Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports may take up to 18 weeks for routine service and 12 weeks for expedited processing.

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

by Allison
(Oklahoma City, OK, U.S.A.)

Question: If I mail in my original marriage license to get the name on my passport changed, will I get the marriage license returned to me?


Answer: Your original marriage license will be returned to you. Note, on rare occasions, documents have been lost either at the processing agency or during the mail delivery process. Here are some recommendations.

* Mail your passport name change application and any personal documents using a traceable delivery method.

* Additionally, in order to protect the contents of your mailing from the elements throughout the delivery process, we encourage you to mail your passport name change application and marriage license using a secure means of packaging, such as a Tyvek envelope.

* You may also choose a two-way overnight delivery method in order to have your passport and marriage license returned to you more quickly.

If you prefer not to send the original marriage license, you can submit a request for an official copy at the vital records office of the state where you were married.

Where to Get Vital Records

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Do I need a certified copy of my marriage certificate to change my name on my passport?

by Ann
(Kansas)

Question: To change my name, will a photocopy of my marriage certificate do, or do I need to send in a certified copy?

Answer: In order to apply for a passport name change, you must include the original document or a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Photocopies are not accepted.

If you prefer not to send the original, you can obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate through the vital records office of the state where you were married.

The cost of a certified copy of marriage certificate in Kansas is $15.00 each. Send your request to the following address.

Office of Vital Statistics
Curtis State Office Building
1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 120
Topeka, Kansas 66612-2221

Additional copies of the same record ordered at the same time are $15.00 each.

If you were married in a different state. You can find the correct address of the vital records office by clicking the link below.

Where to write for vital records.

Note, if your passport was issued less than one year ago, all you need to do is apply for the name change. If your passport was issued more than a year ago, you must apply for a passport renewal by mail.

For full details, click the link below.

Apply for passport name change.

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Can I use a notarized copy of marriage certificate instead of the original?

by Irene
(Washington DC)

Question: I tried getting a certified copy from Vital Records but they said the marriage was too soon (April 2010) and returned my application.

Can I have a copy of the original made in front of a notary and they notarize it to be submitted for my passport name change? It is hard for me to send in the original for that length of time (4-6 weeks) since I still need it for various other name change documents.

Answer: The marriage certificate you send must either be the original or a certified copy from the vital records office. Notarized photocopies are not acceptable.

If you are concerned about the length of time that your document is gone, you can expedite the process and get them returned in 2-3 weeks. There is an additional $60 fee for this. You can even get it faster through a professional expediting service.

Also, you are encouraged to use secure packaging such as a Tyvek envelope and a traceable delivery method to ensure that your documents are better protected. For more information, click the link below.

Apply for Passport Name Change

Expedite Passport Name Change

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How do I get a certified copy of my marriage certificate if I was married in a foreign country?

by Katie
(Yuma, AZ USA)

Question: I don't want to send my original marriage certificate in with the other documents to change the name on my passport. It is the only copy I have. My husband is from Uganda and we were married there. Thank you for your help, Katie.

Answer: The U.S. Department of State requires an original or certified copy of the marriage certificate in order to process the request for a passport name change. Photocopies are not accepted.

There are a couple of things you can do to minimize the risk of loss or damage to your original marriage certificate. One, place the application form, marriage certificate and other required documents in a secure package such as a Tyvek envelope. Two, mail the packet using two-way express delivery that is traceable.

Note, the tips provided above will minimize the risk but not eliminate it. While the possibility of loss or damage is minimal, it is still possible. There is no guarantee.

The only means we know of obtaining a certified copy of your marriage certificate is through an official registrar's office in the district of Uganda in which you were married. You may try contacting the Uganda Embassy for more options.

The only other option is to apply personally at the Western Passport Center in Tucson. However, the passport agency only accepts applications from American citizens who can prove the need to travel within 14 days or less. You would also be required to pay an additional $60 fee for expedited service. Of course, you would get your name changed in the passport and documents returned to you the same day.

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Marriage Certificate Is in Spanish

by Kelley
(Illinois)

Question: I understand I need to send in my marriage certificate with required forms, pictures, fees. My question is this - the marriage certificate is in Spanish (we were legally married in Mexico), do I need to have this translated? It's no longer the original document and it wouldn't be certified if it's translated here in the US.

Answer: The State Department requires that you submit an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate evidencing your legal name change under federal or state law.

If you are unable to submit an original or certified copy, then you must apply for a new passport by submitting form DS-11 and all required documents. To document your name change you need to submit at least 3 public records showing your date and place of birth that show exclusive use of your assumed name for at least 5 years.

For complete details of how to apply for a new passport, click the link below.

How to Apply for a New Passport

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Travel with my passport in my maiden name and my marriage certificate

by Heather
(Pittsburgh Pa)

Question: 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?

Answer: Ideally, your passport would have your current, legal name in it. However, you should not have any problem using a passport with your maiden name and your marriage certificate if you travel by land or sea. Contact the cruise line for verification if you plan to take a cruise.

TSA’s Secure Flight Program requires the name on your ticket match the name in your passport. So, you might have a problem if you plan to travel by air. Contact the airline for their recommendation.

If you need to apply for a name change, there are a couple of ways to do this depending on when your passport was issued.

If it has been one year or less since your passport was issued and you can provide proof of the name change, then you can submit form DS-5504 to the address on the application. There is no fee for this service.

If it has been more than one year since your passport was issued and you can provide proof of the name change, then you must submit form DS-82 to the address on the application along with your most recent passport and one passport photo. The fee is $110.

Regular processing takes 4-6 weeks. You can request expedited service and get the name changed in your passport in just 2-3 weeks. There is a $60 fee for this service.

If you need the name changed in your passport in less than two weeks, you need to visit a regional passport agency or apply through an expedited passport courier service.

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