can she travel with an unchanged passport?
April 14, 2006 6:27 PM   Subscribe

We are vacationing in mexico on the 24th, but my wifes US passport still shows her maiden name. Do we have to hustle and get it changed, or will her changed drivers license be enough to get her in and out with her current passport?
posted by fumbducker to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Your passport is sufficient to cross the border. Leave the old D/L at home, or at least don't show it at the border crossing.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:34 PM on April 14, 2006

Agreed. You might take a copy of the marriage license along as well but don't show it unless there are issues which it might help resolve.
posted by caddis at 6:44 PM on April 14, 2006

In 2004 I was able to travel to the UK with my maiden name on my passport and a current driver's license. Shouldn't be a problem for you.
posted by killy willy at 6:46 PM on April 14, 2006

Are you flying? If so, she should probably use her maiden name on the airplane ticket, so they don't balk at the mismatch.
posted by mollymolo at 7:44 PM on April 14, 2006

Agreed. No problem. Think of all those honeymooners who have to go as Miss X on her first holiday as Mrs Y.
posted by TrashyRambo at 7:53 PM on April 14, 2006

i guess i shouldve clarified; we are flying, and the ticket was booked under her new married name, the passport is the old maiden name. thanks for your help, i will call the airline tomorrow..
posted by fumbducker at 7:55 PM on April 14, 2006

As someone who is getting married soon, I've been told time and time again that if I choose to change my last name, I need to book my honeymoon tickets in my current (maiden) last name. This is becase most airlines are sticklers about the passport and the ticket information matching exactly. And remember, even if you don't have a problem going to Mexico, you may have problems trying to return to the US.

So yeah, check with the airline ASAP.
posted by nyxie at 9:40 PM on April 14, 2006

I went through this a couple of times before I got my passport changed. Your biggest problem will not be at the border but with the airline. They're required to make sure that your id will check out before they fly you there. I would bring more than one document- your DL, marriage certificate, whatever else you think might work- and be ready to plead. Some employees can be real sticklers (and rightfully so, they're just doing their jobs, but it still makes life inconvient for us!) Anyway, at the border itself, they don't have access to your ticket, and won't see that name, so do your customs stuff in your maiden name.
posted by wallaby at 2:39 AM on April 15, 2006

The rules are about to change on this (in 2008), but here's the current situation according to the US State Department:

Getting into Mexico:
The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. While U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable, the U.S. Embassy recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. U.S. citizens have encountered difficulty boarding onward flights in Mexico without a passport. U.S. citizens boarding flights to Mexico should be prepared to present one of these documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, along with photo identification. Driver's permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not sufficient to prove citizenship for readmission into the United States.

Returning to the US:
Make certain that you can return to the United States with the proof of citizenship that you take with you. Although some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, U.S. law requires that you document both your U.S. citizenship and identity when you re-enter the United States.

The best document to prove your U.S. citizenship is a valid U.S. passport. Other documents that establish U.S. citizenship include an expired U.S. passport, a certified copy of your birth certificate, a Certificate of Naturalization, a Certificate of Citizenship, or a Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. citizen. To prove your identity, either a valid driver's license or a government identification card with a photo is acceptable.

I've been to Mexico many times (past the Frontera) with just a Texas Drivers License and my birth certificate. It sounds like, from reading the State Department's web site, like getting into Mexico will not be the big problem any more, it's going to be getting back into the US that you need to worry about. Enjoy your trip, and remember that Lomotil is a gift from the gods.
posted by popechunk at 7:38 AM on April 15, 2006

thanks everyone, i called the airline, they made the change to her last name as madien-married, and we need to bring the marraige cert. now about this lomotil...
posted by fumbducker at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2006

It's Immodium you want.
posted by caddis at 11:16 AM on April 15, 2006

I see you've already marked a best answer, but there is no problem travelling under a maiden name--the passport serves as valid ID and proof of citizenship, so that's the only name that has to be given (some women use their maiden names, or use both, after marriage). I was married for seven years and used my husband's last name, which is still the name on all my IDs.

I hadn't needed a passport at all during our marriage, and when I needed to renew mine last year (our divorce isn't final yet), I just renewed it as it was and travelled under my maiden name. I asked the passport representative at the post office if that was allowed, and he said it was no problem--it would've been far more complicated for me to have my name changed on the new one.

The only issue would be if you were buying or using any plane tickets--then you'd need to make sure hers were in the name on the passport.
posted by Cricket at 11:44 AM on April 15, 2006

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