How to change name on passport, quickly

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How to change name on passport, quickly
By Guy Lelouch
Published on Jun 09, 2022
Edited by Daniel Zeevi

Legally changing your name requires paperwork, court dates, and even publishing a public announcement of the switch. However, even after completing the necessary steps to change your name, you must then update your personal information documents, including your state ID or driver’s license, your Social Security card, and your passport. 

Changing the name on your passport can be a relatively easy process if you prepare ahead of time.

To that end, if you have an international flight to catch, this guide will walk you through how to change your name on your passport efficiently. 

Step 1: Gather your necessary documents 

If you’re looking to change the name on your passport, you’ve most likely researched how to change your name legally as well as how much it is to change your name. That means you should already have a copy of your certified name change document, which you’ll need to apply for a new passport card. This document is essential to your passport application because it proves that your name change is legitimate. 

This document could be one of three things, depending on your reason for changing your name (and the state you live in). These include:

  • Decree of name change 
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree 

If you’ve misplaced your certified name change document, your safest bet is to contact your city or town’s clerk’s office to obtain a copy.

Step 2: Determine your situation 

How you go about obtaining a new passport depends on your personal circumstances, including:

  • How long you’ve had your current passport book
  • Your ability to provide certified name change documents 

Both will play a part in determining which forms you fill out, what other documentation you need to provide, and whether or not you’ll need to pay an associated passport fee.

For passports less than one year old 

If you’ve had your old passport for less than a year, here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill out a DS-5504 form – You can request a DS-5504 form directly from the State Department or access a copy online
  • Provide required documents – In addition to the DS-5504 form, you’ll need to provide your most recent passport card and your certified name change document. 
  • Provide passport photo – A new, color passport photo is required for all passport book changes or renewals. 

Once you have all your papers in order, you can mail them to the Department of State. The DS-5504 form contains the P.O. Box number where you’ll send your materials. You must send your materials through the United States Postal Service. 

For passports more than one year old 

If you’ve had your old passport for more than a year, things can get a bit more complicated. The first thing to do is figure out whether or not you can renew your old passport by mail. In most cases, eligibility for mail renewal should not be a problem if:

  • You submit your current, undamaged passport with your application
  • Your current passport is less than 15 years old
  • You were at least 16 years old when you received your current passport
  • You can provide certified name change documents 

If you meet those requirements, you’ll need to fill out a DS-82 form and send it by mail to the State Department, along with your current passport, name change document, and a new travel document photo. 

You’ll also need to pay renewal fees. 

However, if you fail to meet those renewal-by-mail requirements, you’ll need to apply in person at a local passport office to change your passport. To do this, you’ll need to provide:

  • A completed DS-11 form
  • Proof of citizenship plus one photocopy
  • Certified name change document
  • State ID plus one photocopy
  • A new passport photo

You’ll be charged renewal fees for applying in person, so keep that in mind. 

Note: If you’ve researched how to change your name after marriage or have successfully done so, and you’ve already updated your state ID, you won’t need to include your name change document with your application. 

For those who don’t have a certified proof of name change

If you aren’t able to provide a certified name change document, you can still get a new passport with your current name on it. You’ll just have to jump through a few additional hoops. 

First, you’ll need to fill out a DS-11 form in person at a passport acceptance facility. You’ll also need to bring your:

  • Passport photo
  • State ID
  • Proof of citizenship 

In addition to the required materials above, you’ll also need to complete a DS-60 form, which will need to be completed by two people who have known you under both your previous and current name. You’ll submit this form with your application.

Lastly, you’ll need to include proof that you’ve been using your new name for at least five years in the form of public records. 

Step 3: Get your new passport fast

Getting a new passport can take between 8-11 weeks, no matter how much preparation and organization you bring to the process. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can apply for an expedited passport. 

The Department of State offers three expedited options, which include:

  • Expedited – The most basic option for expediting your passport can take between 5 to 7 weeks.
  • Urgent – If you have a pressing matter that isn’t an emergency, you can get your passport within five business days.
  • Emergency – The State Department can issue your new passport within three business days in life-or-death situations that require international travel.

To avoid the hustle and bustle of changing your name on your passport in person, simply fill out this form from Gov+ to get started now. 


Guy Lelouch
About the author
Guy Lelouch, founder and CEO of GovPlus, drives government digital transformation with his expertise in technology and public policy by creating efficient, transparent, and user-friendly services.

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