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Australian citizen based in Belgium change to married name


Hello All
I’m an Australian married to a Belgian. I’m not planning to go back to visit Australia for another 12 months, however I would like to change my surname to my new married name. How Can I do this from here , what is the process and how long does it take?
Thank you so much


You can't You stick with the surname on your birth certificate in Belgium. There is a procedure for changing it, but getting married is not considered a valid reason to qualify.

Nov 10, 2017 18:01

Actually, J, you can now ( you are right, it did not use to be possible), if changing your name is legal in your home country, Belgium will now accept it. (I do know someone who has done It, and changed all the Belgian docs to fit the new name)

But never having done it, I don't know exactly how you do it, sorry, but I suppose start by changing your name in your home country via your passport, maybe?

Nov 10, 2017 18:41

Hi Caroline,

You can have your name changed in Australia, I assume by a proxy requesting the change of name on your Birth Certificate (once your marriage is filed/recognised in Oz), then you can proceed to request a new australian passport, that will grant you the name change on yor Belgian documents.

Nov 10, 2017 19:06

Just something to keep in mind, is that despite changing your name to your married name, most Belgian bureaucracy will continue to refer to you using your maiden name, no matter. Unless you have REALLY strong feelings about it, I wouldn't bother.

Nov 10, 2017 19:40

"Just something to keep in mind, is that despite changing your name to your married name, most Belgian bureaucracy will continue to refer to you using your maiden name, no matter."

And that is something that could have serious repercussions if you have to prove your identity, in connection with a bank account in another country (Australia?) for instance. As ANON said "Unless you have REALLY strong feelings about it, I wouldn't bother." There is nothing to stop you adding your husband's surname to yours, hyphenated, for everyday (but not official) use and quite a few Belgian wives do just that.

Nov 10, 2017 21:06

The critical thing is that you do not want to end up with official documents giving you two different surnames. Whilst there will be a perfectly valid reason for this, most non-Belgian officialdom has no idea that a wife here does not normally take her husband's surname. You could find yourself having to try to explain the situation to a sceptical immigration official almost anywhere else.
So, if Belgium has accepted you changing your maiden name to your husband's surname go ahead with your changing your Australian documents but, if you are still listed here under your maiden name, leave well alone.

Nov 11, 2017 10:47

change name on oz passport
go to commune with new passport
commune will change name to name on passport (that is the law for foreigners, name on passport not birth certificate, but they might not know, depends where you live, if necessary make them check with brussels)
commune will give you a paper say mary smith and mary brown with registration no 12345, are the same person.
show paper to everyone where old name is and send it to mutuelle, etc
i did it recently. no problem.

Nov 11, 2017 11:12

Katie's experience is exactly the one my colleague experienced - once the passport name had changed, the commune alterted the name on the national number and the id/residence card/driving licence and mutuelle registration changed, and then work changed all tax/social security payment details to agree with the new details.

And this is definitely a change from years ago where I had friends try and change their name but were refused, even though the passport name had changed, and of course, that can cause confusion.

Nov 11, 2017 11:31

Altered, sorry.

Nov 11, 2017 11:32

Thank you so much to everyone for your advice. I’m in Overjise. I think I shall ask them at the commune then change it on my passport if they seem to be ok with it. I agree 2 names will definitely add confusion when traveling. I hope I have the smooth experience Katie and the friend of ABC123 had :-)

Nov 11, 2017 13:36