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

How should we prepare our passports?

by Karen Van....
(Rocklin, CA)

Question: Our last name starts with Van, has a space, and then the rest of our last name appears. Our licenses and my husband's social security card show the name without a space. His birth certificate and my social security card show it split, as does our marriage certificate. What should we do on the passport? Since our licenses are the other main form of ID, is it best to put it together as it appears on the licenses?

Answer: Since the difference is not one of spelling but the presence or absence of a space, you can use the one you prefer. Be aware that you may face problems either way. It is not likely, but it is possible.

When applying for a new passport, you must submit both evidence of U.S. citizenship and proof of identity. The documents most frequently used for this are a birth certificate (citizenship) and driver's license (identity).

If Passport Services requests more documents to support the use of the name, you will need to submit 3 or more public records that show exclusive use of the name for at least 5 years.

You may consider correcting the name on your driver's license and social security card before applying for a passport. Click the links below for more information.

California Driver's License Corrections

Social Security Office Locator

Click here to post 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.

The Ultimate Jet Lag Survival Guide
Jet lag is almost certain if you travel across several time zones. Discover how to minimize the effects of jet lag for every age group and ensure a more rewarding family trip.