Does a Marriage Certificate Qualify as a Name Change for Passport Requirements?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Does a Marriage Certificate Qualify as a Name Change for Passport Requirements?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

If you get married and change your last name to that of your spouse, there are lots of organizations and businesses you need to notify. High on the list of documents you need to update is your passport, which you must do within a year of marriage. Outside of that time frame, you need a court order to make the change.

Young couple looking over documents on couch

The procedure you need to follow to change your name depends on how long ago your passport was issued. In both instances, you can use your marriage certificate as proof of the change.

Passport Issued Less Than One Year Ago

If your passport was issued less than a year ago, you must send the following to the passport processing center:

  • Application for a U.S. Passport: Corrections, Name Change within 1 Year of Passport Issuance, and Limited Passport Holders (Form DS-5504)
  • Your current passport
  • Your original marriage certificate, or a certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • A color passport photo

You can complete Form DS-5504 online or you can print a PDF. To complete the form:

  1. Read the instructions on pages 1-4.
  2. On page 5, check which document you are applying for.
  3. Fill in your name, date of birth, sex, place of birth, Social Security number, email, phone, mailing address, and all other names (including your maiden name) you have used.
  4. Staple your passport photo on the box as indicated.
  5. Fill in section 10 with information from your current passport: name, passport number, and issue date.
  6. Sign your name in the box at the bottom of the page and include the date.
  7. On the next page, fill in your name, date of birth, height, hair and eye color, occupation, employer or school, permanent address, emergency contact, and any travel plans you have.
  8. Answer the questions about your current passport. Check "Yes" in the first box if you changed your name less than one year after your current passport was issued. Fill in your current name.
  9. In the box asking if the information on your current passport or passbook was inaccurate, check "No."
  10. In the third box, check "No" if your current passport was not limited for two years or less. Otherwise, check "Yes" and provide the documentation required.
  11. Mail the form and other documentation listed above to the address on the form. It's a good idea to use a trackable mail service, such as priority.

Passport Issued More Than One Year Ago

If your passport was issued more than a year ago then you must submit the following:

  • U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals (Form DS-82)
  • Your current passport
  • Your original marriage certificate or a certified copy
  • A color passport photo
  • The required fee

You can complete Form DS-82 online or you can print it. Fill it out as follows:

  1. Read the instructions on pages 1-4.
  2. Check the document you are applying for.
  3. Fill in your name, date of birth, sex, place of birth, Social Security number, email, phone, mailing address, and all other names (including your maiden name) you have used.
  4. Staple your passport photo on the box as indicated.
  5. Fill in section 10 with information from your current passport: name, passport number, and issue date.
  6. For section 11, check the box for "Changed by Marriage" and list your place and date of marriage.
  7. Sign your name in the box at the bottom of the page and include the date.
  8. On the next page, fill in your name, date of birth, height, hair and eye color, occupation, employer or school, permanent address, emergency contact, and any travel plans you have.
  9. Mail the form and other documentation listed above to the address on the form. It's a good idea to use a trackable mail service, such as priority.

Your new passport will be sent via mail. Note that you can't book any overseas travel until you receive as your passport number is usually required by the airline for booking.

If you need help changing your name, you might want to consider using an online legal services provider so that you have peace of mind it is done correctly.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.