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Old 21.09.2020, 17:31
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Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

My husband and I got married back in March in the U.S. At the time, I chose to keep my maiden name because we had already started the visa paperwork to move to Switzerland this summer. I didnít want to complicate the process by throwing in a name change, and I was also worried about getting a new passport in time since the State Department stopped processing applications for awhile because of COVID.

Now that weíre settled in Lugano, I wanted to find out more about the name-change process here. Iím happy to keep my maiden name for now, but would eventually like to change it before we have kids. Iíd change my middle name to my maiden name, and take my husbandís last name. From what Iíve read on other threads in this forum, you need to have a valid reason to change your name, and Iím wondering if changing both my middle and last names would fit into their description of ďvalid.Ē Also, does anyone have an idea on the cost? Iíve seen figures up to 700chf, and I donít know if thatís per name (since Iíd be changing two).

Finally, I couldnít find a form or application on the cantonís website (Ticino). Does anyone have an idea how to begin the process?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 21.09.2020, 17:53
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

https://www.ch.ch/en/married-name/
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Old 21.09.2020, 20:25
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

If youíre not Swiss it had nothing to do with the Swiss. You would need to change your name with the US authorities, get a new passport, then take your passport & documentation and get a new permit etc in Switzerland.
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Old 21.09.2020, 20:32
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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If youíre not Swiss it had nothing to do with the Swiss. You would need to change your name with the US authorities, get a new passport, then take your passport & documentation and get a new permit etc in Switzerland.
This, assuming you're American. I moved here shortly after getting married in the States. There was no time to change the name or the passport in advance. However, when I registered here as married, I filled out a form at the municipality that told them what my married name would be once all the paperwork was through.

Then I did all the name change stuff with the SSA first, then the embassy for the passport, and once I had a new passport I went to the municipality and got a new permit with the new name. After that I updated the driver's license, the bank, yadda yadda.

It takes time though so plan accordingly if you want to travel or move. I moved to CH in May and I don't think it was all done until about November or even December.
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Old 21.09.2020, 20:46
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

Just make sure you have something you can identify yourself with? In my country f.e. you keep your maiden name always. My married name is according to German law and apart from the wedding certificate, nothing to show that that is my name 😀

But maybe it is more easy in Switzerland/your home country
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Old 21.09.2020, 20:52
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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This, assuming you're American. I moved here shortly after getting married in the States. There was no time to change the name or the passport in advance. However, when I registered here as married, I filled out a form at the municipality that told them what my married name would be once all the paperwork was through.

Then I did all the name change stuff with the SSA first, then the embassy for the passport, and once I had a new passport I went to the municipality and got a new permit with the new name. After that I updated the driver's license, the bank, yadda yadda.

It takes time though so plan accordingly if you want to travel or move. I moved to CH in May and I don't think it was all done until about November or even December.
Really? Iím in the same boat, American. I could in theory go to the embassy to change my name to my husbandís on my passport (I need a new one in the next year anyway) and then I would just contact the agency in charge of my B permit to notify them with appropriate paperwork and documentation of my name change? That would be considerably less expensive than doing it ďthe swiss wayĒ no?
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Old 21.09.2020, 21:04
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Really? Iím in the same boat, American. I could in theory go to the embassy to change my name to my husbandís on my passport (I need a new one in the next year anyway) and then I would just contact the agency in charge of my B permit to notify them with appropriate paperwork and documentation of my name change? That would be considerably less expensive than doing it ďthe swiss wayĒ no?
I think so? The rules might have changed in the last 10 years, but as your original citizenship is American, your official identity docs are issued based on American law. If you change your legal name with the USA then I don't see how the Swiss can refuse to update your permit because that's your legal name.

But again, I did this right after getting married and I told the Swiss muni what my name would be after all the changes were done.

Before you can change the name on the passport, you have to change it with the Social Security Administration.
https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-01981

Here's a link to the embassy site with some info that might help (this is the link to the US Embassy in the UK but you get the idea):
https://uk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...-u-s-passport/
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Old 21.09.2020, 21:50
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Really? Iím in the same boat, American. I could in theory go to the embassy to change my name to my husbandís on my passport (I need a new one in the next year anyway) and then I would just contact the agency in charge of my B permit to notify them with appropriate paperwork and documentation of my name change? That would be considerably less expensive than doing it ďthe swiss wayĒ no?
I think this would only apply if your marriage certificate already reflected your name change, unfortunately. Since I didnít change my name when I got married, Iíd have to change my name through a court order in my state of residency in the U.S. (or some similar process in Switzerland, I guess) before I could go to the embassy to update my passport. Although please correct me if Iím wrong, because that would certainly be easy if I could just get it taken care of at the embassy!
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Old 21.09.2020, 23:19
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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I think this would only apply if your marriage certificate already reflected your name change, unfortunately. Since I didnít change my name when I got married, Iíd have to change my name through a court order in my state of residency in the U.S. (or some similar process in Switzerland, I guess) before I could go to the embassy to update my passport. Although please correct me if Iím wrong, because that would certainly be easy if I could just get it taken care of at the embassy!
Aha perhaps this is the problem. I didnít change mine immediately on the US marriage certificate because I knew I wouldnít have enough time to change my passport before coming to CH and didnít want issues screwing up me coming here since weíd already been on two different continents for several months before the wedding and had absolutely no desire to have issues with me coming immediately ... But yeah the swiss name change looks crazy expensive
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Old 22.09.2020, 09:48
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Aha perhaps this is the problem. I didnít change mine immediately on the US marriage certificate because I knew I wouldnít have enough time to change my passport before coming to CH and didnít want issues screwing up me coming here since weíd already been on two different continents for several months before the wedding and had absolutely no desire to have issues with me coming immediately ... But yeah the swiss name change looks crazy expensive
I just checked my marriage license and certificate, which are on the same piece of paper. Your state's documentation might be different. There's nothing on the license or certificate which says I'm changing my name.

It looks like the embassy in Bern is no longer helping with changes to SS numbers. You'll have to contact the Federal Benefits unit in Frankfurt.
https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/

In your shoes, I'd contact them and explain the situation and ask how to go about changing your name.

From the links I gave, I have the impression that changing your name due to marriage can be done whenever you want, assuming you can prove your identity.
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Old 22.09.2020, 10:58
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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I just checked my marriage license and certificate, which are on the same piece of paper. Your state's documentation might be different. There's nothing on the license or certificate which says I'm changing my name.

It looks like the embassy in Bern is no longer helping with changes to SS numbers. You'll have to contact the Federal Benefits unit in Frankfurt.
https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/

In your shoes, I'd contact them and explain the situation and ask how to go about changing your name.

From the links I gave, I have the impression that changing your name due to marriage can be done whenever you want, assuming you can prove your identity.
Thanks! I will contact them and see what they say.
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Old 22.09.2020, 12:29
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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I just checked my marriage license and certificate, which are on the same piece of paper. Your state's documentation might be different. There's nothing on the license or certificate which says I'm changing my name.

It looks like the embassy in Bern is no longer helping with changes to SS numbers. You'll have to contact the Federal Benefits unit in Frankfurt.
https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/

In your shoes, I'd contact them and explain the situation and ask how to go about changing your name.

From the links I gave, I have the impression that changing your name due to marriage can be done whenever you want, assuming you can prove your identity.
Thank you! I know some states don't specify the name change on the certificate, but mine does. I don't know if that will make a difference, but I'll check out the links and see what I can find out.
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Old 22.09.2020, 23:19
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

I'm just curious because this was something we saw on TV a lot as kids, but nobody really did it, how does it work for women that change their names when they get divorced? Do they change it back?

I'm from Quebec, so we don't really do name changes. Most kids have the father's last name or now more often now a hyphenated name. Do people revert back to their original name in a divorce? What happens to the children's names if the mother gets remarried? Do the kids hyphenate?
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Old 22.09.2020, 23:27
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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I'm just curious because this was something we saw on TV a lot as kids, but nobody really did it, how does it work for women that change their names when they get divorced? Do they change it back?

I'm from Quebec, so we don't really do name changes. Most kids have the father's last name or now more often now a hyphenated name. Do people revert back to their original name in a divorce? What happens to the children's names if the mother gets remarried? Do the kids hyphenate?
Personal choice. My mum kept her married name as she wanted the same surname as me and my sister. My Aunt changed hers back as she had no kids. Generally kids keep whatever name they had before a divorce... but occasionally might change it if closer to a new step father than biological father.
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Old 23.09.2020, 00:24
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Just make sure you have something you can identify yourself with? In my country f.e. you keep your maiden name always. My married name is according to German law and apart from the wedding certificate, nothing to show that that is my name 😀

But maybe it is more easy in Switzerland/your home country
It's funny - I had always imagined you were a man. Dunno why.
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Old 23.09.2020, 00:27
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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I'm just curious because this was something we saw on TV a lot as kids, but nobody really did it, how does it work for women that change their names when they get divorced? Do they change it back?

I'm from Quebec, so we don't really do name changes. Most kids have the father's last name or now more often now a hyphenated name. Do people revert back to their original name in a divorce? What happens to the children's names if the mother gets remarried? Do the kids hyphenate?
Annoyingly my ex wife has kept my surname after divorce even though we split up in our 20s with no kids (yes... I know). She remarried and STILL has my name. My second and current wife hasn't taken my name because she doesn't want to share a surname with my ex (whom she has never met). Is it me or is this a mess?
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Old 23.09.2020, 07:26
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Annoyingly my ex wife has kept my surname after divorce even though we split up in our 20s with no kids (yes... I know). She remarried and STILL has my name. My second and current wife hasn't taken my name because she doesn't want to share a surname with my ex (whom she has never met). Is it me or is this a mess?
I know women who stick to the last name that they had when their career picked up (publications, presentations, performances, etc.), to keep the credit obvious..so it may be not you, though I am sure you aren't forgetable. I also know girls who keep the last name which is easier to pronounce. Hyphenation is annoying in my world.

The idea of exes "sharing" a last name of the same husband is a bit strange to me, when you think about it - different time periods, different situations, it is not identical, really. How do Smiths feel, or Schwarzes..."sharing" the name with so many people?
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Old 23.09.2020, 10:04
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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how does it work for women that change their names when they get divorced? Do they change it back?
Normally, yes.

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Do people revert back to their original name in a divorce?
Normally, yes.


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What happens to the children's names if the mother gets remarried? Do the kids hyphenate?
Nothing, and no.

Tom
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Old 23.09.2020, 15:56
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Personal choice. My mum kept her married name as she wanted the same surname as me and my sister. My Aunt changed hers back as she had no kids. Generally kids keep whatever name they had before a divorce... but occasionally might change it if closer to a new step father than biological father.
Well, I met someone in University that had a different last name from all his siblings, and he at some point disclosed that he took his step-father's name because his dad disappeared on them. I wondered if this was common because I had read Bill Clinton did the same (he has his step-father's name, in order to be closer to his half-brother). I guess it sounds like such cases are not terribly common.
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Old 23.09.2020, 17:28
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Re: Changing middle and maiden name after marriage

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Well, I met someone in University that had a different last name from all his siblings, and he at some point disclosed that he took his step-father's name because his dad disappeared on them. I wondered if this was common because I had read Bill Clinton did the same (he has his step-father's name, in order to be closer to his half-brother). I guess it sounds like such cases are not terribly common.
It is quite a good reason. I also have a friend who took his mother's maiden name (i.e. maternal grandfather's name) simply because maternal grandfather was present in his life and biological father rarely saw him after divorce. His sister, on the other hand, never required a change of name. It can happen.
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