How to Change Your Passport Surname to Your Foreign Husband's



To all Philippine passport holders, are you by any chance planning to renew your passport and change your surname to your foreign husband's?

We have been married for almost 10 years and I have been using my maiden name the entire time in all of my local and international identification cards.  Since I won't be traveling outside the country very soon,  I found it the perfect time to do it.

Living abroad, there wasn't really any urgent need to change my name. Within the span of my expat life, I have changed my passport thrice and the thought of the long bureaucratic procedure made me cringe. Waiting for an online appointment schedule at my country's consulate in Dubai and the whole process of name changing deemed to be a nightmare. My then tight business trip schedules when I was working in the Middle East didn't have any window to accommodate this long wait. Additionally, I wanted to avoid my previous employers paying additional fees to renew my resident visas and to steer clear from all of the administrative hassles of name changing in all of my identification cards such as my driver's license, Emirates ID and etc. 

If I had a choice, I would still keep my maiden name. Unfortunately in the Philippines, this wishful thought is not possible. It is mandatory that I use my husband's surname in everything.



Goal: Change my passport surname to my foreign husband's

I booked an online appointment schedule at the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) website for my passport renewal a month ago. The calendar is usually fully booked.

If you want an immediate appointment, I heard you can get it done through a travel agency by paying a fee of Php 500 or more.

I prepared all of their requirements as follows. 

General Requirements:
1. Personal Appearance
2. Confirmed Online Appointment - Printout
3. Most Recent Passport (Valid / Expiring/ Expired) - Original and Photocopy of first 4 pages
4. Valid Picture IDs with Photographs  (Digitized SSS ID, Driver's License, PRC ID etc.) -Original and Photocopy
5. Supporting Documents - Birth Certificate in Security Paper by National Statistics Office (NSO) - Original and Photocopy.  Order your NSO Birth Certificate Online here

For Spouse of Foreign National who would like to use their Married Surname (for the first time), provide original and photocopies of below documents:

1.  Marriage Contract in Security Paper issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) or Certified True Copy of Marriage Contract issued by the Local Registrar duly authenticated by NSO. 

Oh, make sure you have an extra Marriage Contract because DFA will get the original copy  once you have everything. 

2.  Report of Marriage duly authenticated by NSO if married overseas
3. Original and Photocopy of Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Guidance and Counselling Certificate of Attendance and Registration

I was there at DFA Aseana 30 minutes before my appointed schedule.  Unfortunately, my mistake was, I missed no. 3- CFO Certificate which was a very important requirement.

Needless to say, I was asked to return. I could only proceed with the passport application once I obtain the CFO Certificate.

The good news is, your DFA online appointment is valid for 1 month and once you secure the missing requirement, you can pop in anytime during weekdays. 

Ideally, if you're planning to change your existing passport name, simultaneously organise your CFO online appointment here scheduling it several days prior to your DFA appointment and book your DFA appointment here ahead of time. 



CFO - Commission on Filipinos Overseas

What is this CFO seminar and guidance counselling and why do I need it?

The government created and implemented for the past three decades the guidance and counselling program for fiancees/ spouses / partners of foreign nationals and former Filipino Citizens under Republic Act 10364 (An Act Expanding Anti- Trafficking in Person Act of 2012). Its aim is to ensure preparation for Filipinos in Intermarriages before migrating to another country, to provide awareness of their rights, what to do in cases of domestic violence while overseas and to better equip them with proper knowledge of what to expect when they move to another country.

Having said this,  DFA will not issue and renew your passport without this GCP certificate and Immigration at the airport will not allow you to leave if you don't have the CFO stamp on your passport.

Like you, my reaction was, "Come on, I've been married for 10 years, do I still need it?"  Yes, you do. No way out. It's mandatory. Just go for it with an open mind, relax and enjoy the whole process.

CFO Commission on Filipinos Overseas - Manila
Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue Corner Osmena Highway
(South Super highway) Manila, Philippines 1007
Telephone: +632 5524700
Email: info@cfo.gov.ph
Website: http://www.cfo.gov.ph/

CFO Cebu
4th Floor, K&J Building  #4 Don Julio Llorente Street
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
Telephone: (032) 2555253
Email: cfocebu@cfo.gov.ph
Website: http://www.cfo.gov.ph/

Where is it? Click here

Organise original and jpeg copy of your 1x1 or 2x2 coloured photograph with white background. You will need to upload this during your online application. Any recent image not more than 3 months old is acceptable.

Requirements for Attendance 
1. Appointment Details with Bar Code printout
2. Original and Photocopy of 2 valid Identification Cards with photograph
3. Original and Photocopy of Marriage Certificate on NSO Security Paper or from the Local Civil Registry Service; or Original  and Photocopy Report of Marriage duly registered by the Philippine Embassy / Consulate or DFA
4. Other documents may be required by the counsellors (copy of husband's passport, your birth certificate etc.)
5. Payment of Php 400 for Counselling and Registration Fee
6. Original and Photocopy of Passport

For those migrating to another country or with an existing / available long stay/ resident visa, please bring the following:
7.  Original and photocopy of visa (if you have one)
8.  For U.S. Bound Emigrants - Original and photocopy of Immigrant's Data Summary (except for K visa holders)
9. For  Canada Bound Emigrants - Original and photocopy of Confirmation of Permanent Residents
10. For Japan Bound Emigrants - Original and photocopy of Certificate of Eligibility
11. Original CFO Counselling Certificate (Once you've satisfactorily completed the guidance counselling)
12. Duly completed Emigration Form


The scheduled appointment is organized according to your husband's country.  Click here to schedule your appointment.

Since my husband is from France,  there's a separate group seminar and discussion for Europe group, there was another for US, Canada, Middle East and etc. Our group seminar starts at 9AM but be there at around 7AM at least 1 hour and a half before, because there are loads of forms to be filled!

They will also take your photograph on the spot and be sure you know a lot of information about your husband / fiance' like his educational background- where he studied, his home country address, telephone number, other contact details and  parents' names and etc. Mostly information that's easy peasy for those married for a long time.



Once all forms are completed and submitted to the CFO officers at the desk, we were guided to a small classroom with a white board and attendees were about 10-12 in the room. Some arrived late and they had to stay behind after the group discussion to complete their forms.

The group discussion was for about 2 hours and we talked about what this seminar is for, the challenges of moving and living overseas,  facts about marriages, domestic violence, and preparation needed. Brochures were handed out about marriage laws and procedure at the airport for those who are leaving the country for the first time.

It was a lively discussion. I think it's helpful for young brides and brides to be. Personally, I could have gone without it since I've lived the life overseas before undergoing the group seminar. However, It's a good way to spot and track those who are in forced marriages and victims of human trafficking. It's also an interesting way to meet people who will be moving to the same country of destination to start building one's circle of friends and support system.

I just wish they have exceptions for those who have been married for multiple years and have lived abroad with their spouses for the same length of time.

After the group discussion, we were interviewed individually. How my husband and I met. When and where we were married  and more questions that the interviewer came up with based on the submitted forms to verify the facts written there.  Others were requested to show photos of their spouses.

Once that was done, we had to wait at the ground floor, cashier where we paid the fee and after several minutes, our GCP certificate was released. By 1 pm we were done.

Back to DFA

The next day, I went to DFA with my completed requirements and proud GCP Certificate and the whole process was a breeze!  Within an hour and a half after verifying my documents, taking my photo, fingerprints and signature and paying Php 1200 and extra for passport delivery door to door express service, I was done.  Yay!

You'll have to go back to CFO for your CFO passport stamp once you have your visa on your new passport.

It was such a relief to get this over with.
I feel like a new bride still getting used to my new surname.
Don't give up, just keep calm and get going. 

Love & light,
Arni

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35 comments

  1. Didn't know changing your last name can be that tedious. But I figured it would be a lot difficult if your husband is a foreigner. I'm not sure who am I going to marry someday but if he is a foreigner, I'm definitely going to this post of yours for guidance.

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    1. Hi Marge, for some reason, why do I get the feeling that your husband will be a foreigner. :) Just saw you're currently traveling in Vietnam. Enjoy and have an awesome trip.

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  2. Oh wow, this sounds really exhausting! I've never thought about all these things that can come with marriage! Maybe I'll be lazy and just keep my maiden name x)

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    1. Haha, I know right? I miss my maiden name. :)

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  3. Hi quick question! When you applied for your passport renewal, did you use your maiden name in the appointment application form, or did you use your husband's name already?

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    1. Hello Carmina, I used my husband's surname in the online appointment application form.

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  4. hello!!! how long did you wait for new passport?

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    1. Gosh, I can't remember the exact days but I think I paid for the express processing. Mine I think took 10 working days to 2 weeks. There's also the regular processing that takes more than 20 working days. This was last year. Perhaps, they're faster now with the new administration?

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  5. Hello Arni
    I am so pleased to come across your guide and goodness am I thankful?! We live and are still residents of Dubai and if you be so kind, can you confirm that I can only apply for a new passport with my husband's last name in the Philippines or can I do it from the consulate here as well as the GCP certificate and CFO stamp?
    Thanks ever so much in advance.
    Mg

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    Replies
    1. Hello Mg, good news, yes it is possible to change your passport surname at the Philippine Consulate overseas. They didn't mention anything about CFO though for those married to other nationalities in their requirements. Click the link for the requirements: http://abudhabipe.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/passport-renewal
      I checked the Dubai Consulate page but couldn't find any information regarding marriage name change, but it is possible under passport renewal at Abu Dhabi Consulate as well as consulates in Australia, SG, even U.S. If you do manage to process the name change without the CFO, I do suggest to look into getting the CFO stamp later. I was questioned at the immigration counter of NAIA Airport why I had none while traveling here many years ago. All the best Mg!

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  6. Hi Arni. . I'm married to a New Zealander and I need all of these info. . Thank you lots! <3

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    1. Glad to hear Cyrel, happy to share information. :)

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  7. Hi! Thanks for this post. Did you attend the CFO seminar by yourself? Is it okay to have the husband/husband to be there? My fiancé wants to go with me and I haven't set any sched since I haven't read up anything about that yet. Thank you!

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    1. Yes I did attend it by myself. It's not advisable to bring them because of the long wait. They will also not be allowed inside. That was the case for the husbands/fiance's of companions during the seminar. We felt bad for their partners waiting outside under the heat and there aren't even coffee shops nearby where they can hang around for more than 3 hours.

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  8. could i renew my Philippine Passport under my husbands surname? i just married last Jan.31,2015 to him here in USA and i i just have my 2 years Permanent residence card for now(CONDITIONAL).. I will be having my 10 years Permanent residence card this coming year (2018).what is your good advice to this situation? Do i still need to use my maiden name when i renew it?

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    1. Hello there, sorry, I'm not very familiar with USA rules regarding the residence process and I agree that changing your name can be crucial. You might want to consult some legal advice regarding the implications of a name change at this stage.

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  9. Really nice information you had posted. Its very informative and definitely it will be useful for many people
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  10. Hello po ask ko lng po..visa journey p lng po ako for korean spouse..after po ng CFO what should i do first..making visa in the embassy or renewing my passport using my husband surname?thanks po.

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    1. Hello there, it depends on how much time you have left. If you have time, then renewing your passport first is better so they can stamp your Korean visa on it and you don't need to worry about changing your passport later. Once you have your Korean visa, you would need to go back to CFO for a CFO stamp on your new passport. If in case there is no time, you can head straight to obtaining your visa in your existing passport and you can probably change it at the Philippine Consulate of the country you're moving to. You would also need to update your surname in your Korean visa later since the visa name is often dependent on the passport name, unless the embassy states otherwise.

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    2. Hi Arni,
      Thank you for the information,Actually I am currently living here in middle east same as you,but I was married to a foreigner just a month only and i go back again here in dubai but i don't have much time to authenticate all my papers,what i am planning here is to make it all here in dubai,Is it mandatory to change your maiden name to your passport once your planning to migrate in Europe?And how long it takes the processing?

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    3. Hello, I can imagine. I agree it would be easier if you arrange everything there in Dubai. In Europe they're more lenient with the surname, you can choose to continue with your maiden name. However, there are favorable aspects if you use his surname especially when you start having kids or when buying properties abroad, there should be less questions, they won't ask you for a copy of your marriage certificate all the time. Here in the Philippines, it took around 8-12 weeks for the entire process.

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  11. Hi. I have a valid US visa issued when i was still single. If i change passport/surname to my husband's last name, would you know if that visa will still be valid? or if need to go to the US embassy to have it updated?

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    1. Hi Danes B. I was using my maiden name when I received my US tourist visas. Now that I have changed my surname in the new passport, I believe you'll have to have to re-apply for a new visa from the US Embassy as stated here https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/frequently-asked-questions/about-visas-the-basics.html

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  12. Thank you for the helpful info! Although i feel sad to lose the visa that I have, which is still valid for remaining 8 years - as we all know, it's a big hassle to get this one. I will have to think again the pros and cons of changing passport.

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    1. Most welcome. I totally agree with you regarding the hassle, ahhh...I'm positive though it would be much easier for you to re-apply. All the best and hope all goes well.

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  13. Hello just wanna ask, Am I allowed to apply for surname/status change in Manila dfa branches even my passport was released in dfa cebu? I just got married to a foreigner and the consulate wanted me to change my passport status and surname. Or should I fly to cebu just to change my name?
    Also how and where am I able to have a sched for CFO Counselling Seminar?
    Thank you very much for you article, I find it helpful.

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    1. Hello there, To be honest, I'm not so sure, but I believe it should be possible to request for your passport surname change in DFA Manila. My previous passport was issued by Phil. Consulate in Dubai. They did ask me and I told them I'm moving back to the Philippines for good. Perhaps you can try as long as you have an online appointment well in advance. If it's more convenient and more economical to do so in Manila, perhaps it's worth a try. Check out this CFO site. It will link you to which CFO you prefer for a schedule. Scroll down at the GCP Online Appointment System below the page http://www.cfo.gov.ph/gcp.html Hope this helps. Good luck!

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  14. Hi Ms. Arni,

    Thank you for your blog. My situation was partly the same as you. And was terribly confused on how to get the things done in the Philippines since they're asking for a thousand of documents that can never be found.

    I'm glad to have seen your blog. It's a great guideline! a lifesaver indeed. Many thanks!

    Lotsoflove to you and your family!
    XOXO,
    Kamille

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    1. Thank you so much Kamille for your heartwarming message. :)

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  15. Hello po could i renew my pilipino passport using my australian husband last name,thank you..

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    1. Hi There, yes you may, kahit malayo pa ang date of expiry ng passport, for as long as you have the above mentioned requirements from DFA and CFO.

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  16. Hello! I would like to share my concern Ms. Arni and I hope you can answer me, my passport will expire on 2019 and I already made an application which is renewal. The only thing that I made this is to change my maiden name to my husband's surname. Do I still need to push my renewal application or just go staright and tell to the DFA that the only thing I need is to change my civil status and my maiden name to my husband's surname. Another, what requirements did you brought specifically? Because so far I have the ff:
    NSO Birth Certificate
    NSO Marriage Certificate
    Police Clearance
    Barangay Clearance
    Alumni ID
    TIN ID
    And I also want to know what ID's did you present since I'm really worried if they will going to refuse my ID's. However I have other things on their list that I can provide if they need more information and requirements from me. Such as TOR, YEARBOOK and VOTERS REGISTRATION (since it took years to get your VOTERS ID). I really hope for your answer Ms. Arni and I would appreciate it. Anyways, thank you in advance!

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    1. Hello Abigail, I think your renewal depends on the urgency of the name change. If you're residing in the Philippines, changing your surname as soon as possible is beneficial and more ideal in the long run. The DFA process to surname change is renewal of passport. They would require Government issued IDs. In my case, I have changed my surname on all of my IDs (Driver's license, Postal ID and PRC) prior to my DFA Appointment. They also accept Alumni ID, Employment ID but I'm not sure if these should have your married name changed as well. They didn't ask for a lot of IDs. They only asked me to present 2 of them, both of which should have a photo and my signature on the IDs. All the best to your application.

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  17. Hello, thank you for your info here. I'm newly married, living aboard, and will be renewing my passport soon. So I was considering if I will have my surname changed upon renewal or keep my maiden name. This article here http://www.manilatimes.net/married-woman-obliged-use-husbands-surname/116208/ states surname change is not mandatory. I'm in Korea and the prospect of changing the last name for all my legal registrations here is daunting. Do you think it's better to put off the name change until I am in the Philippines for a considerable amount of time (like 3 years later)?

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    1. Hi Gem, it's definitely your choice. As I mentioned in the blog post, I kept my maiden name for more than ten years of being married while living abroad and I had no problem whatsoever. I only changed it when I moved back to the country since I'm starting a clean slate. It's all up to you, all the best.

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