Do I Need to Get a New Passport After a Name Change?
Published January 20, 2023
A passport is a document that attests to your identity to ensure you are indeed who you say you are.
You’d assume that changing your name in any way will invalidate your passport, and as such, you need to get a new one. But interestingly enough, while it does make sense, it’s not always the case.
There are instances where you don’t actually need to get a new passport.
It generally depends on how your name changed and the country; depending on those, the answer to the question, “Do I need to get a new passport after a name change?” may vary.
So, to start with, let’s go over the entry requirements according to the country.
Entry Requirements in Different Countries
There are only two answers to the question, “Do I need to get a new passport after a name change?”
YES or NO.
In the US, the answer is NO, you don’t need to get a new passport after a name change.
According to the US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP), bringing proof of your name change is enough. That includes your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or any court documents.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with other countries.
If you’re boarding a plane in the Netherlands, for instance, and you want to go back to the US, your passport needs to reflect your current name. The problem is the process of getting a new passport from the US Embassy in these countries may differ according to how you changed your name.
With that in mind, let’s look at the different ways to change your name.
Different Ways to Change Your Name
There are generally five ways to change your name.
Let’s look at each one, starting with the most common method:
- Legal Name Change: A person can change their name through a legal act called “legal name change,” wherein they can change their name. Nothing more, nothing less.
This process usually takes longer and is more difficult than the other four methods.
- Marriage: Most people would choose to change their last name to their spouse’s after their marriage. They need only to show the marriage certificate to the appropriate agencies.
Unlike a legal name change, you can change only your last name through this method.
- Divorce: If an individual goes through a divorce, then they can change their last name back to their original last name. A divorce decree is enough to have the name change approved.
Like with marriage, you can change only your last name through this method.
- Adoption: When you get adopted, either as an adult or a minor, your adoptive parents can opt to change your first name. Your last name, however, would automatically be changed, though the parents choose to keep your last name unchanged.
- Naturalization: If you succeeded in becoming a US citizen through the naturalization process can change your name. The new name would appear in the Certificate of Naturalization.
Keep in mind that this only applies to those who succeeded with naturalization.
Depending on where you belong in these five circumstances, the answer to your question may vary. So, now that we’ve covered this topic let’s discuss what you need to do to get a new passport.
How to Get a New Passport After a Name Change
The process can be more demanding depending on how you changed your name. But let’s start by going over the steps that everyone, regardless of how they changed their name, should follow:
- Fill in Form DS-5504 if you got your previous passport less than a year ago.
Otherwise, fill in Form DS-82 instead.
- Prepare your most recent US passport.
- Prepare the documentation that proves your name change. These documents can be a:
- marriage certificate,
- divorce decree, or
- court order.
- Prepare one color passport-suitable photo.
- Make sure you have the appropriate fees.
- Submit all the documentation by mail via DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other companies.
You must follow these steps if you change your name through marriage, divorce, or a legal name change. You can very easily do so because you should have all the necessary requirements, including the documentation for step #3. Unfortunately, that’s not the case if you were adopted.
Adoption doesn’t automatically provide you with a court order, and it most certainly won’t yield a marriage certificate or divorce decree. However, you can get a court order by yourself.
You or your parents need only to apply to a court and get a court order from them. You may have to provide your new birth certificate that came from your adoption records to earn the court’s approval.
Put simply, if you were adopted, you would have to take an extra step. If that sounds like a hassle, you should at least be able to speed up the process if you opt to order birth certificate online.
Lastly, if you changed your name through naturalization, then you don’t have to get a new passport since you probably don’t have one yet. For that, you need to get your very first passport.
The Bottom Line
No one wants to drive all the way to the airport only to find out their passport is ineligible because of a name change. But then again, getting a new passport can be a hassle, and it’s not like all airports would not accept an outdated passport. So, should you get a new passport or not? Hopefully, this guide has answered that question clearly, and more.
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About The Author
Lenard Arceo is an experienced blogger and writer who enjoys learning to code in his spare time. His commitment to delivering factual content is what has helped him create hundred of helpful articles that have reached millions of people.