US Passport Name Changes After Marriage

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Dilemma keeping Your Maiden Name on a Passport

The traditional expectation of adopting your spouse's last name after marriage is increasingly being reconsidered, with many choosing to retain their maiden names. This decision can stem from various factors such as professional identification, personal preference, or simply cherishing a lifelong identification.

If you decide to retain your maiden name on your passport post-wedding, it's perfectly legal and acceptable. Your decision to keep your maiden name doesn't invalidate your marital status in any manner. It simply allows you to retain an integral part of your identity.

Is It Possible to Travel Using My Unchanged Passport with My Maiden Name?

Indeed, it is permissible to continue your travels using your maiden name. It's important to remember, though, that consistency across your travel documents is paramount. The name on your airline tickets should align with the name displayed on your passport. If your passport retains your maiden name, make certain that your tickets are reserved under this identical name to avoid unforeseen complications or misunderstandings during your trip.

Nonetheless, it might be wise to have a duplicate of your marriage certificate at hand, particularly if other ID documents showcase your newly adopted marital name. This can aid in ironing out any inconsistencies or possible confusion that could surface throughout your journey.

Change of name after marriage in American passport
Change of name after marriage in American passport

Other Considerations

While maintaining your maiden name on your passport is perfectly fine, it may occasionally present challenges, particularly if your other identification documents bear your married name. For instance, credit cards or loyalty program memberships in your new name may not match your passport, potentially leading to complications during your travels.

To avoid such administrative hassles, it is often easier to have a uniform name across all legal and personal documents. Therefore, if you decide to retain your maiden name on your passport, it might be wise to maintain the same on all other legal papers.

Why Change Your Last Name on Your Passport After Marriage?

Preserving your maiden name is a completely valid choice, however, numerous individuals opt to alter their last name on their passport post-marriage due to various considerations. A prominent reason is the benefit of uniformity across all legal paperwork. This consistency can avert potential confusions and streamline the management of administrative tasks.

Furthermore, if there are imminent plans to expand your family, maintaining the same surname across all family passports eases the coordination of travel plans and interactions with travel service providers and immigration officials. Having a common family surname can contribute to a more seamless and stress-free experience.

The Legal Process

There are legal procedures to follow if you decide to change your name on your passport after marriage. The primary requirement is to provide a document evidencing your name change, which is typically your marriage certificate. Once you have this document, you can apply for a new passport.

How to apply for a change of surname after marriage
How to apply for a change of surname after marriage

A Step-by-Step Guide to Renewing Your Passport with Your Married Name

To facilitate a name change on your passport, you need to provide several documents, including:

  • Your current passport
  • A color passport photo
  • Your marriage certificate, proving the change of name

Having these documents prepared in advance can greatly expedite the process and ensure a smooth transition.

Procedure for the Renewal Process

Modifying your surname on your passport post-wedding encompasses several key procedures:

Step 1: Assemble Your Documents — This includes your existing passport, a fresh passport photo, and an original or authenticated copy of your marriage certificate.

Step 2: Fill Out the DS-82 Form — this form, known as the "U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals", can be filled out digitally or printed and manually completed.

Step 3: Cover the Renewal Charges — please confirm the current prices on the U.S. Department of State’s webpage.

Step 4: Dispatch Your Application — After completing all the requirements, send your application package, including your present passport, name change document (original or authenticated copy), and new passport photo to the address indicated on the DS-82 form.

Step 5: Obtain Your Updated Passport — Following verification, your new passport, now showcasing your married surname, will arrive via mail.

To wrap up, although the adjustment of your surname on your passport post-wedding may seem complex at first, it becomes less daunting when armed with precise information and a procedural guideline.


Embarking on the journey of changing your last name on your passport after marriage can seem like a daunting task. However, with a solid understanding of the process and this step-by-step guide, it becomes a much more manageable feat. Whether you opt to retain your maiden name or adopt your spouse's last name, understanding the process involved allows you to better navigate these changes. Always remember to plan ahead and allow ample time for these changes to be processed before planning any international travels.


Can I continue to travel under my maiden name even after marriage?

Absolutely! However, ensure that the name on your travel tickets matches the name on your passport to avoid any issues.

What documents are required for changing my name on the passport after marriage?

You will need your current passport, a new passport photo, and your marriage certificate.

How long does it usually take to change my name on the passport?

Typically, the standard service might take about 10-12 weeks. However, you can expedite the process to 4-6 weeks for an extra fee. Always check the U.S. Department of State's website for current processing times.

Is it mandatory to change my name on the passport after marriage?

No, it is not. It is a personal choice. If you wish to keep your maiden name, you can certainly do so.

Will retaining my maiden name on my passport create issues during international travel?

Not usually, but it's essential to make sure all your travel bookings match the name on your passport. Also, consider carrying a copy of your marriage certificate if your other identification documents use your marital name.

Authored by: John Bates (Travel/Visa expert)