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Need A Name Change Or Correction On Your American Passport? Let’s Get Cracking

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Name Change Or Correction On Your American Passport

It sounds like a task, but trust us, if you have the right information in possession, name change and corrections on your passport are not tough to achieve. Reasons for a name change can be endless, most common ones vary from marriage to divorce or as simple as you being unhappy with your current name. Irrespective of the reason, it is imperative one travels with an up to date passport. Ensuring travel arrangements are then booked with the exact name and details as per your passport is another crucial guide to enjoy a hassle free travel experience..

Today, let’s try getting into the nitty-gritty of the name change process for an American passport. In order to follow the best steps to speed up your process, below are some important questions to help you assess your situation.

How long will it take to change your name?

It generally takes 6 to 8 weeks to get your passport back with the required name change. However, if you are in a hurry to travel you may opt for other available options.

The process of name change includes filling application forms, gathering all the required documents and getting them delivered to the state government agency for correction.

  1. The normal more than 8 weeks processing time frame is applicable for people who choose to mail their filled application form and all other documentation through standard postal services.
  2. You may get your passport back after the name change within 8 weeks by expediting the process. This is done when you request for the expedited process on mail or by visiting the passport center or agency yourself. You will not be required to provide any reason for this for this fast tracking.
  3. In order to expedite the process (2 to 3 weeks) in case you have some urgent travel requirement you may need to lighten your wallet a little by paying a fee of $60 to set the pace rolling. This will get your passport back to you in half the time, generally 2 to 3 weeks. Bear in mind that you would need to make an appointment (at least 8 days after filing the application) to visit the passport center and bring the proof of travel along with you. You can go to the actual appointment within 4 weeks if you need to apply for a visa or only 2 weeks in case of visa free international travel.
  1. In matters concerning life and death emergency should you require a change of name on the passport, you will have to visit the state passport center yourself to deliver the application forms and all other documents in person. This will get your passport back to in generally in 3 working days (72 hours). For more information on this process, please check the Life or Death Emergencies page of the USA state government.

Please refer to the Passport Agencies page to find out your nearest state passport center or agency and contact information to book appointments.

Once you have decided on what suits you best, it’s essential you streamline the supporting documents required for the said changes. Your checklist will be heavily dependent on your situation and urgency of the required changes.

How to apply for a name change via mail

If you are not in a hurry to get the name changed, it is ideal to apply with a regular process which does not require any additional fees.

However, a few mandatory guidelines need to be observed, for example:

  1. It is mandatory to submit your original passport along with your application.
  2. The passport should not be damaged, normal wear and tear is acceptable.
  3. The existing passport was issued when you were at least of the age of 16 years or older.
  4. The existing passport was issued within the last 15 years.
  5. The existing passport was issued with your current name or you can document your name change.

Note: The above conditions are applicable to normal passport renewal as well. Also, if you are living in Canada, you are eligible to avail this facility and save a visit to the US embassy or consulate. Americans residing in all other countries must visit the US embassy or consulate for passport renewal and name change.

Name change for passport less than one year old

If you are requesting a name change on your passport that was issued less than a year ago, there is good news for you, this will be free of charge, unless you opt for an expedited process.

All you have to do is to gather the necessary documents listed below and mail it to the U.S department of state.

  1. Form DS-5504
  2. Your existing latest passport
  3. One color passport photo meeting passport picture requirements.
  4. The original name change documents (this will be returned to you after verification) or the certified copy of the same, such as, divorce decree, a court order or a marriage certificate.

If your passport was issued over a year ago

You will be eligible to submit your application with form DS-82 if you meet all the conditions explained above (Refer: How to apply for a name change via mail) along with all the documents stated below and by paying the applicable fee.

  1. Form DS-82
  2. All other documents listed in the previous section.

In case you do qualify for form DS-82, you should apply in person and use form DS-11 by paying the applicable fee.

Bring the following documentation with you.

  1. Form DS-11
  2. Evidence of your U.S. Citizenship and photocopy of the same
  3. One color passport photo
  4. The original name change documents (this will be returned to you after verification) or the certified copy of the same, such as, divorce decree, a court order or a marriage certificate.

Note: Name change certificate can be substituted with a proof of identification issued In the new name. This is only applicable in the cases where the name is changed due to marriage. Details of marriage must be mentioned on form DS-11 in the appropriate section.

If you are not in possession of proof of name change
You can certainly get your name changed if you do not have any documentation to prove your new name, given you are already using the new name and can fulfill the following documentation and conditions.

  1. Form DS-11
  2. Evidence of your U.S. Citizenship
  3. A valid identity proof that is issued in your current name and photocopy of the same
  4. One color passport photo
  5. Pay applicable fees
  6. Form DS-60, this is an affidavit regarding and name change. This form must be signed and completed by 2 people who have known you with both old and new names
  7. Three certified copies or originals of public records you have used your new name in last 5 years or more.

Important Reference Links

Please check this link for photo specifications: Passport Photo

Please click Passport Fees for details related to fees

Please click this link to find out the acceptance facility with your zip code: Acceptance Facility

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