cards and everything else.

“How can everybody else be happy with that signature, apart from the passport office?



By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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