Here is everything you’ll need to know about government requirements for passport name changes.
La, di, da, you got hitched, and you want to use your fancy new legal name on your passport! Cool. Unfortunately, though, it’s not as easy as choosing colors for the big day, although the United States government makes the process relatively simple.
The same is true if your passport name is mistaken because of a government error, and instead of “Jason Bourne” your passport comes back with “Jayson Born.” (How embarrassing!)
Either way, this is the State Department website you want to visit. If the government made the error, the replacement passport is on Uncle Sam himself (although you still have to send them form DS-5504, a color passport photo, and evidence of their error.)
If your name has legally changed through marriage, and you happened to snag a new passport less than a year ago, that was some smart advance planning, because your replacement passport is free (aside from those visits to Kinkos). If it’s more than a year old but less than 15 years old, you’ll still able to replace your passport—but you’ll have to pay the applicable fees (probably about $110 if you just need a passport book sent to you via regular mail; more if you need expedited service). The government even has a handy-dandy fee calculator so you know what you’re getting into! You shouldn’t have to visit a passport office.
Related: What is a Passport Card?
However! If you lost your passport or it got otherwise mangled (skydiving, perhaps, or on safari?), can’t provide the proper marriage paperwork (damn, you, Vegas!), can’t locate your most recent passport, or any other stipulation on form DS-82, not to worry: form DS-11 is right up your alley (although it will entail waiting in line at an actual passport office or acceptance facility). Definitely triple-check that you have all the identification paperwork you need before leaving home, and bring a color photo of yourself taken within the last six months.
And were you a mere babe on your last trip abroad? Fifteen in Paris? How fabulous! But sadly, you’ll have to trek to the passport office, too: Anyone who snagged her last passport under the age of 16 has to fill out DS-11 and apply in person, so bring a croissant to eat while you wait. Same goes for anyone whose last trip was 15 years ago; DS-11 is for you. At least you can think about how grand your long-awaited trip will be…while you wait some more.