Passport Name Change

Changing your name on your passport is a necessary step if you have changed your name any time recently. If you plan to go abroad, it is very important to remember the fact that if you have had a name change in the recent past, but your passport still uses the old name; you could very possibly run into some serious trouble.

Also, it is very important to ensure that you do this in a timely manner in case you must leave the country for a family emergency, or a business trip. If left unchanged from the prior name, it may be close to impossible to reach the destination that you need to get to.

There are three different scenarios that you may have come into that would be cause for a need to change your name on your passport.

The first scenario is if you received your passport less than a year ago and since then you have had your name changed legally due to a court order or you got married. If this is the case, then you should mail in your current valid US Passport, the (DS-5504) form, which is the actual application for any sort of changes to a passport whether it be a name change or some form of data correction or a limited passport book used for replacement. You will also need the original or certified copy of your marriage license or certificate or the government issued document that shows evidence of any court order with a legal name change under either state or federal law. It may be required that you submit one recent color photo.

The great thing about a simple name change within the last year is that is free of charge unless you require the expedited service. Please use a traceable form of mailing and use a mailing packaging that is of suitable size and provides adequate protection for the documents inside.

When it comes to the photo requirements, they must be printed on photo quality paper and be 2 x 2 inches, or 51mm x 51mm in size. It must have been taken in the last 6 months taken in plain view without any sort of obscurities that would prevent your identification. You should wear your normal daily clothes along with any needed hearing aids, glasses etc. Hats are not permissible unless it is for religious purposes. Regardless though, the entire face must be visible and there may be no shadows casted on top of your face, for whatever reason.

The second scenario is if your passport was issued more than 1 year ago and since then you have had your name changed legally due to a court order or you got married. If this is the case, then you must mail in your current valid US Passport, the completed form (DS-82 as opposed to DS-5504) which is the actual application for a passport. You should NOT use DS-5504. You will still need the original or certified copy of your marriage license or certificate or the government issued document that shows evidence of any court order with a legal name change under either state or federal law. It may be required that you submit one recent color photo if you need to update the photo on file.

You are for the most part applying for a brand new passport. Due to the fact that you are filling out for DS-82, you must be pay the renewal fee involved with getting a new passport which is $140 for the passport and card, $110 for just the passport book, and $30 for just the passport card. Again, please ensure that you use a traceable form of delivery.

Passport Fees

You want to travel abroad. Maybe your company is sending you to close out a deal overseas; maybe you want to do some sightseeing on a personal vacation; or perhaps you want to take the family on a little adventure to Canada to see the unspoiled wildlife, or drive down to Mexico to escape the winter cold.

Whatever your reasons for traveling internationally, you’ve probably started doing a little research on obtaining you U.S. Passport. You’ve looked at what requirements you need to meet, what information you need, and where in your area you can go to apply for a passport. You know what you need to do to go in, fill out your U.S. Passport application, and present the necessary paperwork so you can get out without so much as a mild headache.

What many people don’t know is how much it actually costs to get a U.S. Passport.

When it comes to a standard U.S. Passport (the DS-11 version), the price will depend on which “package” you are getting. If you do not currently have a passport, or are aplying for the very first time, you have a few options.

 Adults Getting A Passport For The First Time

The typical U.S. Passport Book – the one you usually see people presenting at airports to get stamped – are $110 with a first-time processing fee of $25. There is also the option of getting a U.S. Passport Card, which is $30 with a $25 processing fee. The most popular option (in order to have identification backup in case you lose one or the other) is to get both the U.S. Passport Book, as well as the card. This will cost $140 with a one-time processing fee of $25. Most people will tell you that the last option just makes more sense, because you will have two forms of identification while traveling.

 Renewing A Passport

 If you are renewing your U.S. Passport, you won’t have to present as much paperwork (usually, mailing in your old passport with the renewal request will suffice), and you won’t have to pay as much as first-time applicants. To renew your U.S. Passport Book, it costs $110. For the Card, $30. For both the U.S. Passport Book and Card, it will cost $140. The processing fee that applies to first-time applicants is waived in this case.

Children/People Under 16 Years Of Age

 Not everyone who travels is an adult. Students taking trips abroad, and children going on family vacations or visition people internationally also need passports.

For a person 16 years old and younger, the fees for getting a U.S. Passport are slightly less than listed above, but they come with the same options. For someone in this age group, a U.S. Passport Book will cost $80 plus a one-time processing fee of $25. For the card by itself, the cost is $15 plus the $25 fee for processing. As with the listing for adults, there is an option (again, this is the one that’s recommended) for both the U.S. Passport Book and the Card. This will run for $95 plus the $25 processing fee. These charges and fees also apply to minors who are renewing their U.S. Passports.

 Optional Passport Services

 In addition to getting a U.S. Passport, there are other services you can get, and which have very nominal fees attached to them.

Overnight Delivery – This makes certain that once your application has been processed and your U.S. Passport is ready to be shipped, it will be overnighted to your address. The cost for this service is $12.72.

Expedited Service  - A typical U.S. Passport application takes roughly 6-8 weeks to process, once the application leaves your hands. Getting expedited or “rushed” serivce will cut down this waiting time to 2-3 weeks, and is well worth the $60 fee to get your travel plans arranged.

File Search – This is a rarely used service, but if you need to verify a previous U.S. Passport or consular birth in another country, a written request will get you the information you seek. This service costs $150 per request, and will be waived in the case of your U.S. Passport getting lost or stolen.

Adding Pages – If you are a globe-hopping, jetsetting traveler, you might find the pages of your U.S. Passport filling up with stamps from various countries. If you anticipate this happening to you, you can have additional pages included in your passport for $82.

Name Changes/Informational Errors

 You may find that throughout your globetrotting days that your name may legally change due to divorce or marriage, or perhaps getting a degree that adds some extra letters onto your name. Also, it should be noted that even the U.S. Bureau of Cunsular Affairs is not infallible. Sometimes clerical errors do occur when printing one’s name, address, or date of birth on a passport. If any of the situations in this section should occur, you can have your U.S. Passport information updated, free of charge.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what it costs to get a U.S. Passport, you should have no problem planning for your next big trip abroad!