Passport Name Change After Marriage

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Consider getting a new passport after marriage based on travel plans and destination country requirements.
  • Some countries may require your passport to display your new name.
  • Contact the consular section for specific requirements if keeping the old passport.
  • Changing your passport is advisable for frequent international travelers to avoid last-minute documentation issues.

You’ve recently had the best day of your life: you just married your significant other, and life could not be better for you. Now, however, there’s a problem: the name in your passport no longer matches the name in your ID. Technically speaking, you are a different person now. Will you get into any issues at the airport, or is it necessary that you apply for a passport name change after marriage? Well, that depends on where you intend to go – but you will find out more by reading this article.

Do I Have to Get a New Passport after Getting Married

The short answer to this is that it depends – but at the same time, it is still recommended. For example, if you leave the United States, some countries require you to have your after-marriage name on your passport. On the other hand, there are countries that accept your old passport – but require that you bring your marriage certificate as proof.

That being said, if you are traveling to a different country and if you intend to keep your old passport, you will require two different things: you will have to call the consular section of the country that you are trying to visit, asking about the issue. Secondly, if it is indeed possible, you would have to take your marriage certificate with you each time you decide to travel.

If you don’t want to go through this entire process every time you travel, you may want to change your passport. Granted, if you are only traveling to your home country and know for a fact that you can get by with showing your marriage certificate, you don’t necessarily have to change it. But if you like to travel to different countries, you may want to change your passport to avoid any last-minute documentation changes.

How Soon Do I Have to Change My Name on My Passport after Marriage?

This pretty much depends on your travel schedule – you won’t receive any penalties if you do not change it right after. You can wait a week, a month, a year, however much you like. The only things that might affect you are some extra fees that you might have to pay.

If your old passport was issued less than one year ago, then you won’t have to pay any fees for it – not unless you go for the expedited services. Still, if your passport was issued more than one year ago, you need to pay the appropriate fees when you apply for the renewal. This is why it is actually in your advantage to change your passport as soon as possible, to avoid any extra fees.

Other things might also affect how soon you can change your passport. For example, if you already have trips booked in your maiden name, then you may want to postpone changing your name until you actually finish the trip. Your passport name needs to match your boarding pass identically, lest you won’t be allowed to board. That’s why you need to wait until your return. Talk with the consular office and see whether you may board with your marriage certificate as proof upon your return or not.

How to Change Your Name on a Passport after Marriage

There’s plenty to remember when it comes to traveling to another country. Every person must go through a couple of hoops if they wish to travel internationally after getting married.

Newly Married People

If you are newly married and had your passport changed less than one year ago, then you’ll be happy to find out that it won’t cost you a dime to change your name in the passport. All you have to do as the applicant is to complete Form DS-5504 – one that you may easily download from the passport section of the U.S. Department of State website.

If you cannot complete the form online (which is also an option), you may choose to mail the paperwork, along with the necessary documents. You will have to submit your old passport, a passport photograph, and your marriage certificate in original (copies aren’t accepted). On the form, you can find the address where you need to mail it.

Mind the Date

If you’ve married some time ago and there’s already been more than a year since your last passport change, then you will be required to complete form DS-82. You must submit the same documentation required by newly married people, only you will have to pay a renewal application fee. Make sure that you mail your passport documentation using traceable services.

Absence of Marriage Certificate

There are some instances in which the person might not be able to provide the original marriage certificate. In this case, you need to complete Form DS-11 – which is also required if your passport expired more than 5 years ago. In the application package, you will have to include the form (completed), proof of being a citizen in the U.S., a valid I.D with your new married name and a photocopy, a passport photograph, along with a first-time application fee.

You may be required to bring in further documentation if your current paperwork was issued recently. Bear in mind that, in this case, you might not be able to mail the documents – you need to be there in person.

Passport Name Change Checklist

If you are planning to travel under your new name, there are certain steps that you are required to go through. Here is a checklist that you need to remember before changing your passport.

Review Your Travel Calendar

Do you have any trips booked for the future that still have your maiden name on them? Well, in this case, you might want to postpone changing your passport name until you return. Most airports won’t even let you board the plane if the name on the ticket does not match the name on the passport.

Gather the Paperwork

Depending on your passport and how long it has been since you updated it, you need to gather a couple of documents – the most important being a valid passport and proof of your marriage.

Fill the Application

Once more, depending on your status, you will need to determine whether you need to fill out a passport form DS-82, DS-5540, or DS-11. The forms are not complicated, but if you have questions, you might want to take a look at the instructions page.

Get a Recent Passport Photo

Your passport photo not only needs to be in color and follow the requirements, but it must also look like it’s certainly you in the picture. Plus, since scratches, rips and other defects will get the picture rejected, you need to get a new one.

Decide If Expedited Services Are Needed

How soon do you need your new passport? If you must update your passport ASAP, then you might want to go for expedited services.

Find Out the Fee

Depending on your status, you may or may not have to pay a fee. In general, you will only pay if it hasn’t been a year since your last passport update – that is, if you aren’t opting for expedited services. You should make a payable check to the U.S. Department of State.

Submit the Application

With everything gathered, you may renew your passport in person or by mail. Bear in mind that you may only use the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Otherwise, your mail will be returned without being processed.

Read More

Final Thoughts

Changing your passport may take a few steps, along with a bit of waiting time until you get the new one. However, when you get your paperwork in order, it should make your travel plans much easier.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist