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

by Leah
(Kansas City, KS)

Question: I read that to help reduce the risk of my old passport and marriage certificate getting lost or misplaced I should "choose a two-way overnight delivery method in order to have your passport and marriage certificate returned to you more quickly."


Is this a form I fill out with you or at the post office? Also, does two-way overnight delivery method cost extra?

Thank you.

Answer: There is no full-proof method that can guarantee that your old passport and marriage certificate will not be lost. It can and does happen although not frequently. The measures you take are to minimize the risk and not to eliminate it.

The reasons for using two-way overnight delivery is to minimize the time your documents spend in transit. It is just one measure you can take. Overnight delivery does cost more so you may opt for a slower delivery method.

The important factor is that the delivery method you use be traceable. If you mail the application form directly to the address on the form, then you need a method that delivers to a P.O. Box. FedEx does not do this. The U.S. Postal Service provides various options.

You should also use secure packaging such as a Tyvek envelope to protect the contents.

There is a way to avoid having to send your old passport and original marriage certificate but it is time consuming and costs more. Instead of applying for a passport renewal, you can apply for a new passport.

Applying for a new passport does not require you to send your old passport. However, you would have to appear in person at an application acceptance facility. There is an additional $25 execution fee besides the $110 application fee.

In order to provide evidence of your name change, you can apply for an certified copy of your marriage license through the vital records office of the state in which you were married. Again, you would have to pay a fee and wait for the certificate to arrive before you could apply for a passport.

If you use secure packaging and a traceable delivery method, then you should get your documents returned to you. Millions of Americans apply every year and documents are lost on rare occasions. Taking the precautionary measures listed above will minimize any risk of loss.

Comments for How do I make sure I get my old passport and marriage license back?

Click here to add your own comments

Marriage certificate
by: Alorrainenonymous

Question: I got my new passport back in July but I haven't got my old passport or my marriage certificate back.

Answer: Supporting documents are returned in a separate mailing. It is possible that delivery is just delayed or (hopefully not) it was lost in transit. You may contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 for more information.

Wrong Number
by: Anonymous

Question: The number you have listed here goes to a telemarketing service telling me I won a free $50 gift card. Please correct and provide the correct number to call if I did not get my marriage certificate back.

Answer: There is no other number to reach the NPIC but 1-877-487-2778. We do not provide any other numbers.

HAVE NOT RECEIVED OLD PASSPORT/TAKING A LONG TIME
by: Sherri

Question: Hi. I, like many other passport holders, received my new passport, but it's been over 4 weeks, and still have not received my old passport. There is no reason it should be lost, as nothing has changed. Please advise as to why it's taking so long.

Answer: There could be a number of reasons why delivery is taking longer than expected. USPS is dealing with a large volume of mail all over the United States. Mailing times vary across the country so there is no set timeline as to when the document will arrive. Also, these are sent via non-traceable mail so there is no way to track the whereabouts.

Please contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 for more information.

Did not receive marriage certificate back
by: Oscar

Question: My wife and children applied for their passports for the first time. Birth certificates and certificates of naturalization were all returned except for the original marriage certificate. I tried to call 1-877-487-2778 but it's an answering machine and no live person at all.

Answer: The document may have been kept for record purposes or it could be on its way in a separate mailing. Unfortunately, these are sent via untraceable mail so there is no way to track it.

Return mail was not sealed!
by: Anonymous

Question: I received my old passport, US naturalization certificate, and name change court document in a manila envelope that is open (not sealed). The top seal flap was just folded /tucked inside the envelope.

With the concern that our mailing often gets stolen and identity theft on the rise, this method of delivery is very insecure, someone can open can look at the content, and the item can easily slip out of the envelope, especially the passport book. Probably need more improvement in the handling of return documents.

Answer: Please send suggestions as feedback to the National Passport Information Center.

Passport Feedback

Marriage Certificate
by: WLM

Question: I received my new passport in October 2021 after a marriage-based name change. I received all original documents back via mail except my marriage certificate, and I have not been able to change my name with the Social Security Administration as a result.

Since my marriage certificate has been missing nearly 4 months, is there anything I can do to speed up its return or should I assume that U.S. Passports Service lost it?

Answer: The document may have been sent back but was lost while in transit. Unfortunately, there is no way to trace it since supporting documents are returned through regular non-traceable mail. Please contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 for more information.

Marriage License Was Cut All The Way Across On The Bottom
by: Jeff N.

Question: Why was our marriage certificate cut on the bottom when we received it back? There was plenty of room for it to fit in the envelope.

Answer: Please contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 regarding your concern.

Marriage license return?
by: Anonymous

Question: I received my new passport at the beginning of October 2021 but have not received my marriage license which I was told would be returned separately shortly after. What is the time frame now that it has been over a month?

Answer: According to the Department of State's website, it may take more or less 4 weeks after the first mailing for the second mailing to arrive. You also have to consider the volume of mail USPS is handling on a daily basis which can cause considerable delays.

Marriage License
by: Michael and Marion

Question: We applied for an expedited passport on June 15. We have since received our new passports and our old passports by U.S. mail. However, we have not received our marriage license. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Respectfully submitted,
M&M

Answer: Hello, Michael and Marion. The document's delivery may just be delayed due to issues with USPS. Unfortunately, there is no way to track the parcel since it's not sent through traceable mail. Some users have actually reported that it took about 60 days for their documents to arrive.

Lost marriage license
by: Anonymous

Question: I received my passport through mail when I open it I never got my marriage license returned to me. The post office told me they will mail it along with my passport. What do I do in this situation?

Answer: Supporting documents are sent back in the separate mailing from new passports. Your marriage certificate should be in the mail soon.

Sent and lost my marriage certificate
by: Anonymous

Question: I sent in all the documents required for my passport name change and they sent a letter saying I needed to send in a copy of my marriage certificate which I had already done. So they lost the original and now I have to purchase another one and write a letter saying they lost it with the original application. When calling about this I waited three hours for a callback and the person I spoke to was incredibly rude and was mad that I had questions and then hung up on me.

I just hope I get my passport and hope I don’t lose 300$ for no reason. I have no hope of getting my original marriage certificate back.

Answer: We're sorry to learn about your unpleasant experience with customer service. If you want to file a formal complaint, you may do so here.

Lost Marriage License
by: Anonymous

Question: I've had my new passport since June. In August, I inquired via phone and letter about my missing marriage license. It has been lost. I was told I could submit my receipt from purchasing my new marriage license. Where can I submit this expense?

Answer: You may call customer service at 1-877-487-2778.

returned paperwork
by: Carrie

Question: I had to change my name on my passport. I received my new passport April 2016. It is July 2016. I am still trying to get my marriage license and old passport back. I was even hung up on. I've sent email but received no reply. How do I get these back?

Question: Passports and supporting documents that are submitted with application forms are returned to their owners. Occasionally, these documents are lost in the mail.

If you already contacted Passport Services about this issue and were informed that they were mailed, then we recommend you contact USPS to see if they can do anything to help you locate them.

Time frame
by: Anonymous

Question: How long will it take to receive the passport and marriage certificate back? I received my new passport with my married name and have not yet received my old passport and marriage certificate.

Amswer: It usually only takes a few days. If the documents have not arrived within 10 days, call 1-877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative.

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