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Details:

I'm a Hungarian citizen by birth, moved to the UK 3 years ago. Later I came out as transgender and changed my name here 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 (around 2018-2019 because of other reasons) with the English name I use everyday.

My passport will expire in 2016 and I want to change my Hungarian name and official gender marker on my passport before that. My problem is that in Hungary they don't allow people to change their name to foreign-sounding names and I'd have to pick a first name from a government-regulated list of Hungarian names. But the reason why I picked an English name in the first place is because I don't like any of the Hungarian first names, including the Hungarian equivalent of my English name. I also want to change my Hungarian surname, because I broke ties with my family, but my English surname doesn't have a suitable Hungarian equivalent. After some thinking I selected a new Hungarian first- and surname I'd be fine with on my Hungarian passport (I wouldn't use it for anything else, living in the UK.)

I also want to keep my Hungarian citizenship and my Hungarian passport, which only seems possible with a Hungarian name.

So my question is: Is it legal (or even possible) to have two completely different names on my two future 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).

  • 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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