How to Change your Name on Your Passport
If you have changed your name due to marriage, divorce, or a legal court order, you will need to make sure that your current and valid name is on your US passport. If you try to travel with an outdated passport that does not have your current name on it, you could run into problems at the border. Luckily, if you need to change your name, passport regulations make it quite easy.
How you need to change your name on your passport will depend largely on when your passport was issued. If your passport was issued less than a year ago, you will need to file Form DS-5504 (Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement). You can file this form by mail, including your current US passport and a certified copy or original document proving your name change. This document will generally be a marriage certificate or legal document. In some cases, the Form DS-5504 instructions will also require you to send a color photo. Unless you need expedited service to get your passport faster, you will generally not need to pay a fee when filing Form DS-5504 this way. However, if you are sending original documents, it is best to spend a little more for a traceable form of mail (such as courier).
If your passport was issued more than a year ago, your requirements will be different. You will need to file for a new passport by filing Form DS-82 (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail) with your current passport, all renewal fees, a recent photo, and documentation of your name change.
If you are under the age of 16 or don’t have any documentation proving your name change, you will need to apply for your new passport at a passport office or other acceptable facility. You will need to bring a completed Form DS-11 (Application for a U.S. Passport), your current passport, any fees you need to pay, and a recent photo. You will also need to bring at least three public records to prove your identity and name. These need to show your place of birth and your date of birth and should show that you have been using your current name for a minimum of five years. In general, you will need to bring more evidence than you think you need.
In most cases, changing the name on your US passport is very simple. You can, in most cases, request a new passport with your current name via mail. Just make sure that you use the right form for your specific situation and that you fill out the form accurately and fully. Failure to do so can cause problems and delays.