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Details:

I'm a Hungarian citizen by birth, moved to the UK a few years ago. I changed my name in the UK via Deed Poll to an English name, which is completely different from my Hungarian one (both first name and surname). I use this name here as my official name on all my documents and records (bank, DWP, etc.) and consider it my real name. I want to acquire British citizenship when it becomes possible with the English name I use everyday.

I also want to keep my Hungarian citizenship and my Hungarian passport, which only seems possible with a Hungarian name due to Hungary's restricitive naming regulations.

So my question is: Is it legal to have two completely different names on my two passports?

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    Have you tried to go to the Hungarian consulate with your name change papers and get a notation in your passport indicating the name change? Or are you saying that your particular name change is not allowed in Hungary and thus they refuse to recognize it? – user102008 Oct 17 '14 at 22:45
  • @user102008: Hungarian laws does not allow you to have non-Hungarian sounding names, except in special circumstances, or if you are considered a minority. In the former case it is not clearly defined what counts as "special" though. In the latter case if you consider yourself part of a minority then you can also choose a name from the minority's allowed list, but you are still forbidden to choose freely, unless those pesky "special" circumstances – SztupY Oct 17 '14 at 23:25
  • @SztupY: I know that when someone naturalizes in the U.S., they are given the opportunity to change their name to an "English-sounding" name (which probably won't be on the Hungarian list). I presume that there must be some precedent for what happens when Hungarian nationals do this, and whether the new name is recognized by Hungary. – user102008 Oct 17 '14 at 23:59
  • @user102008: that naturalization occurs on your US name and (the new) US passport. Your Hungarian one (if you keep it) remains the same. – SztupY Oct 18 '14 at 0:12
  • @user102008 On the UK Hungarian consulate website they explicitly say that it's not valid as a "special circumstance" if someone changes their name to an English one only because it's easier to live in the UK with an English-sounding name. Other than that they don't say anything about what does count as special circumstance for them. – kazerniel Oct 18 '14 at 12:17
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From the Deed Poll site:

If you cannot get your [non-British] passport changed to your new name, you may find your Deed Poll will not be accepted by all UK government departments, companies and organisations on the grounds that your are not changing your name "for all purposes".

So while it's possible to change your name in the UK if you cannot get your passport to hold the same name as your Deed Poll shows it is possible that it won't be accepted everywhere. This basically means that your official name in the UK will still be the one on your Hungarian passport, and not the one on your Deed Poll until you get your British citizenship.

Note that Hungarian naming law does allow you to get a non-Hungarian sounding name in case of "exceptionary circumstances" (link in Hungarian). I don't know whether you've tried tho get these "special permissions", but if not it might be worth a try.

Once you obtain British citizenship by naturalisation you can get your name changed on the UK passport to the one that is in your Deed Poll. Having two passports from two different countries (as a dual national) with different names should not cause any problems (more exaclty it should cause the exact same issues that other people face when having multiple passports even with the exact same name: when travelling they should always use the same one when entering/leaving a country during travels, so the passport numbers in the entering and leaving logs in foreign countries match. Except of course when they travel into/from the two countries they are citizens in as in those cases they should use the respective passport).

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  • Then I guess I'm fortunate that they accepted my Deed Poll everywhere so far. And thanks, I'll go forward with the Hungarian name change then and I later can have a British passport with my proper English name on it. – kazerniel Oct 18 '14 at 12:20
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We've just went through a name-change (before acquiring British citizenship) with the help of the Hungarian Consulate in Edinburgh. (It's a much smaller establishment than the London one so you might get a better more personalized support)

  1. You need a deed poll, and a couple documents showing your new name. We have provided a driving licence, a debit card and the latest debit card statement. The name that was chosen was not Hungarian sounding
  2. In the reason why you want to change your name we simply written "this is an artistic name and the name we are known in the UK"
  3. Based on the consul they get requests for name changes fairly often. The decision whether they grant it depends "on the current mood of the person approving the document"
  4. If you pass, good you have your new name (this is what we achieved)
  5. If you fail, you should officially translate the failure notification into English. Once you apply for the UK passport you can use this as a proof that your origin country didn't let you change your name. This will actually allow you to have a different name on the UK passport.
  6. (Optional) With the new UK name you can retry the process from step 1, but now you'll have more proof of your new name in the form of a UK passport

(Note that we managed to get our name changed at step 4, the other steps are suggestions they told us in case it wouldn't have been successful)

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