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Name in passport does not match name on social security card or driver's license

by Carolyn
(New York, NY, USA)

Question: I have been married for 32 years and for that time have used my maiden name as my middle name, as I was given no middle name at birth. The social security office, my TX driver's license and the bank all recognize my full name.

However, when I moved to New York, they would not recognize my passport as a valid ID, since it only contains my first name and my married name,Carolyn Richards. It expires in 2011. How can I make sure I get all three names on my next passport? With heightened security measures, the airports now insist that names match exactly.

Answer: If you cannot legally document your name change (through court order or marriage), you must submit the following in person at an Acceptance Facility or a Passport Agency:

- Your current, valid U.S. passport

- A completed Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport

- Applicable fees

- Two recent, color photographs

- 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.

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Can I travel overseas if my drivers license name and passport name don't match?

by Dawn
(Dallas, TX)

Question: I will be traveling to Europe in April and I recently realized that my drivers license has my married (but now ex) name on it, and my passport has my maiden (current name) on it. Will I be able to travel overseas if the names don't match exactly?

Answer: It depends. As long as the name on your passport and ticket match, there should be no problem. The only document you have to present when passing through customs is a valid passport.

Some countries require you to have at least six month's validity in your passport before they will grant you permission to enter. So, check you passport's expiration date.

The only problem might arise if you plan on renting a car while in Europe. Most car rental companies require you present your normal driver's license and passport.

Since your trip isn't until April, you might consider changing the name in your driver's license. The fee is only $10 for residents of Texas.

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Passport name does not match driver's license nor airline ticket name. Can I still travel?

by Lorna
(Lake Lotawana, MO, USA)

Question: I am leaving for vacation to Cancun in 2 days and just realized that my driver's license and airline ticket have my maiden name and my passport has my name from my previous marriage. Will this cause a problem? Is there anything I can do to fix this in time for my trip if it is a problem?

Answer: The Transportation Security Administration website states, "Small differences between the passenger's ID the passenger's reservation information, and the boarding pass (such as the use of a middle initial instead of a full middle name or no middle name/initial at all, hyphens or apostrophes) should not cause a problem for the passenger."

The problem is that a different last name may not be considered a small difference.

I recommend that you contact the airline you will use and explain the situation to them. They are the ones that will examine your documents and determine whether you are allowed to board or not. Each airline has different procedures concerning the phasing in of the Secure Flight Program. If they inform you that the issue must be corrected, ask them to recommend solutions.

I hope that the airline will provide you with an adequate solution because it is too late to have the name changed in your passport before your departure date.

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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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