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How To Change Your Name On a Passport?

Obtaining a new passport, or renewing an existing one, with your updated name is a critical part of the name change process. A mismatch between your legal name and name listed on your passport can cause major headaches at border crossings and airports.

Luckily, while it takes some paperwork, getting an accurate passport post-name change is very feasible. Here are the key steps for updating your name with the U.S. State Department:

Gather Documentation

To change the name on your passport, you will need to provide:

  • Proof of new name – You will need proof of your new legal name in the form of a name change document. Name Change documents will be on court or other government documents, signed by a judge or other authorized official, and certified by another official at that government facility. Examples are a name change court order, a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, an amended birth certificate, and a judicially approved naturalization document.
  • Proof of identity – Birth certificate, existing or expired passport and naturalization documents can supply proof of your identity.
  • Proof of citizenship – In order to get or renew a US passport, you’ll need to supply proof that you are a US citizen. Make sure you have that proof to facilitate this process.
  • Photo ID – Your current passport photo will suffice if you have one. If not, you’ll need a current driver’s license from where you live now or you may need two other government issued documents that the passport agency recognizes as secondary identity proof.
  • New passport photo that meets size, background and other specifications. Many pharmacies and shipping stores provide passport photo services.
  • Completed DS-5504 passport name change application form.
  • Payment for the $130 application fee and $35 execution fee.
  • Note that if you can’t locate your old passport, you must apply as if first-time.
  • Other citizenship proof like birth certificates may be required depending on the situation.

Having all necessary documents in order ensures your application gets processed quickly rather than delayed due to any missing items.

Complete Application

Carefully complete the DS-11 or DS-5504 form with your updated personal information and details about your name change.

You must submit the DS-11 application in person, but can submit the DS-5504 application by mail – along with documents and fees – If you are renewing your passport within 1 year of your initial or renewal date. The DS-11 cannot be completed and submitted strictly online or via mail. Include any required additional forms like DS-64 if also requesting gender marker changes on the passport.

Make sure to closely follow all photograph guidelines. Photo ID cannot be reduced from the size on your qualifying ID, but it can be enlarged. Even slight deviations can result in rejection and restarting the application process. Wearing glasses can help avoid issues passing biometric facial recognition scanning.

Schedule Appointment

Depending on location, you may need to make an appointment at a designated passport agency or center to submit your completed application materials. Appointments sometimes book up weeks or months in advance, so schedule early.

Alternatively, you can visit a passport acceptance facility like some post offices, clerks of court, or public libraries that process passport applications. Not all locations provide appointments, so walk-ins may require waiting.

If visiting in person without an appointment, call ahead to verify operating hours and what paperwork you must bring. Getting turned away for missing any components will mean starting over.

Attending In-Person Appointment

At your scheduled appointment, you will submit the completed DS-11 or DS-5504 application form, old passport or other ID document such as birth or naturalization certificate, photo ID, new photos, other certificates, fees, and other required documents. Arrive early to clear any potential security lines.

The application processor will verify all materials are present and completed accurately. Be prepared to answer any clarifying questions about your name change details if needed.

If everything is in order, your application will be submitted on the spot for processing. If any issues arise with documents or forms, be cooperative to resolve any problems so applications can still be submitted during the visit or as soon as possible.

Await Processing

If you haven’t already before you get your new name change passport, also notify the SSA to align their records. Submit a completed SS-5 form along with your court order documentation and your new passport as evidence if required.

Foreign Travel

When traveling internationally with your updated passport, bringing your name change court order is wise to supplement the new passport during the transition period. If any airport agents ask about your name variations, show them your court order to connect the names.

If previously granted Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check under your old name, you will also need to update your info in those programs once you obtain the new passport.

Renewing Post-Name Change

For future renewal, the process remains the same using forms DS-11 and DS-5504, depending on whether you are renewing to update for name change within one year of the last passport issuance date or not. Once you have your new legal name printed on your current passport, subsequent renewals can be done without needing to supply another certified copy of your name change document. You will just need to pay the renewal fees and supply the passport agency with updated photos with your application as they require.

In summary, while it requires planning and paperwork, successfully obtaining a new passport in a new legal name is very attainable. Pay close attention to photo and form requirements, make sure you have your name change documents as proof of your new legal name, triple check documents, and attend appointments prepared to avoid hiccups getting your updated identity documented for smooth travels using your new name.

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