Did you recently change your name due to marriage, divorce, or court order and need to update your passport? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
A passport name changes are one of many steps you may need to take on the journey of being newly named.
Once you’ve registered your name change with the Social Security Administration, you’re free to start updating your name elsewhere.
If you plan to travel internationally, you’ll want to get your new name on your passport. This guide will help you navigate the passport name change process.
Passport Name Change Checklist
- Review your travel calendar
- Gather the required documents
- Fill out the proper passport application
- Update your passport photo
- Decide if you want to pay for expedited service
- Determine your passport name change fee
- Submit your application
- Next steps
1. Review your travel calendar
Do you already have travel plans in your former name? If so, wait until you return home before starting your passport name change.
Changing your passport can be a pain in the butt if you already have travel reservations because the identification you present at the airport must match your ticket. If it doesn’t, you will likely not be able to travel.
If you have no plans to travel right after you change your name, try to wait until you have your new passport in possession before preparing for a new trip.
The passport application process can take anywhere from two to six weeks to complete. And your new passport will have a new number and expiration date.
So, if your ticket booking requires you to input passport details, you won’t be able to provide the right information.
The safest course is to wait to make plans until after you have your new passport.
Contact your travel provider if you think any name change issues may arise.
2. Gather the required documents
In addition to the application form, you will need to provide two documents:
- Your valid and unexpired U.S. Passport
- Either the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-ordered name change document
With these documents in hand, you’re ready to begin the application.
3. Fill out the proper passport application
Next, you need to determine which passport application form you need to fill out. Choose from the following three options:
- DS-82 – If your passport was issued more than 1 one year ago
- DS-5504 – If your passport was issued less than 1 one year ago
- DS-11 – If your passport has been expired for more than five years (issued 15+ years ago)— You need to apply for a new passport
The forms themselves are not very long, and you don’t need to mail in the instruction pages (the first four pages of the pdf). However, refer to these instruction pages if you have any questions.
4. Update your passport photo
Your application requires an updated color photo.
If you are applying in person, certain acceptance facilities can take your photo for an extra fee.
If you are mailing in your application, you will need to staple your passport photo to it.
You can take a photo yourself as long as it follows the U.S. Department of State’s guidelines.
Make sure your photo follows the Passport Photo Guidelines. The most basic requirements are:
- The photo must be a 2×2 inches
- Your head must be between 1 and 1-3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
- Do not wear glasses
- Use a plain white or off-white background. Do not photoshop your body out of the background or your application will get denied.
- Print photo on matte or glossy photo paper quality
- Do not apply any filters or edits to your picture (expect to remove red-eye)
- Photos with rips, tears, scratches, or any other defects will not be accepted
For more detailed instructions, see the U.S. Department of State’s website.
5. Decide if you want to pay for expedited service
Unfortunately, the passport name change process takes several weeks.
Applications can take up to six weeks for standard processing or up to three weeks if expedited.
Expedited Service (two to three weeks) costs an additional $60. If you need to travel in a hurry, you may need to pay for expedited service.
Need to update your passport ASAP? If you’re located in a major metro, you can visit a passport agency. Passport agencies can help you apply for a new passport or renew an existing passport if you’re traveling within the next 14 days.
You’ll need to visit a Passport Agency or Center and pay a $60 fee to expedite the processing of your passport but it’s worth it if you’re in a bind!
Passport agencies and centers are located in the following locations: Hot Springs, AR; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Aurora, CO; Stamford, CT; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; El Paso, TX; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Portsmouth, NH; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Seattle, WA; St. Albans, VT; Washington, DC; Tucson, AZ
6. Determine your passport name change fee
Depending on the form you chose in step four, your processing fee will be different.
With form DS-82 and form DS-11, you will need to pay $130 (or $190 total for expedited service).
If your previous passport was issued less than one year ago and you filled out form DS-5504, you do not need to pay a fee for routine service. Expedited service for DS-5504 costs $60.
Make checks made payable to “U.S. Department of State.”
Note that these fees apply to requests for a regular passport book.
If you need a passport card (valid only for travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda) the fee is reduced.
For the official pricing chart, please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s pricing page.
7. Submit your application
You can renew your passport at an acceptance facility or by mail.
If you choose to mail in your application, you must include, in one envelope, the required documentation (your current U.S. Passport and official name change document), the application with a color photograph of yourself stapled to it, and the applicable fee.
You must use the United States Postal Service (USPS) to mail in your application.
If you use UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc., your application will be returned to you without processing.
Depending on where you live, you will need to mail the completed application to a different address.
The National Passport Processing Center also has a separate mailbox for Expedited Service.
The different addresses are as follows:
Routine Service (If you live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas):
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155
Routine Service (If you live in any other state or Canada):
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155
Expedited Service (for any state or Canada):
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90955
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955
Write “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the mailing envelope.
8. Next Steps
Hang tight! Once you’ve submitted your application, all you need to do is wait.
You will receive your new passport, as well as your other documents, in the mail in the coming weeks.
Be aware that the new passport will often come in a separate shipment from the other documents—so don’t panic if your new passport arrives without your old one.
Your other documents should arrive within a few days.
As you wait for your passport in the mail, you can continue your name change elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does a passport name change take?
After submitting your application, it typically 4-6 weeks for routine service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service. To learn more about current processing times for U.S. Passports, visit travel.state.gov.
Much does a passport name change cost?
Form DS-82 (passport issued more than 1 year ago) and form DS-11 (new passport) cost $130 for routine service and $190 for expedited service. Form DS-5504 (passport issued less than one year ago) is free for routine service and costs $60 for expedited service.
I just got married. When should I update my passport?
It depends on your travel schedule. If you have flights booked in your maiden name then you should wait until to return from your trip(s) booked in your maiden name. The name on your passport must identically match your boarding pass. If it doesn’t, you may not be able to board your flight.
Best of luck with the rest of your name change!