The State Department has some great tools for changing your name on your U.S. Passport at their website. For your passport name change, if you are not using our online name change tool, we recommend simply following these steps:
- Choose the correct passport name change form. There are three described below–choose one and complete it.
- Choose the situation that describes you and click on the link. Then, click the disclaimer checkbox, and press “Submit”. You will be asked a series of questions to ensure you are using the correct form, then fill out the information requested and you’ll have your completed form.
- Get your picture.
- There are a few fairly cheap options. If you are confident, try using one of these free Apps (try Passport Photo Booth and let us know in the comments if you’ve used any other better ones)
1. Choosing the right Passport Name Change Forms
Most Common: Name Change on Passport over a year old
If you have had your valid passport for over one year, and it was issued when you were 16 or older use the DS-82 Form.
Name Change on Passport you got LESS than one year ago
If your valid passport was issued within the past year use the DS-5504 Form.
No Passport or Other Issues? Use this form.
If you do not have a valid passport; your passport was lost, stolen or damaged; it has expired; or you don’t have proof of legal name change, use the DS-11 Form, which needs to be submitted in person.
2. Get your Passport Photos
There are a number of rules to getting an acceptable photo. Here’s the simplest way to proceed:
- Use your smart phone or another digital camera.
- Try to use bright, natural day light or good lighting from your home. It can’t change the coloration of the photo.
- Use a white, or cream-colored background.
- Now take the photo. You should have a “neutral facial expression or natural smile with both eyes open.”
- Remove glasses, hats or headphones.
- Note that you may wear head coverings for religious purposes with a signed statement.
Please visit this State.Gov Passport Photo Requirements website for all details.
Prepare the photo using the State Departments Cropping Tool
- If you have access to a desktop or laptop, we recommend sending the original version of the photo so that you can download it to your computer.
- You may be able to use the attached tool on your phone, but we found it easier to use on our laptop.
- Make sure the version of the photo is high-quality.
- Now open this State.Gov Passport Photo Cropping tool.
- Basically, you will upload your photo and make sure it abides by all of the guidelines listed above.
- Print the photo and request two color printed copies on “matte or glossy photo quality paper.”
- It usually costs approximately $1.00 to have them printed at the drug store (many provide this service now days, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, etc.), or if you have a high quality printer, you could print them yourself.
3. File your Passport Form
You can either mail or drop your application off in person.
In either case, gather your completed form along with:
- Your legal proof of name change documents (certified or original);
- Old passport (if applicable);
- The 2″ by 2″ Passport Photo; and
- The Fee (it ranges, see the Passport Fees here) make your check out to the “U.S. Department of State.”
Mail it to:
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155
For In Person, take the above documents to your local Passport Agency/Office. Locate the Local Passport Agency/Office nearest you.
How long will my new passport take?
In sum, approximately 6-8 weeks for the standard processing time. As such, if that’s cutting it too close for you, you can get it in 2-3 weeks if you pay an expedited fee of $60. It’s a pretty simple process, you basically just write “EXPEDITE” outside the envelope and include the additional fee. Check out the Expedite Services here. There are numerous additional options that you can request for additional fees, all through the U.S. Department of State’s–Passport in a Hurry Services.
Planning on using one of those Extra Quick Services… Be careful! They basically just do the same thing the U.S. Department of State does and charge you an extra fee.