If you’re changing names after marriage it is recommended but not compulsory to have a new US passport issued in your new married name. The timing of your new passport, booking tickets and boarding flights is absolutely critical. If you are planning to travel abroad within a few months of your name change then plan out your timeline so you don’t run into problems and potentially invalidate flight by having tickets in a name that does not match your passport.
Bookings or travel within 4 months of the wedding
Planning a honeymoon or overseas trip soon after getting married can get complicated. If you’re changing names after getting married you may want to use your new married name straight away, but may not have time to get your passport updated. You can’t board an international flight unless the name in your passport is an exact match to the name on your tickets.
Do you already have tickets booked? Then make sure your passport is in the same name as your tickets. You may need to delay applying for a passport in your new name until you have finished travelling. If you already have tickets in your new name and your passport does not match, you have 2 options:
- Check the US passport website for current processing times, then at least double it. If you feel confident you can file a new application quickly, then apply for a passport in your new name. The passports office can make mistakes! Allow enough time for a correction in the rare case it may be needed. If you are pressed for time you may need to pay for priority processing.
- Call the airline and ask about their policy for reissuing tickets in your current name. Depending on your fare rules and the airline policy it may not be allowed, or you could be charged excessive fees.
No booked travel, but about to make a new booking? It can be disapointing to use a passport in your pre-married name when you are ready to change names, but it’s not worth the risk of rushing your application or making mistakes. If your existing passport will be valid for the trip, it is best to use this passport and get tickets in that same name. Delay your name change until you return from abroad.
TIP 1 If you want to make a booking but still have plenty of time to get your passport changed, still check the airline policy for name changes and plan your passport application timeline so you are not caught out! Airlines are more lenient when changing a ticket from your pre-married name to your married name when you show your marriage certificate. However you are unlikely to get tickets changed from your married name to your pre-married name as you have never held a passport in that name before.
TIP 2 If you plan on using a credit card when travelling abroad, it’s best the name on this card matches the passport you will use. If not, you could try showing your marriage certificate to link the names, but it’s the company’s call if they will accept it.
Which passport form should I use?
If your passport is less than a year old and your name change is also within the past 12 months then you’re in luck – replacements are free. If your wedding or passport is more than 12 months old then you’ll be hit with fees for a new 10 year passport. While it is not essential to update the name in your passport after marriage, be aware you may run into problems if you have updated all other records but continue traveling on a passport in your former name, as it could be difficult to prove your identity, so read our tips below first.
If you were recently both married and issued with a US passport, apply for a name change within 12 months of the issue date for a free replacement. Use form DS-5504, which we can provide as part of our personalized service. Passport fees only apply for expedited service requests. Apply by mail. Return your current passport with your original marriage certificate and other documents as listed on the form. Save the most time with our service – we step you through completing your passport application and provide step by step filing information. You’ll also get the forms for your state DMV, SSA, banks, credit cards, utilities and over 1,000 different organizations. No wasted time on hold!
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PASSPORTS LESS THAN 12 MONTHS OLD FORM
If your most recent passport has been issued within the last 15 years you’ll need to apply for a new passport and pay full renewal fees: $130 for a book, $30 for a card. Complete form DS-82 and file by mail. Click the button below to start personalizing your passport name change form. We provide all the forms you need to change names with all the necessary organizations, including SSA, DMV, passport and over one thousand other organizations.
You don’t need to change names in your passport
If you’re taking your spouse’s surname after marriage you are not legally required to update your passport. It is perfectly legal to travel on a passport issued in your prior name, even if you have changed names in most other places. You must always book international flights on the name that currently appears in your passport. If you are abroad using a passport in your former name, but you have credit cards and your drivers license in your married name you may have a difficult time proving your identity. It is therefore recommended you consider updating your passport before booking flights so that you can use your married name, or else travel with your marriage certificate in case you need to prove you are one and the same person.
There is no credit given for the time remaining in your passport. You may therefore choose to want to wait until you are planning on using your passport again in the future. Just allow enough time for your passport to be reissued before booking flights.
Need to change names with other companies?
If you’ve recently married chances are you need to update anywhere from 10 to 40 or so different organizations. Our personalized name change notification kits provide comprehensive filing instructions for all your companies! Choose who you need to notify from our easy-to-navigate database of over one thousand organizations. We’ll tell you exactly what each company needs, saving you hours on hold! If you to send in any letters, emails or forms we create them in your name. Just attach your marriage certificate and send!