If you’re considering a name change for any one of a number of reasons, make sure you cover all your bases. In addition to making notifications to businesses, you’ll have to update forms of ID like your driver’s license and US passport.
Why would you need your name changed on your passport in the first place? Couples who get married or divorced may have maiden or hyphenated names they no longer want to use. Individuals who have finished a gender transition may wish to have a name that reflects their new gender. As a matter of style, actors may want their stage name to be their legal name.
Whatever the reason, it certainly is possible to change one’s name on a US passport, but the reason for the change affects what forms you’ll use and the method for notifying the US Department of State.
How to change name on your passport
Naturally, if you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you can simply present Form DS-11 with the associated documents without the need to “change” anything. You should include a legal document certifying the name change if your name differs from that on your birth certificate or naturalization certificate.
Should you already have a valid US passport, when you applied for your most recent one determines what you need to do to request a name change. If you happen to have renewed or applied for a new passport in the last year, then you’ll need to fill out Form DS-5504, as well as send your original passport, a passport-sized photo, and proof of the name change by mail.
However, if you’ve held your current passport for at least a year and now need a name change, you may be able to use Form DS-82 to renew your passport book with the updated name. There are some restrictions to this renewal process; you must be able to submit your most recent US passport issued after you turned 16; the book or card must be undamaged; your passport book or card must be valid or not have been issued more than 15 years ago. If all these conditions apply and you can provide proof of the name change with a court order or marriage license, then a passport renewal can be processed through the mail.
In the case of a long expired passport or one missing or stolen, all applicants seeking a name change must make an appointment at a regional passport agency. They can apply in person using Form DS-11.
Required to provide a court order or marriage certificate?
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials (or your divorce…). If you have had enough time following your wedding to update your state-issued ID with your new surname, then you don’t need to provide anything more than this ID and an explanation as to why your name has changed by providing the date of marriage and your maiden name. Your birth certificate is still acceptable as proof of citizenship with your maiden name for first-time applicants.
The cost for changing your name on your passport
The costs for applying for a passport name change are, unfortunately, equal to those for standard applications and renewals: $80 for children and $110 for adults. If one of the aforementioned conditions applies to you and you must submit a name change application in person, the $25 execution fee is also required.
However, for those who recently applied for a new passport or renewed their old one, no additional fees are needed. As long as your passport was issued less than one year ago, you can submit Form DS-5504 with the supporting documents for a free name change on your passport.
How long does a passport name change take?
There’s no major difference in processing time between applying for a name change 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, going through a third party agency like Travel Visa Pro can help cut down on this processing time.