How to Change your Last Name on your Passport
Why would anyone ever need to change their last name on their passport? There are any number of reasons this could happen. One of the most common ones is among couples who get married, with one party choosing to take the other’s name or both deciding on a combined hyphenated name. Legally, anyone can change his or her name in front of a judge for almost any reason (let us not forget the tale of Princess Consuela Bananahammock); actors do it as a matter of marketing themselves.
If you need to change the change 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.
Changing your name on your passport
Whatever the reason for this change, it certainly is possible for your US passport to reflect it, but what forms you’ll use and the method for notifying the US Department of State varies. If you never applied for a passport under your old surname, you can simply present Form DS-11 with the associated documents without the need to change anything. You should include a legal document – marriage certificate, etc. – certifying the name change if your name differs from that on your birth certificate 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. If you happen to have renewed or applied for a new ten-year 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 certification of the name change by mail.
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:
- Your most recent US passport must be a ten-year document, not the five-year ones issued to those under the age of 16.
- Your passport book or card must be undamaged.
- Your passport book or card cannot 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. 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.
How long does it take to change your last name on your passport?
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.
Unfortunately, the costs for getting your new name on your passport are equivalent to those for first-time applications and renewals: $80 for children (must be done in person, as with all children’s passport renewals) and $110 for adults. If one of the aforementioned conditions applies to you and you must submit a name change application in person, the $35 execution fee is also required.
Anything else I should know about changing my name on my passport?
The good news is those who applied for a new passport in the last year or renewed their old one do not to pay any additional fees to process their name change. They can submit Form DS-5504 with the supporting documents.
As always, more time is better when it comes to renewing your passport, requesting a change, or applying for one for the first time. Visit your nearest Travel Visa Pro for assistance!