Do I have to change my name on my passport after marriage?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Fri Oct 19 2018

Congratulations on your nuptials. There are sure to be legal matters to attend to following any wedding, and making sure your passport is up to date is one of them. However, just because you’re now married doesn’t necessarily mean you have to alter every form of ID in your safe. Here are a few reasons it may be necessary to change the name on your passport after marriage.


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If your last name actually changes

Fun fact: you can get married and legally not take your partner’s last name. However, if you should choose to adopt his or her name or a hyphenated version of both, your passport will need to reflect this change. This would be no different than legally changing your name in front of a judge for any reason.

If you need to change the name displayed on your passport book or card, it’s important to go through the proper procedure to ensure you don’t have to keep applying for additional paperwork or waiting for documents to be processed. Once you get married, legally change your name by choice, or wish to have your name changed for other reasons (e.g. gender transition), you’ll have to update all forms of ID like your driver’s license and US passport.

How do I change the name on my passport after marriage?

What forms you’ll use and the method for notifying the US Department of State varies depending on your situation prior to your wedding. If you never applied for a passport under your old surname, you can simply use Form DS-11 at a Travel Visa Pro, US post office, or regional passport agency along with a marriage certificate or other relevant documents. These documents should certify the name change if yours now differs from the one on your birth or naturalization certificate.

However, if you already applied for a passport book or card and are currently staring at your old name on your travel documents, the timing of the application determines what you need to do to request a passport name change. For those who have held their current US passport for at least a year and discover they need a name change to legally travel, you may be able to use Form DS-82 to renew your passport book with the new last name. In this case, there are some restrictions:

  1. Your passport book or card must be undamaged.
  2. Your passport book or card cannot have been expired for more than 5 years.
  3. Your most recent US passport must be a ten-year document, not the five-year ones issued to those under the age of 16. There is a legal gray area here for “children” who are US citizens legally allowed to marry under the age of 16; contact a travel expert at Travel Visa Pro if you have any questions regarding the particulars.

For those newlyweds who happen to have renewed or applied for a new ten-year passport in the last year, they can fill out Form DS-5504, and send their original passport, a passport-sized photo, and certification of the name change by mail to the US Department of State. No fees apply in this situation.

Unfortunately, if your passport was issued more than 15 years ago or has been misplaced or stolen, you must apply for your name change in person at a regional passport agency using Form DS-11. All others meeting the aforementioned requirements can apply for a passport renewal by mail.

How long does it take to change the name on your passport?

There’s no major difference in processing time between applying for a name change after marriage on your US passport and getting it renewed. Applying by mail may take up to several weeks, or days if you’re lucky. Those applying in person at a regional passport office can pay for expedited service and provide proof of immediate travel.

As always, more time is better when it comes to renewing your passport, requesting a name change on your passport after marriage, or applying for a passport book for the first time. Visit your nearest Travel Visa Pro for assistance.

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