The everything guide to the US Passport application process

How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

Last Updated on November 15, 2021

Marriages are a common reason that one changes their name on a passport.
Marriages are a common reason that one changes their name on a passport.

So you went ahead and got married and you want to use your new married name on your passport, or maybe you got divorced or maybe you had your name legally changed. For whatever reason, it’s best to keep your documents up to date with your most current name change. Your US passport is a vitally important document. It’s irrefutable proof of your identity, it demonstrates that you are a citizen of the United States, with all the rights and responsibility that that status entails, and it makes it easy for you to be found and identified quickly when you’re traveling abroad.

This is supplemental information to our Passport Name Change Guide!

Why Do You Need to Change Your Passport Name?

It’s good idea to change the passport name if there was a recent legal change especially when you find yourself needing to travel. Your passport is so important for securing your identity, keeping it up-to-date is absolutely necessary. Your passport photo, for example, needs to be replaced at regular intervals in order to provide an accurate visual reference of your face. And if your name changes, for whatever reason, your passport must reflect your new name or at least it should to avoid any issues in the future.

So what if you applied for a passport, got it back and the name was misspelled?

If you’ve recently received a newly issued passport, be sure to inspect it carefully. Mistakes can and do happen in the course of the US Department of State’s preparation of the document. So if your name does not appear correctly on the passport, you’ll need to take immediate action to have the document issued with correct data. This can happen, not only with the name, but birth date, gender, place of birth, etc., so please check it!

If you find you received your passport with a misspelling of or you name or incorrect data, this can be corrected at no charge as long as the passport is valid.

To correct mistakes on your passport you must submit:

  • Form DS-5504 (also available at the US Department of State website) – you can either used their online wizard to complete the form and create a printable PDF or fill by hand.
  • Old passport
  • Evidence of the error – this could be your original or certified copied of your birth certificate, or a document that proves there was an error, a marriage certificate, legal name change document, etc.
  • One color Passport photo.

** If you report this within one year, you will receive a new passport valid for 10 years from the new date of the corrected passport book.

** If you report it after one year of issuance, the new passport will be valid until the expiration date of the original, incorrect passport.

How to Change your name on your passport.

Changing the name on your passport process will depend on when the passport was issued.
If you applied for and received your US passport within the past year, then getting a name change is a relatively quick and easy process.

If the passport was issues less than one year, you’ll need:

  • Form DS-5504 (also available at the US Department of State website) – you can either used their online wizard to complete the form and create a printable PDF or fill by hand.
  • Your old passport
  • Passport photos
  • The original name-change document. (The DOS insists that the document be original, not a photocopy; but don’t worry, they’ll be sure to return it to you.) – this can be your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or another legal name change document you have.

***There’s no charge to have your name changed on a recently issued passport less than a year, although you’ll need to pay for expedited service if you want to get the document quickly. ***

You will then certified mail these documents to the Department of State.

What if Your Passport is Older than One Year?

If you need a name change due to marriage, divorce or any other legal name change and your passport is older than one year, you’ll need to apply for a new one as a renewal.

You’ll to submit:

  • A DS-82 form for passport renewal.
  • Current passport
  • Original or certified name change document
  • Passport Photo
  • Applicable Fees – typically a renewal for an adult is $110 since you do not need to seal your documents

What if Your Passport is Older than One Year AND you’re not eligible for renewal?

So if you had a passport and it has expired more than 5 years from the expiration date or you might have had it lost or stolen, you are not eligible for the Form DS-82. You’ll need to get your documents sealed at a Passport Acceptance Facility or a Passport Agency. Usually Passport Acceptance Facilities are a US Post Offices, court houses and sometime schools and other public buildings. You’ll also need a DS-11 if your passport is damaged or if you had your passport issued when you were under the age of 16, so keep that in mind.

You’ll need:

  • From DS- 11 (available at the US Department of State website) – you can either used their online wizard to complete the form and create a printable PDF or fill by hand.
  • Either your original birth certified or certificate of Naturalization – Proof of Citizenship
  • Original or certified name change document
  • Valid ID
  • Photo- copy of ID
  • Passport Photo
  • Applicable Fees – A new passport for an adult is $135 including the cost for the $25 Execution fee from the Acceptance Facility.

If you’re ready for you next trip and need to make a name change, you’ll need to make you send the right and documents to prevent delays and help avoid any other mistakes from the Department of State.

Happy and Safe Travels!

Nina Gonzalez

Nina Gonzalez is a marketing manager, social guru, sometimes outdoorsy wanderlust. Nina earned her degree in Art History at Florida Atlantic University. She is avid art lover, pet cuddler and on a good day a cyclist. Her favorite travel experience was her first to Italy as a bone marrow courier.

3 thoughts on “How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

  1. Im a illigetimate person that’s why i don’t have middle initial, because my parents are not married, there are both young that time when i was born, question do i need you put middle name on my passport to travel saudi arabia?

  2. Me and my girlfriend received passports in 2016.We traveled to Europe, now we are ready to go back.As we were getting our passports out I looked at mine and noticed my girlfriend signed her name on my passport. We went to Europe not knowing this and nobody at the airport noticed it either. Needless to say how do I correct this before I travel again?

    1. You can do a renewal and get a new passport. It will probably take you months though to receive it with Covid and the partial Passport Agency shutdown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top