How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

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Have you legally changed your name because of a life event like marriage or divorce?  If so, you’ll need to apply for a new passport.  And dealing with passport forms can be confusing.

So I’ve written a guide in plain English to show you how to change your name on your passport!

Change Name On Passport
I’ll Show You How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

How to Change Name on Passport

Link:   US Passport Changes and Corrections

If you legally changed your name through marriage, divorce, or a court order, you’ll need to get a new passport.  Which form you should use – and what you’ll have to pay – depends on how long ago your current passport was issued.

Change Name On Passport
If You Were Recently Hitched and Changed Your Name, You’ll Need to Get a New Passport

Has It Been LESS Than 1 Year Since Your Passport Was Issued?  Form DS-5504.

Link:   Form DS-5504

If less than 1 year has passed since your current passport was issued, you will NOT have to pay anything to update your name on your passport.  Unless you request expedited services.

For example, let’s say your passport was issued in February 2017, and you were married in October 2017.  If you went through the process to legally change your name after marriage (or for any reason!) and you apply for a new passport through February 2018, you won’t pay anything.

But you must submit form DS-5504 by mail and send it in to the National Passport Processing Center along with:

  • Your current passport
  • An original or certified name change document (copies and notarized copies are NOT accepted)
  • A color passport photo

Has It Been MORE Than 1 Year Since Your Passport Was Issued?  Form DS-82 or DS-11.

Link:   Form DS-82

Link:   Form DS-11

If it’s been more than a year since you got your current passport, you must first determine whether you’re eligible to use form DS-82.

Folks can use form DS-82 if they meet these requirements:
  • You can send in your most recent passport
  • You were at least 16 years old when your most recent passport was issued
  • Your most recent passport was issued less than 15 years ago
  • Your most recent passport has not been lost, stolen, or damaged
  • You use the same name that’s on your most recent passport or can show proper documentation as proof of a legal name change
Change Name On Passport
If It’s Been More Than a Year Since Your Passport Was Issued, the Process Is More Involved

If you DO meet these requirements, you can fill out form DS-82 and mail it in with the following:

  • Your current passport
  • An original or certified name change document (copies and notarized copies are NOT accepted)
  • A color passport photo
  • Any applicable fees
If you DO NOT meet these requirements, you must submit Form DS-11 (the same form used when applying for a passport for the first time) IN PERSON at a qualified location (like a Passport Agency) along with:
  • Proof of US Citizenship
  • An original or certified name change document (copies and notarized copies are NOT accepted)
  • A color passport photo
  • Any applicable fees

You do not need to provide proof of a name change if your name has changed due to a marriage and you have an ID with your new name.  But you’ll have to include the details of your marriage in the applicable section on form DS-11.

How to Find & Fill Out the Correct Form

Step 1.   Find the Form You Need

Once you’ve determined which from you’ll need, you can go to the “Change or Correct a Passport” section of the US Department of State’s website.

From there you can either print the form you need and fill it out by hand.  Or fill out the form online first, then print it.

You Can Print the Form You Need, or Complete It Online

I find it’s quickest to print the form first and fill it out by hand.  Otherwise you’ll have to answer a series of questions to (eventually!) be able to access the form you need online.  As always, do what you’re comfortable with.

Here are links to printable versions of each form:

Step 2.   If You Want to Continue Online

If you’d rather fill it out online and then print it, you can start the application by clicking the “Complete Online” button in the “Forms” box on the “Change or Correct a Passport” main page.

All of the “Complete Online” Buttons Take You to the Same Spot

From there select “Complete Form Online.”

From Here You Can Complete Your Passport Application Online, but You’ll Still Have to Print It and Send It In. You Can NOT Submit It Online.

Step 3.   Fill Out the Discovery Questions

After that, you’ll be asked to fill out information like your name, address, and social security number.

Click the “Next” Button to Move Through the Application’s Pages

And you’ll have to answer questions like why you’re applying for a new or updated passport, when your most recent passport was issued, whether you want to change your name, and when your named change.

So the system can populate the correct form for you.

They’ll even ask for emergency contact information, future travel plans, information regarding your parents and spouse, and whether you have you most recent passport book to send in!

If You Have a Recent Passport, You’ll Have to Answer Questions Like When It Was Issued and Whether It’s Damaged or Missing

Step 4.   Print Your Form and Find the Correct Fee

Finally you’ll come to a page that shows you how much you owe. 
If Your Current Passport Is Less Than a Year Old, You Won’t Have to Pay Anything to Have Your Name Changed

And then you’ll be able to print the form.

On the Final Page, You’ll Have to Print the Form, Sign, and Date It

Step 5.  Sign and Date Your Form, Send, and Wait

Once you’ve printed it, don’t forget to sign and date it, and include the necessary documentation when you send it in.

The process is fairly straightforward once you’ve figured out which form you need.  But as you can see, it takes a bit of time!

And if you’re in a rush to get it, you might have to pay an expedited processing fee.  Because the Passport Processing Agency estimates it takes 4 to 5 weeks to process an application.

In my experience, sometimes they’re really fast but sometimes they’re incredibly slow.  So I suggest getting your application in as quickly as possible.  Because you never know when an opportunity to travel might pop up. 😉

Bottom Line

If you’ve legally changed your name for any reason, like because of a marriage or divorce, you’re required to get a new passport.

So I put together a step-by-step guide to help you determine which passport form you need to use along with how to fill out the application.

Hopefully you find this information useful.  Feel free to share it on social media or email with any friends or family members who are going through the name change process!

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