How to Travel With a Passport in Your Maiden Name

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A passport can be re-issued in a maiden name.
A passport can be re-issued in a maiden name. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A passport issued by the U.S. Department of State enables you to travel abroad as an American citizen. It is possible to use your maiden name on your passport if that is your legal name. If the status of your marriage changes because of divorce or death, the State Department can issue you a new passport in your maiden name. Before you can apply, however, your name must have been legally changed through the courts.

Things You'll Need

  • valid U.S. passport
  • legal documents
  • passport application form
  • passport photo
  • renewal fee (if applicable)

Go to the U.S. Department of State website to obtain the correct application form. It can be printed and completed by hand or completed online and then printed. You can also obtain a form and submit a completed application at a regional passport agency. You can find a list on the State Department website.

Complete U. S. Department of State form DS-5504 (Application for U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction and Limited Passport Book Replacement) if you have had your passport for one year or less. If the passport is more than a year old, complete form DS-82 (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail). Be sure to sign and date the application or it will be rejected.

Obtain your original marriage certificate or a certified copy. An original divorce decree or certified copy is also required. If you do not have a divorce decree, a legal court order granting a request for a name change can be used.

Have a new color passport photo taken if the current photo is more than 90 days old. You will need one photo whether you use form DS-5504 or form DS-82.

Mail your current passport with the application form, documentation and one color passport photo to the address listed on the application form. If you are submitting form DS-82, you must include a renewal fee.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a copy of your application and documentation. The State Department recommends that you mail the application and documents in secure packaging. It also advises using a shipping method that can be traced and enables you to confirm that the package has been received.
  • Allow 4-6 weeks to receive a new passport.

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