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a question about changing my last name 2019/7/19 16:52
Hi, I am a dual (US and Japan) citizen living in Japan. I will be getting married soon, and am wondering about the whole process of changing my maiden name. I read that there is a way to keep your maiden name by using it as a alias a 通称 [つうしょう (tsuushou)]. Has anyone done this? Does it only apply for an alien registration card? Can I do this with my passports? What is the process? Can I do this with both my passports?
by Jazzko (guest)  

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/19 18:52
By which country’s law are you planning to get married? Is your spouse-to-be Japanese? And what do you want to do with your family name?
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/19 19:30
Hi, sorry. I will clarify. Thank you for the helpful questions. My fiancé is Japanese. We are planning to marry under the Japanese government. I will register my marriage as a Japanese citizen.
by Jazzko (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/19 21:11
Japan has a law that married couples must share a surname. It doesn't matter which person changes, but both people have to match. This means that because you are a Japanese person marrying a Japanese person, you or your partner MUST change their last name to match the other's once you register the marriage with city hall. This is not the case with Japanese people who marry non-Japanese people, but your dual citizenship doesn't come into play here because as you said, you'll be marrying as a Japanese in Japan.

Assuming you are the one who will change your name, yes, you can register your maiden name as an alias with city hall. You will want to check with them directly about what you need to do about it, because I have found that different city halls (and even people within the city hall!) often are more or less strict on what is necessary to register the alias. (I have done it twice for the record; the first time I was required to bring in a lot of proof, but the second I had nothing as it was a worker's suggestion that I do it right then and I hadn't brought any proof with me.)

You should check about adding the alias to your passport directly while you're there, too. I know in the case of my dual-citizen daughter, we have both her Japanese name and her American name on her Japanese passport, so it is possible to have a different name listed. Her Japanese name is shown normally, and her American name is in parenthesis. Whether that is possible for an alias I don't know (although I assume it shouldn't be a problem!), but it should be a pretty easy question to ask when you register the alias.

As to your US citizenship name, that is a different story. As far as I know, your Japanese name change has no bearing on your US name if you don't want it to. That is to say, you CAN change it if you want your documents to match, but if you don't want to, there is no legal requirement to. The US has no such law that spouses must have matching names. So there's no reason to change from your maiden name unless that's what you want. Then, assuming you now have a different name on each of your passports, yes, you can also add your new married name to your US passport in parenthesis the same way you did for the Japanese one. That way both documents have both names on them. On both countries' passport applications, there is a space to write other names in this manner. You'd just need to fill out new applications for each.

Aliases are not official with regards to immigration, so no, it will not be included on an alien registration card... which, you shouldn't have one in the first place because you are a Japanese citizen living in Japan. If you came over with your US passport and have a residence card, you would need to go to city hall to officially change over to your Japanese citizenship in the records before getting married (and I guess inform immigration too).
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/19 21:20
Thank you so much for the thorough answer! :) it is very clear and helpful!

Just to clarify, I do not have an alien registration card. I had heard that for people with one, they can have their maiden name as an alias. I wanted to confirm if this was the case for passports too.

Thank you!!
by Jazzko (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/20 07:54
assuming you now have a different name on each of your passports, yes, you can also add your new married name to your US passport in parenthesis the same way you did for the Japanese one

Does your child have have her Japanese name in parenthesis on her US passport? Or are you just assuming it can be done? There is a section about "other names" on the application but that name wont be printed on the passport.

It's very easy to do with Japanese passport but I've never heard it being done with US passport.が
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/20 09:38
We forgot to do it for her US passport, as it was the first we applied for, but my husband has his Japanese last name on his US passport, and we’ll get Daughter’s on the next renewal. So yes, it’s possible... unless they changed the application since my husband’s last passport renewal. I have heard that recently (as of this year) they have made matching names a bit more strict for dual citizens (at least when registering a foreign birth abroad), so it’s possible it has been changed. It’s always best to check ahead of time and ask relevant authorities and not just random internet strangers, of course :)
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/20 09:45
I forgot to add that while the names are put in parenthesis on the front page of the Japanese passport, on the US one the info is added to the back pages as an amendment. But as it’s in the passport, it’s still considered official.

(I wish we could edit posts!)
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/20 15:18
Thanks for the clarification.
I did a quick search and it looks like they don't do amendments anymore, so it's no longer possible.

https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/amending-corre...
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: a question about changing my last name 2019/7/20 21:24
Well, I probably misnamed it... it isn't an "amendment" in that you've changed your information and have just added it on to the back pages instead of getting a new passport; it's not an amendment page, but a full page of a regular passport. It says "The bearer of this passport also goes by the name of XYZ" (so an alias or "aka"). My husband renewed his passport in 2014, to give a more precise frame of when he did it.

Out of curiosity though, I just checked the passport renewal application and there is a place to put aliases if you have one. Whether that information is still printed on the passport or not, I don't know. OP should ask directly to US citizen services here in Japan at a local embassy or consulate, or in the US about the current procedure and whether it's possible or not.

Anyway, the procedures and what's allowed and not can certainly always change suddenly, even if someone else has done the same a month before! So it's always important to check directly with relevant authorities. Good luck to OP!
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

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