How to Update Your Passport

By Amy Curtis

Tips for easy updates to your passport

How to Update Your Passport

Have you recently experienced some life changes? It may be time to update your passport. Relax! Even though getting your passport can seem complicated, updating it is not as hard as you might think. True, you'll have to fill out some forms, and you might need to pay some money, but we can help point you in the right direction. Read on to learn the facts about updating your passport and why you may need to do it now.

How to update your passport

To update your passport, you’ll need to go to the U.S. Department of State website. There, you’ll find all the forms you need to complete the process. Passport printing errors will not require a fee, but they do require form DS-5504, a passport photo and evidence of the mistake. Updates within a year of issuance also require form DS-5504, but most other updates will take form DS-82. Documentation depends on the reason for the update.

Tip

It's not necessary to update the address on your passport. There's a big misconception that you're required to update your passport if your address changes. While your driver's license is linked to your address, a passport is linked to you as an individual, so a current address is not as important. If you’d like to update your address, you can certainly do so, but it is more cost-effective to wait until it’s time to renew.

Two different ways to update for gender change

Gender reassignment requires you to apply as though you are a first-time applicant, so use form DS-11. In addition to the standard required documentation to prove identity and citizenship, you’ll need medical certification from a licensed physician. Your birth certificate doesn’t need to reflect your current gender, but your passport photo and ID must reflect your current appearance.

If you are still in the process of transitioning, the passport you receive will be a limited-validity passport, good for two years. When you have completed your treatment, you can replace your limited-validity passport with a full-validity passport at no additional cost. You'll just need to submit form DS-5504, along with your limited passport book, a passport photo that reflects your current appearance and medical certification that you've completed the appropriate clinical treatment.

Reasons and ways to update your passport name

To update your name on your passport, you’ll need a form, some official documents, and any applicable fees. The form and fees depend on whether you already have a valid passport and how long you’ve had it. The documents vary depending on the nature of your name change. For example, if you have had your name changed in court, you’ll need the court order. If you’ve gotten divorced, you’ll need the divorce decree. If you’ve only recently been issued a passport, you won’t have to pay a fee, and you’ll use form DS-5504.

Tip

Most name changes require form DS-82, though in some circumstances you’ll have to submit documents as a new applicant, using form DS-11. In that case, you’ll need to submit it in person, with proof of identity and citizenship, as well as a passport photo.

Congratulations on your marriage!

If you take your partner's name when you get married, you’ll need to change your passport to reflect this. As with any other name change, this requires form DS-5504, form DS-82 or DS-11. You’ll also have to send in a passport photo and your marriage certificate. A photocopy or notarized copy is not sufficient, so if you’re unwilling to send the original, be sure to send a certified copy, with a raised seal.