Passport Question

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Dec 20, 2018
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Hello all.

My extended family is considering planning a group vacation to either a Caribbean resort or a cruise in the next year or so, which of course would entail everyone needing passports.

My youngest (adult, married) sister has never had a passport. Her first name is misspelled by one letter on her birth certificate. Our mother never bothered to get it corrected. Her first name on her driver's license matches the birth certificate. But somehow her Social Security card has the correct spelling of her first name.

She tried to get a Real ID driver's license this year, and was denied due to the mismatch between her birth certificate and her Social Security card. She's now concerned that she won't be able to get a passport either.

Will this be an issue with getting a passport? She doesn't want to spend the time and money to go to court for a legal name change, just to correct one letter in her name.
 

Barry Graham

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Jan 7, 2015
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It would seem to me that the right thing to do is to get the birth certificate corrected, especially since there is a mismatch between the birth certificate and the Social Security record.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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To start, google the state she was born in and the terms “correcting spelling original birth certificate Utah” or try similar several different ways. This should put you on the right path to file for a minor correction that hopefully does not require going to court.
 

Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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Yes, it will be an issue because the Real ID is also a government issued document and the passport is just like it only more important. Get things fixed asap.
 
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BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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It would seem to me that the right thing to do is to get the birth certificate corrected, especially since there is a mismatch between the birth certificate and the Social Security record.
Ditto: the discrepancy between the birth certificate and social security card greatly concerns me. Even more so because she was denied a Real ID driver license based on that reason. She should definitely start the process of amending the birth certificate so that all her important life documents match.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
She may need to go through the legal process to change her name to get a birth certificate to reflect her preferred name. Her actual legal name is the one on her BC, not the one she uses. Unfortunately, from a legal record perspective, the name she uses is not her real name.

She should begin this process ASAP since as you may have seen on this site, there are people with many many month delays in obtaining a passport. And if she does not get a Real ID drivers license she will be unable to fly domestically as well.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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I found this article to be helpful. A quick review of the content leads me to believe that the BC name change is somewhat complicated and could be lengthy. It does seem to imply that she will need a plausible, convincing reason for the error/change that the judge will approve.

 
Last edited:

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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I found this article to be helpful. A quick review of the content leads me to believe that the BC name change is somewhat complicated and could be lengthy. I do seem to imply that she will need a plausible, convincing reason for the error/change that the judge will approve.

I agree that a legal name change is likely to be a (or the only) solution. And the marriage certificate may not be valid if the first name is spelled "correctly" at variance with the BC.

However, I'm not sure you need a great reason to change your name.
Witness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_B._Free
 
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Dec 20, 2018
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Thanks everyone for the replies. What a hassle. I wish our mother had just taken care of the correction when my sister was an infant.

We live in Ohio by the way. Her marriage certificate has the same spelling as her birth certificate.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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For clarification only, what I read makes clear that approval is at the discretion of the judge, even for "one letter". LegalZoom indicates that one must convince the judge to approve the "change". Consider this example:

Kristin to Kirstin or vice versa​

This is just one letter but, from my perspective, changes the name in a significant way. This is what the judge must decide. When a BC change is requested, the judge may rule that the change requires a more official process that involves additional forms/funds.

And if, as is the case here, there is an allegation of a misspelled name, the judge could require proof. What that looks like is unclear to this member . . .
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Thanks everyone for the replies. What a hassle. I wish our mother had just taken care of the correction when my sister was an infant.

We live in Ohio by the way. Her marriage certificate has the same spelling as her birth certificate.
It may then be simplest to get a passport in the name on her BC and marriage certificate. No one (as in immigration, customs etc) will really care whether she prefers one name or the other when using the passport.
 
Dec 20, 2018
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A Google search took me to our county's probate court website. It says minor
name misspellings can be corrected by executing an affidavit of correction and a court appearance.

I'm surprised the SSA issued her card with the correct spelling rather than the misspelling on the birth certificate. I'm wondering if it would be possible/easier for her to just change her SSA record to match her birth certificate? Since her driver's license and marriage certificate match her birth certificate.
 
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Dec 20, 2018
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It may then be simplest to get a passport in the name on her BC and marriage certificate. No one (as in immigration, customs etc) will really care whether she prefers one name or the other when using the passport.
Thanks weilac. She doesn't mind if the passport has the misspelled name. She's just concerned that she'll denied one because of the discrepancy between her birth and SS card.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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The most important consideration for your sister, I think, is the cost/reward of each approach.

Leaving the documents "as is" saves in time and funds but carries with it the cost of "matching". Everywhere she goes, government employees and others might, to one extent or another, expect her signature and/or verbal confirmation to match the documents. That's a lot to remember. The change, however, "rights the ship" as it were, but costs in time and funds. The reward is not having to always use a misspelled name.

Personally, I would choose to make the change . . .
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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I would either change the Social Security card to match the birth/marriage certificate or the other way around. Even beyond the passport and Real ID issue, I would think the difference would cause problems at some point down the road. I'm a little surprised it hasn't already caused problems with regards to taxes and recording earnings for Social Security with the discrepancy of names.