How to change your name on an American Passport – from Canada?

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If you’ve changed your name, you’re going to need to update your U.S. Passport asap. There are several paths to do this, depending on the circumstances leading to your name change. Let’s go through them and outline the steps you need to take to update your name change in each case.

Tip: Here is the U.S. Passport homepage

 

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Pick one of three options below, that best describes your situation:

Option 1: It’s been less than 1 year since your most recent passport was issued, and you have legal documents recording your name change.

To be eligible for this option which involves completing and sending in form DS-5504, one of the following must be true:

  • Your name was changed LESS than 1 year after your most recent passport was issued AND your most recent passport was issued LESS than 1 year ago as well. OR …
  • Your identifying information in your most recent passport has a mistake. OR …
  • Your most recent U.S. passport is limited to 2 years or less for reasons other than multiple losses or serious damage.

Here’s what you need to send:

  • Form DS-5504 completed and signed
  • Your original (most recent) passport
  • Your original or certified copy of your name change document (marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)
  • 1 color passport photo
  • IF using expedited service, then include a personal check or money order for US$ 60.

You do NOT have to pay a fee for a name change, unless you want to use Expedited Service to mail your application, in which case you have to pay the standard US$ 60 fee for expedite service. Use a personal check or money order in US$ drawn on a U.S. financial institution. Make the check/money order payable to: “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE”

Filling in form DS-5504

The first pages of the form are identical (aside from DS-5504’s mauve shading compared to DS-82’s limpid blue color) to form DS-82. So just remember that we go through the DS-82 in our tutorial on renewing your U.S. passport by mail from Canada. What’s different with DS-5504 is:

  1. You have two options when signing the form at the bottom of page 1:

If you’re 16 or older, sign on the top line. If you’re under 16, then have your father/mother/parent/legal guardian sign on the bottom line. ONLY sign one of the lines, depending on your personal circumstances. Remember to date the form as well. DON’T fill in the last section on page 1 below the signature and date lines. That’s for official use.

  1. The other difference with form DS-5504 is that there’s an additional section to fill out at the end:

The first part applies to Name Changes with supporting documents. Fill in this part as you’re changing your name and you have supporting documents in this scenario.

Mail the application by Canada Post only – DO NOT use a courier service – to one of the following addresses depending on if you’re using routine or expedited service:

PLEASE NOTE: The two addresses are almost identical except for the final 3 digits in both the PO Box number and the ZIP code. Take 15 seconds to check them and get them right and avoid unnecessary delays. You CANNOT use 1-2 day delivery outside the U.S.

Option 2: It’s been more than 1 year since your most recent passport was issued AND you have name change documents AND you’re eligible to use form DS-82.

Remember from our tutorial on renewing your U.S. passport, the following must be true to be eligible to use form DS-82 (in other words, to renew your passport by mail from Canada or from inside the U.S.):

  • You have your most recent US passport and it’s neither damaged, nor lost or stolen.
  • When your most recent US passport was issued you were at least 16 years old AND it was issued within the last 15 years.
  • Your most recent US passport was issued under the same name, OR if there was a name change (which is the case here) then you have legal documents verifying the name change (marriage certificates, divorce decrees, or other court orders).

In this case, send the following:

  • Form DS-82 completed, dated and signed – use your NEW name when filling it out,
  • Original or certified copy of your name change document,
  • 1 color passport photo, and
  • Your fees in the forms of a personal check or money order drawn on a US Financial institution. As you’re using form DS-82 your fees are the same as for a passport renewal:

Use the same mailing addresses as in a U.S. Passport renewal application:

PLEASE NOTE: the 1-2 day express service is NOT available for Canadian residents.

PLEASE NOTE:    The addresses for Routine and Expedited Services are almost identical save for the last 3 digits in the PO Box numbers and the ZIP codes. Make sure you have the right address.

Option 3: It’s been more than 1 year since your most recent passport was issued AND you have name change documents BUT you are NOT eligible to use form DS-82

There are several reasons why you might not be eligible for form DS-82:

  • Your most recent US passport was issued when you were younger than 16.
  • Your most recent US passport has been damaged, lost, or stolen.
  • Your most recent US passport was issued more than 15 years ago.

In this case, you’ll have to apply using form DS-11 which means that if you’re outside of the US, you’ll have to go in person to your nearest US consulate or embassy with the required documents and completed (BUT NOT SIGNED) form DS-11.  You’ll need to bring the following:

  • Form DS-11 completed but NOT SIGNED
  • Your original evidence of U.S. citizenship or a certified copy + a photocopy of that evidence. Remember even if it’s a certified copy, bring a photocopy of the certified copy. Examples include:
    • US Birth Certificate that includes:
      • Issued by city, county, or state
      • Your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
      • Date filed with Registrar’s office within 1 year of birth date
      • Registrar’s signature & seal of issuing authority
    • Undamaged, valid US Passport (may be expired)
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Original or certified copy of name change document – marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order. Do NOT provide photocopies nor notarized copies.
    • If you have a new piece of ID with your new name as a result of marriage, then use that ID as your name change document (marriage only).
  • Valid piece of ID + a photocopy of that ID
    • Current or previous US passport
    • Driver’s license (but NOT a temporary learner’s permit)
    • Military ID or City, State, Federal government employee ID
    • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Your Fees depend on your age as shown in this chart:

Check your local consulate/embassy’s website for information on how to pay your fees: Click here for full list

Filling in Form DS-11

As with DS-82 there are 4 pages of instructions and 2 pages of the actual form. Print the actual form on 2 separate pages and fill it in, BUT DO NOT SIGN AND DATE IT UNTIL/UNLESS ASKED TO DO SO AT THE CONSULATE OR EMBASSY.

Page 1 of DS-11 asks for exactly the same information as page 1 of form DS-82, but at the bottom of page 1 in DS-11, you’ll see the following:

The only thing you fill in here is your signature. BUT ONCE AGAIN: WAIT UNTIL TOLD TO SIGN AT THE BOTTOM RHS OF PAGE 1 OF DS-11.

Page 2 of DS-11 is a little different. You have to answer questions on:

  • Your parent’s personal information – names; place & date of birth; whether U.S. citizens or not
  • Your marriage history – if have any
  • Whether you’ve ever previously applied for or been issued a US Passport
  • Your permanent address and contact information as well as an emergency contact
  • Your occupation
  • Your travel plans – if you don’t have any, write “none”

TIP: Remember to use a black pen to fill in the form. DO NOT CORRECT MISTAKES. PRINT OUT A NEW FORM DS-11 AND START ALL OVER AGAIN.

IV You’re already using a new name but CANNOT provide a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order

Submit the following in person at your nearest consulate/embassy:

  • Form DS-11 completed but NOT SIGNED
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship as in III just above
  • Valid ID in your new name + photocopy of that ID
    • You must submit 3 or more original or certified copies of public documents that show you using your new name for at least 5 years. This could include the following:
      • Tax records; Medical records; Employment records; Military records; Driver’s License; State-issued ID
    • If you can’t submit at least 3 of these then you’ll have to submit form DS-60 Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name
  • 1 color passport photo
  • Your fees which as you’re using DS-11 will be the same as in III above
  • As mentioned above, you may have to also submit form DS-60Affidavit Regarding a Change of Name

As we’ve just covered DS-11 as well as the other requirements above, we’ll just outline how to fill in form DS-60.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT:

  • The Applicant is the person applying for the passport.
  • The Affiant is the person who knows you and is aware of and understands your name change. They swear an oath that your new name is accurate and truthful when they sign DS-60.
  • The Passport Agent, Passport Acceptance Agent, or Notary is the official in whose presence the Affiant must sign DS-60.

Form DS-60

There are 2 pages – page 1 contains instructions and definitions. Page 2 is the actual form which will be filled out by the Affiant in the presence of an agent or notary as explained above. Let’s look at some of the instructions and definitions on page 1 of DS-60:

What all this fine print does is offer a couple of options:

  • If you have either a marriage certificate or court order that documents your name change then you DON’T need to submit DS-60.
  • If you DON’T have a marriage certificate or court order BUT you DO have 3 public documents in your new name and that have been valid for at least 5 years, then you DON’T need to submit form DS-60.
  • If you have NEITHER a marriage certificate/court order NOR 3 public documents in your new name, THEN you DO have to submit DS-60 which means you need an Affiant to swear to your name change.
    • As noted above, it’s best to have a blood relative act as your Affiant, as they should know you well and be able to answer questions regarding your name change.

Now let’s look at page 2, the actual part of the form that the Affiant fills out and swears to:

Most of the questions are straightforward. Don’t put the Affiant’s information here. Put the Applicant’s information. In question 7 the Affiant should briefly note their relationship to the Applicant. In question 8 the Affiant needs to answer details about the Applicant and their relationship with the Applicant. Finally, the Affiant fills in some further details:

The Affiant has to:

  • Print and sign their name
  • Print their Social Security Number
  • Print their address
  • Tick which identifying document (ID) they presented (along with a photocopy of both sides) as well as fill in the details of the ID (ID number; place & date of issue; expiry date)

The Passport Agent/Passport Acceptance Agent/Notary has to:

  • Print the date
  • Give their name
  • Print the location
  • Place their seal if they are a Notary

Have someone from our team call you back and answer all your questions.

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