If you’ve had your name changed because of a court order or if you’re a woman who has recently been married, then you will need to have a passport name change. What is a passport name change? This is basically just a procedure you need to go through to have the name in your passport changed from your former to your new one. You have several options of going about this, which will depend on the date when your passport was issued, and the presence of legal documents that prove your name change. We’ll talk about them more in this article.
Before anything else, you need to check when your passport was issued. The reason for this is that people whose passports we issued within one year follow a different procedure from those whose passports are more than a year old. To check when your passport was issued, all you need to do is look for it in your passport which is indicated along with your personal information.
If your U.S. passport was issued within one year, then you will be required to submit the following documents: your current and valid passport, two recent color passport photos, and the legal document that shows your change of name. This will either be your marriage contract or a court order. What you will submit naturally depends on what’s applicable to you. Along with these requirements, you’ll also need to accomplish Form DS-5504. This is the form you fill in when applying for a passport name change.
Keep in mind that there are no fees to have your passport processed if it is less than a year old. However, there will be applicable fees should you decide to have the process expedited. Expediting your passport application can cut your waiting time from four to six weeks in routine processing to just two to three weeks. So if you need to have your passport sooner than later, then have your passport name change expedited.
Now let’s talk about the other option you have. If your passport was issued more than a year ago, here are the things you need to submit: your current and valid passport, two recent color passport photos, the legal document that shows your change of name (again, your marriage contract or a court order). You will notice that these are basically the same documents required in the first option.
The only difference in this option is that you’ll fill in a different form, DS-82. This form allows you to apply for a passport name change through the mail. Aside from that, there’s a corresponding fee for this type of application.
You have an alternative option just in case you don’t have the legal documents required in the previous two options. Once again, you’ll need to submit your current and valid passport, two passport photos, the completed DS-11 form, plus the applicable fees. Since you don’t have the legal documents needed to prove your name change, you will then be required to submit three public records with your place of birth. These records should indicate the exclusive use of your new name for at least five years. Once you have completed these requirements, you’ll then need to submit them in person.
When applying for a USA passport name change, the ones we discussed above are the options available to you. Just make sure you are aware of the considerations you need such as the date when your pass port was issued, and the legal documents that show your name has changed. Once you have determined them, you’ll then know what kind of option you have to choose.