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Marriage, Passports, and Honeymoons: Changing Your Name Made Easy

You’ve tirelessly prepped and planned and have finally said “I do!” Now you can’t wait to take off on your honeymoon. But if you and your partner are traveling internationally, you need to make sure that your passport and travel documents reflect your current legal name.

If you or your partner have chosen to take the other’s name, you need to make sure that your proof of identity documents are ready for your special trip abroad

Changing the name on a passport takes time as well as other considerations such as forms and fees. In this guide, we’ll walk you through your options on how and when to change the name on your passport after marriage

Understanding the Need for a Passport Name Change

It’s important to have a passport and travel documents under your current legal name. Having all forms of ID and travel documents with the same name will avoid potential complications or delays and ensure a smooth, enjoyable honeymoon.

If your passport doesn’t match your other forms of identification, it could potentially lead to complications, especially when traveling internationally. Here are some possible issues that could arise:

  • Lack of Uniformity: If there’s a mismatch between the names on your passport and other identification documents like your driver’s license, it could lead to confusion at security checkpoints such as TSA and customs.
  • Booking Travel: Some nations mandate that the name on your passport should be identical to the name on your airline ticket or any other documents they might ask for. Discrepancies in these names could cause travel difficulties or delays.
  • Legal Obligations: If your passport name doesn’t match your current legal name, you may need to carry supplementary documents, such as a marriage certificate, to prove your identity.

An up-to-date passport ensures that you maintain your identity while traveling abroad. Your passport serves as your global identification. If there’s a change in your name, it’s crucial to update your passport accordingly so that your true identity isn’t challenged by authorities while traveling in a foreign country.

Options for Passport Name Change After Marriage

When planning your honeymoon, you need to decide ahead of time when you’ll change your name on your passport. There are two options available to you: 

Option 1: Traveling With Your Maiden Name And Changing It After Your Honeymoon

Choosing to change your name after your honeymoon can be a simpler option, although you will still need to go through the process of changing your name on your passport when you return home. Choosing this option can be beneficial for several reasons.

Pros:

  • Simplicity: By choosing to travel with your maiden name and changing it after your honeymoon, you can sidestep the administrative tasks and time investment that comes with a passport name change before your honeymoon. This means less paperwork to fill out and fewer procedures to follow, allowing you to focus on planning and enjoying your honeymoon.
  • Uniformity: If you decide to travel with your maiden name, your passport will already match your other identification documents and travel bookings. This uniformity can help avoid confusion or issues at checkpoints like TSA and customs, as well as with airlines and hotels.
  • Time: If your wedding and honeymoon are close together, you might need more time to process a passport name change before your trip abroad. The name change process can be lengthy, involving obtaining a marriage certificate, filling out forms, and waiting for processing and issuance of a new passport. Traveling with your maiden name allows you to bypass this potential time crunch.

*Check our guide, How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport for the most up-to-date passport processing times.

Cons:

  • Additional Documentation: If you have booked your honeymoon plans using your maiden name for some things and your married name for others, you’ll have to carry additional documentation, such as your marriage certificate, to prove both of your names. This could prove to be confusing during your travels and cause you to spend more time explaining and proving who you are than necessary.
     
  • Post-Honeymoon Work: You’ll still need to go through the process of changing your name on your passport after your honeymoon.
    • The fee to renew a passport by mail using Form DS-82 is currently $110 for a passport book only 
    • If your name change request is made within 1 year of your current passport’s issuance, you do not have to pay the $110 fee
    • You can request a passport card at the same time for an additional $30
    • Expedited service fee is $60

If you choose to travel on your honeymoon using your maiden name and change your name on your passport when you return, follow our Complete Passport Name Change Guide: Step-By-Step and we’ll walk you through every step of the process.

Option 2: Changing Your Name On Your Passport Before Your Honeymoon

You can have your name changed on your passport before your honeymoon, but it will take careful planning, realistic expectations, and a clear understanding of your travel timeframe. Opting for this choice can offer several advantages.

Pros:

  • Updated Passport: Your passport will display your new married name. This can be an exciting change, symbolizing the start of a new chapter in your life. But it can also help you avoid potential delays or hiccups having to prove your identity and relationship to your partner to travel authorities.
  • Easier Travel: You won’t have to carry extra documents like your marriage certificate for identity verification, which can make your travel experience smoother and more convenient.
  • Reduced Hassle: If you’re a frequent traveler, updating your passport with your new name as soon as possible can help you avoid future inconveniences and potential difficulties, as your identification will already be up-to-date and ready for travel.

Cons:

  • Time for Processing: Changing your name on your passport isn’t an instant process. 

    First, you’ll need to have your marriage certificate to apply for a passport in your married name. Most county clerk offices typically take about 2 weeks to issue your marriage certificate.

    Then, you’ll need to apply for a new passport, which can take several weeks depending on the service you choose, so you’ll need to plan this well ahead of your honeymoon.
  • Routine service by mail: 6 to 8 weeks*
  • Expedited service by mail: 2 to 3 weeks*
  • Professional Expedited service at Regional Passport Agency (*Must have international travel within 14 calendar days, appointment required): 10 days to 24 hours

*Check our guide, How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport for the most up-to-date passport processing times.

  • Paperwork and Potential Costs: The name change process involves filling out forms and potentially paying fees, which are factors to consider when deciding when to update your passport.
    • The fee to renew a passport by mail using Form DS-82 is currently $110 for a passport book only 
    • If your name change request is made within 1 year of your current passport’s issuance, you do not have to pay the $110 fee
    • You can request a passport card at the same time for an additional $30
    • Expedited service fee is $60

No matter which option you choose, the name on your travel reservations must match the name on your passport to prevent any travel complications. In the end, the decision is a personal one, influenced by your individual situation and preferences.

Planning Your Honeymoon with Name Change Considerations

If you’re currently considering whether to change your passport name after marriage, remember that sticking to one legal name—be it your maiden or married name—can simplify your travels by reducing the number of identification documents you need to carry.

If you’ve begun booking your honeymoon accommodations under your married name, but plan to change your passport name after the honeymoon, be ready for potential mix-ups. Ensure you have additional documentation on hand to verify your identity while honeymooning abroad.

If you’ve booked your honeymoon accommodations under your married name and now wish all your bookings were under one legal name, don’t worry! It might still be possible to change your name on your passport in time for your honeymoon.

A professional passport expediting service can help you get your updated passport as fast as 24 hours! Check out our directory of expedited passport services for important information about registered couriers. If you’re short on time, this is always the best option.

Make the Right Choice for Your Passport Name After Marriage

For smooth international honeymoon travel, your passport must reflect your current legal name. As we’ve discussed, you have two options:

  1. Travel with your maiden name and change it post-honeymoon. This simplifies tasks and lets you enjoy your special trip without immediate name change pressures. But, you’ll need to carry extra documentation and address the passport name change later.
  1. Change your name on the passport pre-honeymoon. This ensures a seamless travel experience with an updated passport but requires careful planning and time management due to processing times and paperwork.

Regardless of your choice, consistency between your passport and travel reservations is key to avoiding needless complications and hassle when you should be enjoying your honeymoon.

Ultimately, the best decision is the one that suits your personal preference and circumstances. We hope our guide assists in navigating the passport name change process after your marriage, whether you opt to change your name on your passport now or later.

FAQs: Common Concerns and Questions about Honeymoon Passport Issues

Q: Do I need to get a new passport if my name has changed due to marriage?

A: U.S. citizens must travel with a passport reflecting their current legal name. If you’ve changed your name due to marriage, apply for a passport name change before traveling.

If your passport was issued within the last year, the process is free. If it’s older, you’ll need to apply for a renewal and pay the required fee.

For detailed requirements, refer to our complete guide to U.S. Passport Renewals.


Q: What is the fee to change your name on your passport?

A: Renewing your passport by mail with Form DS-82 currently costs $110 for the book alone, with an extra $30 for an optional passport card. If you’re in a hurry, an expedited service is available for $60, cutting the processing time to 2-3 weeks. For even quicker service, consider visiting a regional agency or using a professional passport expediting service.


Q: If I mail in my original marriage license to get the name on my passport changed, will I get the marriage license back?

A: Your original marriage license will be returned after processing. However, there have been rare instances of documents getting lost. Here are some tips:

  • Use a traceable delivery method for mailing your passport name change application and personal documents.
  • To safeguard your documents from damage during transit, consider using a durable envelope, like those made by Tyvek.
  • For quicker return of your passport and marriage license, opt for a two-way overnight delivery method.
  • If you’re hesitant to send the original marriage license, request an official copy from the state’s vital records office where you got married.

Q: How long will it take to get my name changed passport?

A: The time it takes to process an application for a passport name change depends on the method you use to get it done. Following is a list of options with the current processing times.

If you need a name change urgently, our expert recommendation is to enlist the help of a registered passport expediting service.

*Check our guide, How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport for the most up-to-date passport processing times.


Q: Can I drive to an agency and have my name changed on my passport?

A: Standard passport processing can take 6-8 weeks. If you need your passport sooner for a trip, consider expediting the name change process. This service, available via mail or at a Regional Passport Agency, costs an additional $60 per passport.

Note that regional agencies only accept applications if your trip is less than two weeks away. Expedited services by mail typically take 2-3 weeks.


Q: I need to change the name on my passport. Do I need to obtain an addendum sheet?

A: Since September 26, 2005, Passport Services has ceased amending valid passports and instead issued replacements. This change, implemented by the Department of State, enhances the security of the travel document, ensuring the printed data aligns with the information on the RFID chip. The specific form, required documents, and process cost depend on your passport’s issuance date.

For guidance on the appropriate method to change your passport name, refer to our complete, step-by-step Passport Name Change Guide.


Q: Is a name change in a passport after marriage required or suggested?

A: In brief, it depends. Some countries accept your pre-marriage name on your passport if you present a marriage certificate. Others insist on a match between your passport and other documents like plane tickets or driver’s license.

Maintaining your maiden name on your passport involves contacting the consular sections of your destination countries and possibly carrying your marriage certificate during travel.

To avoid this, consider changing your passport name. If your passport is less than a year old, this service is free (unless expedited). For older passports, a renewal is required. For more information, refer to the Passport Name Change Guidelines.


Q: Can I change my full name on my US passport from outside the US?

A: Yes. You can request a passport name change at the U.S. Consulate in your current country.

Instead of amending existing passports, a new one is issued.

If you’re applying within a year of your passport’s issuance, submit a U.S. Passport Re-Application Form (DS 5504) along with your current passport, original marriage certificate, and new passport photos. This routine processing is free of charge.

For passports issued over a year ago, follow the standard passport renewal process, which does involve fees.


Q: How do I make sure I get my old passport and marriage license back?

A: While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent the loss of your old passport and marriage certificate, certain measures can minimize this risk.

Using a two-way overnight delivery reduces transit time for your documents, though it’s costlier than slower methods. The key is to use a traceable delivery method that can deliver to a P.O. Box, like the U.S. Postal Service. Secure packaging, such as a Tyvek envelope, is also recommended.

To avoid sending your old passport and original marriage certificate, you could apply for a new passport instead of a renewal. This doesn’t require sending your old passport but involves an in-person visit to an application acceptance facility. There are also additional fees; currently, these involve an additional $25 execution fee, and the standard $110 application fee.

For name change evidence, you can apply for a certified copy of your marriage license from the state where you were married. This incurs a fee and requires waiting for the certificate before applying for a passport.

By using secure packaging and a traceable delivery method, you increase the likelihood of your documents being returned. Despite millions of Americans applying each year, document loss is rare. These precautions help further reduce this risk.


Q: Does your passport number change when you change names?

A: When you apply for a name change, U.S. passports aren’t amended but replaced with a new one bearing a different number.

You can opt to apply for the name change after your initial European trip. Just ensure your airline ticket is booked under your maiden name.

Keep in mind that you’ll need your original marriage certificate for the name change application. As some states may take up to 8 weeks to process these documents, consider opting for express service if available.

For further details on the process, refer to the guide on How to Change Your Name on Your Passport.


Q: Can I continue to use my passport in my maiden name?

A: For the smoothest travel experience, it’s best to use a passport with your current legal name.

When you receive your new passport, your old one will be invalidated and returned. Some countries may allow entry with a valid passport and a visa with an invalidated passport. However, most require a visa transfer to the new passport or a new visa altogether. It’s advisable to check with the respective embassy or consulate for each country where you hold valid visas.


Q: Can I travel with my passport even though it has my maiden name?

A: The TSA Secure Flight Program advises that your travel booking name should match your government ID. Minor differences like a middle initial instead of a full middle name are typically not an issue, but a different last name could cause problems.

The U.S. Department of State Passport Services mandates that all citizens must travel under their current, legal names.

To prevent any travel hiccups, it’s recommended to change your name before your trip. You can do this by submitting an application at the nearest regional passport agency or using an expediting service.

If you can’t schedule an appointment before your flight, consider visiting the regional agency without one. The necessary forms and documents for a name change depend on when your passport was last issued. For more details, refer to the Passport Name Change Information section.


Q: Will my maiden name appear as my middle name on my new passport?

A: You do not need to apply in person. You can only apply in person at a regional passport center if you can present evidence of plans to travel within 2 weeks.

The name on your passport will be the one you provide on the renewal form, supported by an official document like a marriage certificate. Remember, the passport will bear your legal name, as Passport Services doesn’t decide on the name.

If your marriage certificate reflects your new name as FirstName MaidenName Partner’sLastName, that’s what will appear on your passport. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a court-ordered legal name change to have this name on your passport.


Q: Is it possible to do a second name change on the same passport?

A: If your passport was issued over a year ago, you’ll need to use Form DS-82: Passport by Mail for a name change.

You’ll need to submit the completed form, your current passport, a recent passport photo, and an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or a government-issued document showing your legal name change.

Once processed, you’ll receive a new passport with your updated name.


Q: My driver’s license has my married name but my passport still has my maiden name. If I have a certified copy of my marriage certificate, will I be allowed to travel like this?

A: Your passport should ideally bear your current, legal name. Using a passport with your maiden name and a marriage certificate should be fine for land or sea travel. For cruises, verify with the cruise line.

The TSA’s Secure Flight Program requires your ticket name to match your passport name. This could be an issue for air travel, so consult your airline.

For a name change, the process varies based on when your passport was issued:

  • If it’s been a year or less, submit Form DS-5504 with proof of the name change. This service is free.
  • If it’s been more than a year, submit Form DS-82 with your recent passport, one passport photo, and proof of the name change. The current fee is $110.

Regular processing takes 6-8 weeks. Expedited service, costing $60, can get it done in 2-3 weeks. For changes needed in less than two weeks, visit a regional passport agency or use an expedited passport courier service.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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