In a Google Consumer survey conducted by the New York Times, over 70% of women in the United States reported to have taken their husband’s name after marriage. That is a pretty hefty portion of the population.
In this article, we will answer the question of whether or not you can use a passport with your maiden name on it if you have gotten married and have adopted a new name. The post will also address the issues of traveling with a passport issued in your old name. Finally, it will walk you through what steps to take to revert to your maiden name on your passport.
Passport has your maiden name: what you should know
It’s not illegal for your official documents, such as your passport, to bear your old name – whether maiden or whatever legal name you used pre marriage. Neither are you obligated to get a new passport if your name has changed.
In fact, you can continue to use your old passport as a form of identification until it expires. However, there are a couple of things to remember and we will go over them in the following paragraphs.
Can I use my passport with my maiden name?
Now getting back to the question, Can I use my passport with my maiden name? As we have already mentioned, you are free to continue using your passport in your maiden name to identify yourself, that is, until the passport expires. After that, you will have to apply for a passport renewal in your current legal name (you won’t be able to renew your passport in your maiden name).
Also, going by the official U.S. government guidelines, U.S. citizens who have undergone a legal name change should be ready to provide proof of their name progression if necessary. In the case of a married name vs. maiden name, this could be an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or court order.
This may come in handy especially in situations when all or some of your other documents (such as your driver’s license) are already issued in your new last name.
Using a passport with your maiden name after marriage
Individuals who got married and took their partner’s last name can either wait for their current passport to expire or apply for a new one if the travel document is nearing its expiration date. However, using a passport in your maiden name for travel, and more specifically for international travel, comes with one condition. We will address this topic in the paragraph below.
Can I travel with my maiden name on my passport?
When traveling internationally, the most important thing is for the name on your passport to match the name on your airline ticket. Passport holders booking a plane ticket must make sure that they include the exact same name on their reservation as listed in their passport. This includes any second or third name and middle name.
While the TSA or airline will not ask you for additional documents such as your marriage license, birth certificate, or social security card, it’s always recommended to have the above-mentioned name progression documents with you at all times in order to avoid any potential issues in any situation, not just at the airport.
It’s important to note that the name on the passport and another official document such as a driver’s license or social security card do not need to match if you plan to travel internationally. Those forms of ID are not suitable for international travel and will never be required in such situations.
To travel internationally, married people can still continue to use their passports with their old name as long as they’re valid for a minimum of 6 (six) months from the return date listed on their airline ticket.
Lastly, before making travel plans for an international trip, make sure your husband knows that you haven’t changed the name on your passport. If he decides to book a getaway for you both, he may make reservations for you under your new name.
I want my maiden name to be on my passport again
The most common reason for reverting to one’s maiden name is divorce or separation from their spouse. In such a case, a divorce decree or court order is sufficient to support a passport name change. The applicant could apply for a passport using Form DS-82 or DS-5504.
However, there are cases in which some women who aren’t considering a divorce and are happily married decide to reclaim their maiden name and thus, have their old name back on their passport.
Such a situation may be tricky, because it must be done through the court and it largely depends on the state of residence of the person wishing to apply for a name change. Once your state’s supreme court rules your name change legal, you will receive an official document which could be used for a passport renewal (Form DS-82).
In a case where the applicant is unable to provide an official name change document, they will have to apply for a new passport using Form DS-11 and provide the following:
- Social Security number;
- proof of U.S. citizenship;
- One color 2×2 inch passport photo;
- original documentation to support the name change such a deed poll or any other document proving that you have used your old name before (old documents issued in that name);
- passport application fee ($130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, or $160 for both).
All of the above documents will have to be submitted in person, at a passport acceptance facility.
If you’re unsure which way of applying is the best one for you, please call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
New passport – new photo with PhotoAiD®
Whether it’s a passport renewal or an entirely new passport application, you will need to submit one 2×2 inch passport photo in color. With online passport photo tools like Photo AiD®, the process of obtaining a suitable and compliant passport picture will be a breath of fresh air.
The service is available as an app for both iOS and Android and equipped with a sensitive AI system that acts as a smart scanner for each photo.
You either upload an already existing picture or take a new using the app, and the rest will be taken care of for you:
- The image will be cropped to the correct dimensions;
- The background will be replaced with a plain white one
- Any unwanted objects that may be in the photo will be removed;
- Red-eye, if any, will be removed;
- The photo will be verified by our in-house photo experts to ensure 100% compliance with all U.S. government guidelines.
PhotoAiD® has been trusted by over a million users worldwide and is appreciated for its convenience, 24/7 availability, and the unlimited number of photos users are able to snap before making their final selection (free of charge). Passport applicants don’t need to leave their home, as their passport photos will be sent to them – either in digital or printed form.
And in the unlikely event one of our pictures does not get accepted by passport authorities, we’ll make it right or refund 200% of the purchase cost.
We have dedicated this section to frequently asked questions regarding using a passport in your maiden name.
Can you use a passport with a maiden name?
Yes, you can. You can continue to identify yourself with your old passport until it expires, however, in some cases you may have to provide name progression documents (such as an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate).
Can I have my maiden name on my passport and married name on the ticket?
No. If you are traveling internationally, you must use your passport as your travel document and both the passport and your airline ticket must bear the same name. Otherwise, you may be denied boarding.
What if I got married and my passport has my maiden name?
It’s not a problem if your passport has your maiden name in it. You can apply for a new passport or wait for the current one to expire. However, keep in mind that if you plan international travel, the name on your passport must match the name on your plane ticket and any reservations you may have.
How long can I use my passport in my maiden name?
You can continue using your maiden name passport until it expires. If you plan to take an international trip, your passport must have at least 6 (six) months of validity. This rule may be different in other countries.
How to use a passport with a maiden name?
You can use your passport with your maiden name to identify yourself and even to travel. It is recommended by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that you always bring your name progression documents with you (something that legally documents your name change) to avoid any confusion. While the TSA won’t ask you to present any additional documents such as your marriage certificate, it’s good to have them just in case. Also, when traveling internationally, make sure that the name on your airline tickets and that on your passport match.
Passport with a maiden name on it: wrap up
It’s entirely legal for women to use their passports with their old name on them until they naturally expire. The most important thing to remember is to book international trips under one name – if your U.S. passport bears your previous name, so should your airline tickets and hotel reservations. Also, have a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you if you’re planning to use your maiden name passport, just in case.
Eventually, you will have to apply for a new passport with your new name on it. To get U.S. government-compliant passport photos conveniently from home, visit PhotoAiD® and have prints shipped straight to your door or digital copies sent to your email.
Magda is an art & travel expert who is passionate about all things late-Victorian, history, languages, casa museos, Spain, and food illustration. She also loves reading, creative writing, and hanging out with her three cats.