How Does Passport Name Change Work?

By Amy Curtis

Updating your passport after you go through a name change

How Does Passport Name Change Work?

If you’ve recently changed your name, it’s a good time to update your passport. Your passport is invalid as soon as you change your name on your social security card, because both documents are issued by the federal government. Updating your passport quickly will help prevent any confusion or hassle the next time you travel.

The name change process

The process for changing your name differs slightly, depending on the status of your passport and how long you've had it. With every name change, you'll have to submit a form, some documentation and a color passport photo.

  • If you have a valid passport issued less than a year ago, you'll need form DS-5504. You'll fill out the form and mail it, along with your passport and official documentation of the name change.
  • If it’s been more than a year since your passport was issued but it's still valid, use form DS-82. As long as your passport is undamaged, and was issued within the last 15 years and you were 16 years of age or older when it was issued, you can send it in with your form, photo, and documentation.
  • If your passport isn't valid, or it's older than 15 years, or is damaged, you'll need to apply for a new passport. That needs to be done in person, using form DS-11, and you'll need to bring proof of citizenship and proof of identity, as well as your passport photo.
  • If you're already using a new name but can't support the name change with a court order, you'll have to use form DS-11. Again, this means you're applying for a new passport, and requires you to appear in person and bring proof of citizenship and identity. 

Is there a fee attached?

The required fee is also determined largely by whether you already have a passport, and how long you've had it.

  • If your passport was issued less than one year ago, there is no fee.
  • If your passport was issued more than one year ago, the current fee is $110. You’ll need to pay an extra $30 if you also want a passport card.
  • If you don’t already have a passport, you’ll need to pay as a first time applicant, and that fee is currently $135. The additional charge for a passport card in that case is $55.
  • If you do have a passport, but it was issued more than 15 years ago, when you were younger than 16 or it is damaged, you will need to pay the first-time applicant fee.
  • If you have a passport, but are now using a different name, and you don’t have a court order, divorce decree or marriage certificate to support this name change, you must apply as a first time applicant.

Passport name change after marriage

If you’re changing your name because you got married, you’re probably already an old hand at filling out mountains of paperwork. Fortunately, the process to update your passport is not complicated. The U.S. Department of State provides the necessary forms on its website. Just print and submit with your marriage certificate, a color passport photo, and the required fees.

Tip

If you don’t want to send in your original marriage certificate, you must submit a certified copy with a raised seal. Photocopies will not be accepted, even if notarized.

If your name change isn’t because of marriage, the process is still the same. The only difference is that instead of your marriage certificate, you’ll submit a divorce decree or court order. If neither of those are available, apply as a first time applicant, bringing proof of identity and proof of citizenship along with your application form, fees and passport photo.