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Ely
Ely, Lawyer
Category: US Law
Satisfied Customers: 102584
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My wife has a Russian passport in the name of her maiden

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My wife has a Russian passport in the name of her maiden name and a US passport in her actual current name (with a UK residence card glued in). Now she wants to go to Russia visiting her grand parents. However, she will need both passports for the trip,
and since they are in different names it seems almost impossible (Russian authorities told us, they basically need to be both in the same name!) So what should we do? Change the US passport (then we need a new passport + residence card I guess) or change the
Russian passport (needs to be done in person, in Russia + takes a month or longer). One is tedious and the other is probably risky!? My question at this point is basically, if I should consider both these options as viable, or if, considering the political
climate in Russia, I should only consider the US passport name change!?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: US Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
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I am not sure why the Russian authorities would even care what is in her US Passport. When entering Russia, she would have to use her Russian passport and she would be recognized by her Russian name. Her US/UK passport/residence card is immaterial; Russia recognizes her as a Russian citizen and uses her Russian passport for entry and exit.
If she does want to synchronize her names, then it would be more practical to do change her RUSSIAN passport to match the US/UK paperwork, and not the other way around, because changing her US/UK paperwork takes TWO procedures, and changing her Russian paperwork takes one.
The fact that her family name would be of English origin in the Russian passport really should not matter - plenty of Russians have foreign names, and it does not affect them in any way.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, we talked to various people (Russian embassy, etc), and they do care!! The problem is, if you exit Russia, you will need to register your dual citizenship before being able to exit the country. Its a relative new law, probably to be able to "have an eye" on all foreigners that come into the country. They said the only way to do that is with a US / UK passport in the same name. If you don't register, they will not let you board a plane in Russia, unless you pay a fine (several thousand pounds!!)Also changing the Russian passport is, as to our source only possible in person in Russia and takes at least 28 days. So that would mean my wife would have to stay in Russia for over a month to get it done (and then I am sure they will fine some reason why it cannot be done in 28 days. We have made those experiences before).If you have definite knowledge that things are different, please let me know your sources!I mean the decisive point here is, that when she boards the plane back to London from Russia, they will need to see a UK passport or a visa or something. I doubt that a Russian passport is enough at that point, or what do you think?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
Thank you. Well, this must be brand new, because it has not been this way before. If this applies, then arguably, it would be easier to change the name in the Russian passport.
Also changing the Russian passport is, as to our source only possible in person in Russia and takes at least 28 days. So that would mean my wife would have to stay in Russia for over a month to get it done (and then I am sure they will fine some reason why it cannot be done in 28 days. We have made those experiences before).
Right. It is either (1) change name in Russia, or, 92) change name in UK/US. The problem is that the latter two would take also a long time.
<I mean the decisive point here is, that when she boards the plane back to London from Russia, they will need to see a UK passport or a visa or something. I doubt that a Russian passport is enough at that point, or what do you think?
Frankly, I am still of the opinion that it should not matter unless this new rule is in place. I have experience with international law and Russian bureaucracy. However, you are telling me it is. Russian law changes much quicker than US or UK law - monthly. I only get a summarized update every half a year in English per my subscription. So if there is a new rule that they would need to see her US passport, then she needs to change her name to match. There is no way around it.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am just trying to get a second opinion on things that is all. And if I read something that I think is wrong, then I will say so, sorry. We actually know from a Russian friend of my wife, that she made that experience, that she tried to exit Russia, without registering her dual citizenship, and they wouldn't let her board the plane, until she paid the horrendous fee.Lets talk more about the process of changing the name in the US passport. Do you know how we would need to approach that? Is it possible to change the name without marriage or divorce? what would we need to do first!? do we even need to change the marriage certificate?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
No worries at all.
We actually know from a Russian friend of my wife, that she made that experience, that she tried to exit Russia, without registering her dual citizenship, and they wouldn't let her board the plane, until she paid the horrendous fee.
I think she was SCAMMED. I think that an unscrupulous worker took advantage of her. This was a bribe and she fell for it.
Hopefully, your wife would not have the same experience.
Lets talk more about the process of changing the name in the US passport. Do you know how we would need to approach that? Is it possible to change the name without marriage or divorce? what would we need to do first!? do we even need to change the marriage certificate?
She would have to go to the US Court of the state where she is a resident (so this means living in USA for 6+ months in some cases) and petition for a name change. Process takes 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the STATE, and while it is standard, it is time consuming. There is no need to change the marriage certificate.
Honestly, it sounds like your friend was scammed, but she thinks that this was an official demand.
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