I am a Canadian… so as such can really only speak to this situation from my own lot in life / citizenship.
In Canada, many many women hold onto their own names when they marry (and as noted by CassandraC above it is the LAW (no choice in changing one’s birth name) if one is a Resident of the Province of Quebec).
As well, we have a large portion of the population, who chooses not to marry at all… (in that Common Law “Marriages” are also widely accepted here… and at least within our own boundaries they are one and the same “a family” as outlined in regards to the Law)
So whenever I’ve travelled as either Mrs. Ex-H or Ms. TTR (my current common law partner / Fiance) upon coming home to Canada… we are regarded as a couple / family (living at the same place or residence)… so only need to fill out one form for the Declaration required by Customs & Immigration
This is pretty much, the same situation when I go to visit other countries (the Caribbean)… I have in the past used my Maiden Name (with just an explanation that we are married when travelling with My Ex-H) and that would suffice whether I was with with the whole family, just my Ex-Spouce or the Kids in tow (never an issue if I was travelling alone… as the Passport name and my Legal name were one in the same)
The ONE EXCEPTION… and “problem” was ALWAYS the USA. I have been verbally reprimanded countless times… that according to US Law my “partner” and I (Mr TTR) are not “a family” or a married couple in the eyes of the US… so should not be filing a Joint-Declaration
It is a HUGE PITA… because although the forms say… “Family Residing at the Same Residence”… in the USA Common Law isn’t recognized federally… so we are technically not “a family”… as I have been told countless times by US Customs & Immigration Officials. Truthfully, I don’t like be treated like a “third class” citizen because my life partner and I don’t share a common last name or are married in the eyes of the law of “another country”).
But it is what it is I suppose.
[ For the record, I did have similar issues when I was married and kept my Maiden Name… US Customs & Immigration would often Ask me IF INDEED we were married… so I took to carrying along a copy of our Marriage Certificate… and on more than one occasion I found a Border Agent / Guard who blatantly was RUDE and asked me IF I was married then WHY didn’t I feel that I should take my Husband’s Surname… forget trying to explain to them that it was a choice (to keep my name)… or a requirement (as per Quebec Law). As someone who travels internationally a lot, I knew not to provoke the Guards who ask such a PERSONAL and INAPPROPRIATE Question… but ya it really ticked me off ]
To be honest, for Mr TTR & I… after 6+ Years together… and our advancing ages (I’m over 50, and he’s over 60)… PLUS the fact that Mr TTR and I travel a lot… it only makes sense to us to put marriage on the table so as to protect ourselves as a couple now when we travel… there are other reasons, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this was a HUGE Concern for us as we move towards our Retirement Years… when we expect to travel more and more, and also run the risk of health issues (and in light of the fact that we spend now months out of each year in the USA)
Legally not being married is a HUGE issue in the USA when it comes to my rights (and also so for US Citizens although it doesn’t seem to be that a lot of citizens actually know that) because MARRIAGE is a Federal Ensured Right… if one IS NOT Married then how one is treated can be quite different from someone who isn’t. And that includes Hospital Access etc. After hearing a heart-breaking horror story from a Canadian Family Member who was Common Law when a loved one was severely ill / died (no access… had to wait until a “child” flew in from Canada), it became apparent to Mr TTR and I that we LOVED each other very very much and didn’t want to be in a situation where we found ourselves without the care & compassion of the other.
And hence we decided this to be ONE of many reasons that we should marry.
So in summary, you won’t probably find too many issues travelling around the world with your “chosen name”… but could definitely be questioned on it in the USA… although if the passport only shows one name (your legal one) then probably not. Hopefully, the Customs & Immigration Folks will catch up with the times, and recognize at least for you (a Citizen) that there are now choices in society
Hope this helps,