US Passport Legal Name Change


If you have a current or recently expired passport and you have legally changed your name, you need to update your passport. International tickets (air, cruise ship, etc) must match your passport – if they don’t you likely won’t be allowed to travel. In a last minute situation you could book in your previous name if your passport is still valid, but this could potentially cause complications while traveling. The process of updating the name on your passport is almost identical to renewing a passport, just providing proof of your legal name change in addition – and if it’s been less than a year since your passport was issued, it may be “almost” free! Whatever original document you submit to prove your name change will be returned to you when your new passport is issued.

Most Common Reasons for Passport Name Changes

There are several reason that people need to change the name listed on their passport. The most common reasons are due to marriage or divorce. Adoption, religious reasons and gender modification are other possible reasons.

Documents Required for Passport Name Change Due to Marriage or Divorce

If your passport was valid for 10 years, is not expired or has been expired less than five years, you qualify for a renewal. A name change is essentially a renewal. We list the full requirements for applying for the name change on the passport below, but first let’s discuss the name change document you’ll be providing.

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  • Name Change Due to Marriage It is important to understand that a marriage license is not a valid name change document. This is simply a certificate that allows the marriage, not confirmation that one has actually taken place. Once the ceremony has occurred, the person who performed it will file a marriage certificate in the appropriate county office within a few days. Once the marriage certificate is on file you may obtain a certified copy (not just a photocopy) and this is the document used to perform the name change. Marriages that occur outside of the US create additional legwork as you must have the marriage recognized by the United States. Normally you will need to either have your marriage certificate legalized or register your marriage with your county who will provide you a marriage certificate. The process and requirements can vary based on the country of marriage and local city or state policies.

  • Name Change Due to Divorce An original divorce decree is required.

  • SPEICAL NOTE FOR ALL NAME CHANGES Any discrepancies must be account for. For example, let’s say:

    Your name at birth was Jane Smith; you got a passport issued in that name at 21 years old

    You Married at 23 and changed your name to Jane Thomas, but did not update your passport

    You divorced at 25, but kept the last name Thomas

    You remarried at 27 and changed your name to Jane Davidson; you are applying for a passport in the name Jane Davidson

    In the case above, your current passport has the name Jane Smith. For your proof of name change you are using your most recent marriage certificate which shows Jane Thomas marrying Tom Davidson and taking his last name. You must now also show the change from Smith to Thomas (the original marriage certificate and, even though you kept the name Thomas, the divorce decree to show you were single when marring Davidson). The example above can be applied to a variety of circumstances, just make sure that the chain-of-custody so to speak is documented with originals.

US Passport Name Change

  1. Current Passport
    Applicant must submit their current valid, or recently expired, passport (as well as valid or recently expired US passport card if they have one) in order to get an updated passport with new name. The old passport (and original name change document(s) indicated below) will be returned by the US State Department (and valid passport card if applicable).

  2. Passport Photos
    Applicant must submit one (1) color, passport style photograph. Applicant may not wear eye glasses. Photo may be obtained at many post offices, Kinko’s, Mailboxes Etc or similar locations.

  3. Proof of Travel
    If applicant is traveling in the near future, it is recommended they submit a computer-generated itinerary from a travel agency or online booking tool (such as an e-confirmation) showing departure from the U.S. If using a passport expediting service this will likely be required due to the regulations they have to follow with the State Dept.

  4. Name Change Documentation
    Applicant must submit original or certified copy of the marriage certificate (not a license) or a court decree ordering a name change or an adoption. The document must show the official seal of the issuing authority. All official documents will be returned.

  5. Passport Name Change Application (DS-82)
    Applicant must submit one completed passport application form (Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82). The form for a Name Change and renewal are the same. This can be done using the US State Departments online passport “wizard” or you may print and complete by hand (black or blue ink only). Note that passport expediting companies are required to use applications completed using the online wizard program and will generally not accept hand written applications.

  6. Government Fees
    Passport Name Changes are essentially a passport renewal. It is important to understand is that if the payment is incorrect it will delay the new passport issuance – even if you overpay.
  Service Fee  
 Passport Name Change Book (6-8 week processing) $110.00  
 Adult Passport Card (in conjunction with passport name change) $30.00  
 Passport Name Change Expedite (2-3 week processing upgrade) $60.00  
  Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking) $15.45  
  *fee schedule as of July 2017. Fees subject to change  


Here are some common breakdowns:

Passport Renewal in 6-8 Weeks
$110.00 Passport Renewal Book
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$125.45 TOTAL

Passport Renewal in 2-3 Weeks
$110.00 Passport Renewal Book
$ 60.00 Passport Renewal Expedite
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$185.45 TOTAL

Passport Renewal in 6-8 Weeks
$110.00 Passport Renewal Book
$ 30.00 Adult Passport Card (in conjunction with passport renewal)
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$155.45 TOTAL

Passport Renewal in 2-3 Weeks
$110.00 Passport Renewal Book
$ 30.00 Adult Passport Card (in conjunction with passport renewal)
$ 60.00 Passport Renewal Expedite
$ 15.45 Overnight Return Shipping (with tracking)
$215.45 TOTAL

The “TOTAL” is the amount that the check or money order made payable to the State Dept will be for. If paying by check, starter checks are not acceptable. Indicate the applicants name and DOB in the memo line.

All My Name Change Stuff Together. Now What?

Now we need to mail the application to the State Dept (unless you are using a private passport expediting company in which case you will send to that company). Based on where you live and which service you are applying for, there are a few possible mailing addresses below. Note that these are ALL PO Boxes, so you cannot use FedEx, UPS or any other shipping than USPS. It is also HIGHLY recommended you pay additional to have a trackable package. Choose the address that bests fits your needs:

Standard 6-8 Week Passport Name Changes, Residents of CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX:

National Passport Processing Center
Passport Name Change
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

Standard 6-8 Week Passport Name Changes, Residents of all states OTHER THAN CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX:

National Passport Processing Center
Passport Name Change
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Expedited 2-3 Week Passport Renewals (residents of all states paying the additional $60 expedite fee):

Write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the mailing envelope in marker:

National Passport Processing Center
Passport Name Change
Post Office Box 90955
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

Get Your Passport

That’s it! In 1 day to 8 weeks (depending on service selection) you’ll have your updated passport in hand. You will receive your original name change document(s) back as well – and as long as your old passport is in decent condition, you will get that back too. Sometimes the old passport, original name change document(s) and passport card (if you requested one) will show up in separate mailings, all usually within a week of each other.

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