How to Change Your Name on a Passport

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on August 24, 2022

Passport is among the most important travel documents required for international travel. It contains your name, address, SSN among other personal information. But some people find the need to change or update their name on the passport.

If you’re looking forward to a name change, then you need to be aware of the correct way of doing it. In this article, we will give you a thorough overview of how to change your name on a US passport.

Is a Passport Name Change Required?

The passport serves as your identity and certifies that you are a citizen of a particular country. The US passport certifies that you’re a citizen of America.

The passport creation process is an overall stringent process. Lots of documentation, verification, and assessments go into creating a valid passport for each applicant. And it takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to get a passport in the US.

All of this is to ensure that the information displayed on the passport is valid and correct from all angles. But despite this, some people have to opt for changing names or other information on the passport.

More often than not, women who underwent marriage and had their last name legally changed need to reflect this updated information on the passport. Other cases involve a change in biographical or geographic information.

A name change in the passport is also required in case of typographical errors that are present in the passport. This almost makes the passport invalid for use since there’s a conflict of correctness. This results in rejection, delays, and frustration for passport holders. So as conclusive, at times it does get necessary to change the name in the passport.

How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

Now that you know why the name change is required in the passport, in this section, we’ll briefly cover how to do that legally. It is simple and straightforward, but you’re required to follow certain rules laid out by USCIS.

The process depends on the scenario under which you’re applying for a name change on your passport. There are three possible scenarios. Depending upon the one you’re in, you’re required to submit the appropriate it and supplement it with relevant documents.

If it’s Less than One Year After Issuing

If you need to change the name on your passport within one year of issuance, then you’re required to submit Form DS-5504, Application for the US Passport Corrections, Name Change within 1 Year of issuance. It is a basic two-page form with 4 instructions page which covers everything that you need to know while filling up the form.

Here’s a rundown of what you will be asked in the Form DS-5504:

  • Name: Your full name which you use officially. This should reflect in other documents you provide.
  • Place of Birth: If you were born in the US, then specify the city and state. If outside the US, then mention Country, Province, and City or however the system is in that country.
  • SSN: Your 9-digit Social Security Number issued by the US government. If you do not have one, enter 000-00-0000
  • Height: Your precise height in feet and inches.
  • Permanent/Mailing Address: You can use a US-based address for either option. If you’re a traveler from outside the US, then use your native location as a Permanent address and you can use the hotel you’re staying in as your mailing address.
  • Phone Number(s): You’re required to provide at least one valid phone number, preferably which can be used to easily reach you.
  • Email Address: A valid email address that you are authorized to use.
  • Emergency Contact Detail: This is the contact details of the person who will be the first point of contact for the Embassy or any organization in case something happens to you.
  • Alias: You can provide names that you use in other documents besides your actual name.
  • Applying for a Passport Book, Passport Card, or Both: When submitting this form, you can apply for both a passport book and a passport card. You need to specify your options. Click here for the difference between the two.

Documents Required for DS-5504

The documents which are accepted as evidence of name change are marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption certificate, court order, etc. These documents should be original or a certified photocopy.

If It’s More than One Year After Issuing

In case, it’s been 1 year since the passport was issued to you, then you’re required to submit the Form DS-82, Application for Passport Renewal by mail. This is very similar to DS-5504 and the questions asked in this form are very much the same.

So just follow the instructions given and you’ll be good to go. As the name suggests, you have to send this form by mail and there’s no option for submitting online.

Documents Required for DS-82

  • Most recent passport book or passport card
  • Passport-size photographs
  •  Evidence of name change

If You Can’t Prove Your Name Change

Some people, both US-based and foreign nationals, cannot provide evidence of their name change because of various reasons. But they can still get their name changed on the passport. USCIS has a different form for that purpose and that is Form DS-11.

All of the information you’ll be asked for is the same as in the case of DS-5504 and DS-82. But if you’re submitting this form in particular, you’ll be asked to appear in person at a designated USCIS office and validate the reason for which you cannot prove your name change.

  • Documents required for DS-11
  • Updated Passport book or passport card
  • Recent Passport-size photo
  • At least 3 government-issued public records with date, place of birth, and name clearly mentioned. The name should be in use for at least 5 years.

Renew by Mail with Form DS-82

If you want to renew your US passport, then you have to submit DS-82 for that purpose. Just select the appropriate boxes in the application while submitting this form for renewal purposes.

When applying some forms online, you may encounter errors and the portal might not accept some data. If that happens persistently, then you’re advised to download the form, complete it and submit it offline for better results. The processing time is usually between 6-10 weeks but may get extended during peak seasons.

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Thus, whatever your reason is, if you need to get your name changed in your passport, you can adopt any of the methods mentioned above. Got any queries? Let us know in the comments below.

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