How to Change the Name on a Passport After Divorce

by John Cromwell

    Often, when a couple gets married, one spouse takes the other spouse's last name or adds her spouse's last name to her maiden name by hyphenating the two last names. When the couple divorces, she may want to reclaim her former last name. If so, she must change the name on all legal documents that prove her identity, such as her driver's license and passport. Before actually changing the name on her passport, she must first have changed her name legally.

    Mailing an Application for a Passport Issued Less Than One Year Ago

    Step 1

    Obtain a certified copy of the order changing your name. Generally, a person will have her name changed during the divorce process. If you had your name changed through a divorce or Final Decree of Name Change, you can obtain a certified copy of that order from the clerk of the court that signed the order.

    Step 2

    Go to the website of the U.S. Department of State. Click on the “Passports” option near the top of the page. Go to the forms option on the left-hand side of the page and select DS-5504.

    Step 3

    Complete and print Form DS-5504. You can complete the application online and print out the completed form, or you can print out a blank form and complete the document by hand. Sign and date Form DS-5504.

    Step 4

    Take a new passport photo. The passport photo should be no older than six months, and its dimensions should be 2 by 2 inches, in color and on photo-quality paper. The photo should be sized so the dimensions of your head are between 1 inch to 1 and 3/8-inches in size, with you standing in front of a white backdrop. You must have a neutral expression on your face and both eyes must be open.

    Step 5

    Place the completed form, certified copy of the order, your current passport and a new passport photo into an envelope to send to the U.S. State Department.

    Step 6

    Mail the envelope to the National Passport Processing Center. If you want routine service, send the envelope to P.O. Box 90107, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107. You should receive your new passport in four to six weeks. If you want to receive your passport in two to three weeks, you will need to expedite the application. Send the envelope, along with a $60 processing fee via check payable to the “Department of State,” to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90907, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0907. If you are expediting the application, clearly write EXPEDITE on the face of the envelope.

    Mailing an Application for a Passport Issued More Than One Year Ago

    Step 1

    Obtain a certified copy of the order changing your name.

    Step 2

    Go to the U.S. Department of State Website. Click on the “Passports” option near the top of the page. Go to the forms option on the left-hand side of page and select DS-82.

    Step 3

    Complete and print Form DS-82. You can complete the application online and print the completed form, or you can print a blank form and complete the document by hand. Sign and date the form.

    Step 4

    Take a new passport photo.

    Step 5

    Place the completed form, certified copy of the order, your current passport and a new passport photo into an envelope to send to the U.S. State Department. You will also need to include a check made out to the “Department of State” for renewal fees. Check the Department of State Website for the current fees.

    Step 6

    Mail the envelope to the National Passport Processing Center. If you want routine service, send the envelope to P.O. Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155. You should receive your new passport in four to six weeks. If you want to receive your passport in two to three weeks, you will need to expedite the application. Send the envelope, along with a $60 processing fee, to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955. If you are expediting the application, clearly write EXPEDITE on the face of the envelope.

    Applying in Person Or Without An Order Showing Your Changed Name

    Step 1

    Complete Form DS-11. This document can be downloaded from the website of the U.S. State Department.

    Step 2

    Obtain a certified copy of the order changing your name.

    Step 3

    Take a new passport photo.

    Step 4

    Find the closest Passport Acceptance Facility or Agency. These locations can be found using the State Department website.

    Step 5

    Deliver the completed Form DS-11, certified copy of the name change order, your current passport and recent passport photo to the acceptance facility. You will be required to pay application fees, so bring a check with you. They do not accept cash.

    Tips & Warnings

    • If you need help legally changing your name, consider using an online legal document service.

    About the Author

    John Cromwell specializes in financial, legal and small business issues. Cromwell holds a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting, as well as a Juris Doctor. He is currently a co-founder of two businesses.