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Can I change my passport name back to my legal name if I don't have picture i.d. that has that given name?

by Trudy
(San Marcos, Ca. USA)

Question: I had my passport issued in the short version of my given, legal name. The name is also in my driver's license, so they would match. However, my Social Security card has my "legal" name on it. I lived in Montana for 6 years & have just returned to California to live. I went to get a new California driver's license & they would not issue it because my Social Security "legal" name is different from that on my passport & driver's license.


Because of the new security issues I was told all three docs now must match. I called Passport Services and they will not change my name on my passport as I don't have a government-issued photo ID. That is because they are in my short name. Won't my birth certificate work as proof of my "legal" first name? I am very confused as to what to do next.

Answer: I find it odd that you were unable to obtain a California driver's license. According to the California DMV, a person who becomes a California resident must get a California driver license within 10 days. Applicants of an original driver's license are required to submit the following documents:

* Completed application form DL 44
* Social security number.
* Verify your birth date and legal presence.
* Provide your true full name

A birth certificate may be used for the last two on the list. Since the name on your Social Security card and birth certificate match, I don't understand why they were not accepted.

Concerning the change of the name in your passport, there should be no problem with presenting an ID that has the short version of your name as long as the agent can make a logical connection between the two names.

The Department of State regulation states that "The name on the application need not be exactly the same as the signature on the application and the name shown on the identifying document(s)."

It goes on to say that "there must be a link between the citizenship evidence, identifying documents, proof of name change (if provided), previous passport or Passport Information and Electronic Records (PIERS), the applicant’s signature, and the name requested on the application." (7 FAM 1311 APPENDIX C DETERMINING THE BEST NAME TO WRITE IN THE PASSPORT, p.3)

Furthermore, the document gives the example of an applicant named Louise Mary Martin who may submit citizenship evidence and identification documents that have any of the following names on them.

(1) Louise M. Martin;
(2) L. Mary Martin;
(3) L.M. Martin;
(4) Mary Martin;
(5) Louise Martin;
(6) Mary L. Martin; and
(7) Lou Martin.

As you can see, it is not necessary for the name on your ID to exactly match the name you request on your passport application.

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