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Do you need to include your full middle name on your passport?

by Jennifer

Question: My husband filled out a new passport application and mailed it, but did not make a copy. We need to order airline tickets for travel in the Dominican Republic and he can't remember how he filled out his middle name.

I was curious if you have to include your "full" middle name on your passport? Would a middle initial be acceptable. Also, does it matter how your middle name appears on the airline ticket/boarding, if at all? Thank You.

Answer: A middle initial is acceptable on your passport.

TSA's Secure Flight Program asks passengers to enter their names as they appear on their government ID (i.e., passport). You should try to use the same name on your passport and flight reservations. Once you receive your boarding pass, the Secure Flight process is already complete.

The TSA website staes, "At the security checkpoint, TSA strives to ensure your identification and boarding pass are authentic and validate you are who you say you are. Small differences in the name on the boarding pass and ID, like middle initials, should not impact your travel. It is not uncommon for the information printed on boarding passes to differ slightly from the information on IDs, depending on the boarding pass printing practices of individual airlines."

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How do I best change the middle name on my passport to the middle initial I use on everything else?

by Kate

Question: I am trying to make sure all my documents, including my passport, match with regards to my middle name/initial. My name on my birth certificate was "Kate Mary Ellis".

When I got married, I decided to follow a family tradition and take my maiden surname and use it as my middle initial. My name would then be "Kate E.(Ellis)Lee". Unfortunately, when I came to Ohio, 30+ years ago, my name on my driver's license became "Kate M. Lee". However, I have used "Kate E. Lee" for all my other documents, going back 30+ years (employment, house, credit cards, banks, etc.).

I recently asked the OH BMV if I could use my maiden name initial as my middle initial, and they said it is legal in Ohio, so I plan to do that. My name on my driver's license would then read "Kate E. Lee" instead of "Kate M. Lee".

I also want to change my passport, which now says: "Surname: Lee" and "Given names: Kate Mary", changing "Mary" to "Ellis" or just "E".

I have a large amount of paperwork going back to 1970's which shows that I have been using "Kate E. Lee" for everything (work record, IRS, SS#, pension - except driver's license and passport), but I can't find anything which states both date of birth and place of birth. I think that on some applications for bank accounts, etc. they asked you if you were a US citizen, but I don't think I made copies of such applications. My voter record, for example, says "Kate E. Lee", and has my current address and voting record going back ten years, but that is all.

How do I best go about getting a new passport with the name I have on all other records "Kate E. Lee". Thank you for your help. I appreciate the Passport Service having this site where questions can be asked.

(I have made the names hypothetical, for security's sake)

Answer: The easiest and surest way is to apply for a court order name change. In Ohio, you apply at the probate court of the county in which you reside. The process takes approximately 6-8 weeks and costs $108 plus publishing costs. The official court order would be the only document required to change the name on your passport.

If you cannot legally document your name change through marriage certificate or court order, then you must 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. Send this, along with the application for a new passport and required supporting documents, to the address on the application form.

In the absence of the court order, the more documents you can provide that support the use of the assumed name for at least 5 years, the better.

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passport does not have middle name on it

Question: I just received the passports for myself, my son and my husband. I filled out all the applications the same but my passport does not include my middle name. My husband and son both have theirs listed but mine is missing altogether. Is this going to be a problem?

Answer: All adult applicants must complete and sign their own applications and passports to match their current identification. If the application form was completed with your full name, you may submit the passport for an error correction.

Passport Services Printing errors (i.e., name misspelled, gender incorrect, defects in passport such as defective electronic chip, duplicate page numbers, printing misalignment, pages out of sequential order, etc.) can be resolved by submission of a completed DS-5504 form, along with the documentation listed below.

1. Form DS-5504: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement
2. The passport book or card containing the error.
3. A signed statement explaining the error.
4. Acceptable evidence showing the correct data (an original certified birth certificate or Naturalization Certificate or a complete and unaltered photocopy of marriage certificate showing a seal and officiate/judge signature).

A passport book or passport card can be sent for corrections at any time during its validity, even if it has been used for travel. There is no fee for the correction of a passport agency printing error. The passport expedite fee will not be required for error correction cases. Additionally, neither an appointment nor proof of travel will be required if you choose to appear at a regional passport agency to obtain the corrected passport in person.

On the outside of the envelope, write "Urgent Attention: Correction"

Processing times are 2-3 weeks although this can change during peak travel periods.

Correction Timeframes:

Up to 90 days of issuance - Submit items 1-4 (above) to the agency that issued the passport.

New photos are not required if the passport was issued within the past 90 days.

Passport books or passport cards replaced within 30 days will have new issue date and expiration dates but will keep the original book/card number.

As of 91+ days of issuance - Send to the address on DS-5504. Include documents noted above. NOTE: If the passport was issued more than 90 days ago, new photos must also be submitted.

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Will my passport have my two middle names on it?

Question: I have one middle name on my birth certificate but for more than 5 years I have used two middle names. If Form DS-11 is filled out with both names will my new passport have both or just one of my middle names on it?

Answer: When applying for a new passport, the name on the passport application must match the documentation you present for proof of citizenship (usually a certified birth certificate) and proof of identity (usually a valid driver's license).

In order to apply for a passport in a different name than that on your birth certificate you have to provide either legal proof of the name change through a court order or 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.

Public records include baptismal certificate, census record, school record, driving record, voter registration, business license, etc.

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Can I get a passport with two middle names if I don't change my name legally?

Question: I have been married for almost a year, and changed my last name to my husband's name. This was reflected on my social security card and driver's license. I recently decided I would like to incorporate my maiden name as a second middle name and started that process today at the social security office here in Iowa. As of tomorrow, my social security number should show my first name, middle name, maiden middle name, married last name.

I am attempting to get my driver's license changed as well. Today at the DMV I was told I need to change my name legally through the court system before I can change my driver's license, but speaking with others in a similar situation leads me to believe I will be able to get my license updated without court fees, letters, etc. My husband and I are planning on traveling outside the country eventually; to take the honeymoon we never had.

Is a social security card and driver's license enough to obtain a passport? Or, do I need to change my name legally/through the court system to obtain a passport? Does my birth certificate come into play at all?

Answer: A U.S. passport can only be issued in the legal name of the applicant. While your certified birth certificate serves as evidence of United States citizenship, you must also submit evidence of the legal name change.

The only way to obtain a passport in a name that is not proven by a marriage certificate or official court order is if you can prove exclusive use of the name for a period of at least 5 years. Since you recently started using the name, this is not possible. Since your marriage certificate does not show the name you are currently using, then your only recourse is to either obtain a court order that officially legalizes the name change or apply for a passport using the name that is on your marriage certificate.

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Can I use more than one middle name on my passport?

(Somerset, NJ, USA)

Question: I recently got married and plan to make my maiden name a second middle name and take my husband's last name. Can I keep my original middle name and place my maiden name as a second middle name, or do I have to choose between the two?

For example, I would like my name to read: "Married name, First name, Middle name, Maiden name"

Do I have to choose between my "birth middle name" and my "maiden name" as my "middle" and only have "Married, First, Maiden," on my passport?


Answer: The name in your passport must be your legal name. The bride and groom choose their married names when applying for the marriage license. Therefore, the name that you gave as your married name on your marriage license is your legal name and is the legal name that you should use on your documents (passport, driver's license, social security card, etc.).

If you did not include both middle names on the marriage license application form, then you need to apply for a court order to change your name legally.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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