This is a privately owned website and not a government agency. Click to learn more.

How do I get a pasport if the name on my birth certificate is different than my current name?

by Tom
(Green River, Wyo USA)

Question: I am trying to plan a trip to Ukraine for the first week of December. I need to get my passport to go. I do not have my birth certificate and am currently on the process of obtaining it. The trouble is that the last name on it is different from my current name. When I was 7 years old, my mother left me with my stepfather. My name at that time was different and he just had me start using his last name. He is dead now. There is no documentation of a name change. My social is in my current name. Also, my drivers license is expired because I need a birth certificate to change it. I moved from California to Wyoming. This is honestly a true story and I am not a crook. :) You look like you know what you are doing, can you tell me how hard it would be to get me a passport? I just decided to go on this trip; not just waiting until the last minute. I am just now applying for a new one.


Answer: You must apply for a passport in your legal name. There are a couple of options. The first, and probably most effective, is to apply for a court order name change. The Wyoming Code of Civil Procedure states,

Every person desiring to change his name may petition the district court of the county of the petitioner's residence for the desired change. The petition shall be verified by affidavit setting forth the petitioner's full name, the name desired, a concise statement of the reason for the desired change, the place of his birth, his place of residence and the length of time he has been an actual bona fide resident of the county in which the petition is filed. If the court is satisfied that the desired change is proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person, it shall order the change to be made, and record the proceedings in the records of the court. Change of Name: Title 1, Chapter 25


However, one of the requirements is that you be a bona fide resident of the county in which you are making the petition for a period of at least two (2) years. Since you mentioned the fact that you moved from California to Wyoming, you may not meet this requierment.

The second option, which is much more difficult due to the increase in identity theft and terrorism, is to request the name change based on use. Basically, you must prove exclusive use of the name for a period of at least five (5) years. If you choose this method, you should submit as many documents as possible which prove the exclusive use of the name. The State Department only requires 3 public records but it is difficult to say whether or not they will accept the ones you send and not request more. To avoid this, I recommend you send more.

Early public records should show your name, date of birth, place of birth, and preferably be created within the first five years of your life. Examples of early public records are:

* Baptismal certificate
* Hospital birth certificate
* Census record
* Early school record
* Family bible record
* Doctor's record of post-natal care

Visit the web page below and click the links for U.S. citizenship and identification documents to get more information.

New Passport Requirements

Comments for How do I get a pasport if the name on my birth certificate is different than my current name?

Click here to add your own comments

maiden name on ssn. married on dl
by: Anonymous

Question: I got married almost 7 years ago. Never changed my ssn. My drivers licence says married name and birth certificate is maiden name. What do I need to do to get a passport?

Answer: You will not need to provide proof of the name change if your name has changed due to a marriage and you have already been issued an ID in your new name. You must include the details of the marriage in the applicable section on Form DS-11. You do not need to present your SS card. You only need to provide the number. For a complete list of requirements, click here.

I am going by a different name than the name on naturalized citizenship
by: Anonymous

Question: I am a naturalized US citizen and the name that appears on the citizenship certificate is different than the name I've been using since entering US in 1982. Only difference in the names are that I have my first and middle name switched. My SSCard and driver's license has the name I'm currently using. I have not petitioned to change my name through the court. I am applying for a passport and I want my current name to be on the passport. To my understanding I can use 3 documents in lieu of court order name change to use my current name to apply for a passport. Only documents I have that has my birth date and place of birth is my marriage certificate and my children's birth certificate. All the documents are over 5 years. Would these documents be sufficient and will these documents be returned to me? I only have one certified copies of each.

Answer: Only the Passport Agent who processes your passport application can determine if the documents are sufficient evidence of your name change.

We recommend you send more, if possible. The documentary evidence, which must show the acquired name and one other piece of identifying data, (such as date of birth, place of birth, age, or Social Security number), may include but are not limited to:

(1) Driver’s licenses or non-driver State-issued I.D.;
(2) Military records;
(3) Employment records;
(4) Tax records;
(5) School records;
(6) Census record;
(7) Hospital birth record; and
(8) Baptismal certificate.

If more documents are required, you will be notified by mail.

The documents will be returned to you.

Affidavits executed by two or more persons attesting that they have known you by both the birth and adopted name, and that you have used the adopted name for all purposes for at least five years, may be provided in place of one of the public documents.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Passport Name FAQ.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

Latest Passport & Travel Updates

Emergency Passport Renewal
How to get an emergency passport renewal in the U.S. or abroad. Discover the steps to renew your passport the same day.

How to Renew a U.S. Passport Fast
Learn to expedite passport renewals as quickly as the same day. Where and how to renew passport in a hurry.

Make Your Own Passport Photos
Use the online Passport Photo Wizard tool to make your own passport photos in minutes. Save money and time.

Passport Renewal Videos
Watch step-by-step instructional passport videos of how to renew a passport in 3 steps.