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Which name should I use on the passport application?

by Vicki

Question: I need to travel to Canada for a conference. On the passport application, do I list the name on my drivers license (Vicki L.) or my birth certificate (Victoria Lynn)? I never go by the name on my birth certificate -- even my Social Security card name is Vicki L.

Along those lines, which name do I put on my plane ticket? I assume I will need to show both my passport and drivers license at the airport.

Answer: You can request either the name on your birth certificate or the one on your driver's license. The only requirements is that there be a link between the citizenship evidence (birth certificate), identifying documents (driver's license), your signature and the name requested on the application. Note, the processing agent has final say as to which name will be listed in your passport. As long as there is clear evidence of a link, there should be no problem with either name.

You do not need to show your driver's license at the airport but only your passport. The name on your ticket must match the name in your passport.

Comments for Which name should I use on the passport application?

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Legal name
by: Anonymous

Question: I applied for my first passport with my shortened first name "Brad". My given name on my birth certificate and driver's license is "Bradley". When my passport expired I renewed it as "Bradley", but it still came back with "Brad". I am traveling internationally in 2 months and my airline ticket says "Bradley". Will this cause an issue?

Answer: Since the name on your passport is a derivative of the name on your tickets, you may not encounter any issues. We recommend that you contact the airline to confirm.

Middle Name
by: Kim

Question: My passport has my first name middle name and my last name. On my international trip I did not add my middle name to my ticket. Is this acceptable?

Answer: Yes, it is acceptable.

Can I use a short first name and avoid the middle name?
by: Anonymous

Question: I need to apply for my child's passport and I want to use his short first name Max (it's Maxim in the birth certificate) and avoid the middle name (even though there's one in the birth certificate). Is it possible to apply for the passport using the short name? And do I need to state the full birth certificate name somewhere?

Answer: This case may be especially complicated because you are applying for a minor's passport. The easiest way to use a different name from the one that appears in the birth certificate is to present a court order for the name change.

If you cannot submit a court order, at least 3 public records showing the child's date and place of birth that show exclusive use of the assumed name for at least 5 years are required. If the child is younger than 5 years, you cannot go this route.

What name is my official legal name?
by: Anonymous

Question: My drivers license, my social security card, my house deed, my work ID and taxes have my married last name. My birth certificate, my Citizenship certificate, and my passport have my maiden name. I was married and have been divorced over ten years now. What name should I apply to renew my passport? Do I need to do an official court name change in order to make sure my will does take effect when the time comes?

Answer: Please enter the name on the application form that you would like to be printed in your new passport. This can be your married name if you continue to use it and prefer that or it can be your maiden name. If you request your maiden name, no additional documents are required. If you prefer to have the passport issued in your married name, you must submit evidence of the legal name change since your previously-issued passport has your maiden name in it. In the case of the latter, you need to submit your marriage certificate.

Birth name that is no longer legal, or current name?
by: Anonymous

Question: Filling out passport application for my kids. It's asking for mother's birth name.

I have a situation where I was born with a different last name, but at 5 my name was legally changed. So, my birth name is NOT what matches my birth certificate, social security card, etc. Do I put my legal name to reflect my supporting documentation.

Which name do I put?

Answer: Please enter name at birth as requested by the passport application. You may need to submit evidence of the legal name change.

Birth name or Adopted name
by: Anonymous

Question: I am 63 years old. I was adopted when I was 11. My birth certificate shows my adopted name. On page one, line 9 of the application form, it asks to list all other names you have used. Do I give my birth name here? On page two, line 10, do I put my birth parents or adoptive parents names. Who's name do I fill in the next section that ask the Last Name (at parents birth). Again, my name, birth parents, or adoptive parents. Also, if it's the adoptive parents, I may not know their place of birth. Would only the 'State' be sufficient?

Answer: Please call 1-877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative who should be able to answer your questions. We recommend you also discuss evidence of U.S. citizenship. Since your birth certificate has your adopted name on it, it must have been issued more than a year after your birth. Because of this, additional evidence of citizenship may be required.

Birth name or Adopted name
by: Anonymous

Question: I was adopted when I was about 10 years old. My birth certificate shows my adopted name on it. Where it ask if I've ever been known by any other name, how do I reply? Also where it ask for name at birth, do I give my birth name or adopted name? My son is also applying for a passport with those questions. How do I respond?

Answer: You should answer both questions with your birth name.

middle name different on documents
by: Anonymous

Question: I got married and my middle name on my drivers license and social security card are the same however on my naturalization it was the old middle name. I am trying to apply for the passport. What should I do?

Answer: Enter the name on your passport application that is your current legal name. Present your Certificate of Naturalization and valid driver's license. While evidence of legal name change is usually not required when applying for a first-time passport, it might be requested. Therefore, we recommend you include the name change document with your application.

passport name
by: Anonymous

Question: My passport has my married last name on it. My permanent resident card has my maiden name. My social security also has my madien name. Legally, my last name is my married name. What do I do? Help me, please.

Answer: Please contact the Social Security Administration and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request to change the name on your documents.

by: Anonymous

Question: If I use only the legal middle name as the last name, will it be a problem later on?

Answer: The passport generally is issued in the name shown on the evidence of citizenship and identity. You must present public documents, including acceptable identity documents,
reflecting the use of the name. The Acceptance Agent must determine the name that will be in your passport based on the documents you present.

Last Name at Birth, Adopted Name or Married
by: Anonymous

Question: I was adopted by my grandparents when I was very young and have used their last name since then, but it was never legally changed on my birth certificate or by court order. When I apply for a passport, can I just bring my birth certificate with my original last name, my current Driver's License which has my adopted last name, and documentation to show I have been using that name for at least 5 years? Or will I need to have the name changed by court order? Further, if I marry before applying for a passport, would the marriage certificate be helpful in this situation at all or make it more complicated?

Answer: You must present an acceptable identification reflecting the acquired name and original or certified copies of three or more public documents evidencing that you have used the acquired name for five years or longer. The documentary evidence, which must show the acquired name and one other piece of identifying data, (such as date of birth, place of birth, age, or Social Security number), may include but are not limited to:

(1) Driver’s licenses or non-driver State-issued I.D.;
(2) Military records;
(3) Employment records;
(4) Tax records;
(5) School records;
(6) Census record;
(7) Hospital birth record; and
(8) Baptismal certificate.

Affidavits executed by two or more persons attesting that they have known you by both the birth and adopted name, and that you have used the adopted name for all purposes for at least five years. While this is only "required" if you cannot obtain a third public record, we recommend you include the affidavits in order to avoid delays.

Whether you submit your marriage certificate or not should not make much of a difference. Note, it can take up to six weeks or more for the official marriage certificate to be issued. You will have to apply for a passport in your current legal name if you will need a passport before then.

Renewing my passport with my legal name
by: Anonymous

Question: I am trying to renew my passport but when I got my original 11 years ago I used my name I go by (Andy) and not my legal name that's on my birth certificate and Drivers Liscense (Andrew). Now that I am trying to renew it and use Andrew so it matches my ID I am being asked to show proof of name change in which I do not have. What do I do in this situation? Do I have to go through the courts for a legal name change? I am leaving for a wedding in 6 weeks and worried about getting this taken care of in time. In hindsight I wish I would have used Andrew to begin with but I'm stuck with that mistake now I just need to figure out the most practical way to fix it.

Answer: We recommend you call 1-877-487-2778 and request to speak with a supervisor. Explain the situation and ask if the application can be processed without the need for more documents since Andrew is on your birth certificate and Andy is a common derivative. If the supervisor insists that you send an official document, ask if your birth certificate and a copy of your driver's license will suffice.

Problems for having more than one last name
by: Anonymous

Question: In my passport and license I have my two last names (father's and mother's maiden name) while on my birth certificate I only have my father's last name. Will that bring me problems if I plan to travel?

Answer: Since your passport was issued with both last names, it should not be a problem. We recommend you book flights in the same name that is in your passport.

Which Name To Use in Passport
by: Anonymous

Question: My father (born in the USA) was given an Italian first name - Giovanni which is on his birth certificate. Giovanni translates to John which when joining the military, they decided to use John on everything NOT his birth name. It was never legally changed to John, yet his social security number, bank accounts, license...etc is all under the name John. What name will his passport be under? If he has to submit his birth certificate, what other ID will he need if it all says John?

Answer: Each situation is different. It is difficult to say exactly what will be required because agents vary with thier verification process.

We recommend your father present additional identification documentation showing exclusive use of the name John for 5 years or more. Usually, at least 5 documents are requested.

We also suggest he invite an identifying witness.

Finally, he should submit a letter explaining his name change and a notarized affidavit by someone who has known him for over 10 years to verify the use of the name.

An alternative would be for him to apply for a court order name change and submit that document when it arrives.

For more information, visit Identification Documents for Passports

What if I legally only have one name?
by: Anonymous

Question: Does anyone know what happens in this situation? On my birth certificate and drivers license I only have one name (hippy parents). I need to purchase tickets but I don't know how my name will be on my passport (still processing). Any ideas? Will it be Dan Unknown?

Answer: You should not purchase tickets until your passport arrives since you will also need the passport number. Passports are usually issued in the name requested on the applications. One word names, if accepted, are entered as the last name. You can check the status of your passport application online.

AT LAST -- An answer that fits my situation
by: Anonymous

After much searching on internet, finally I found a situation, same as mine! Thank you for the FAQ section!!! There is so many different situations and new rules, these days, we are all going in circles, trying to apply for Passports!! Thanks, again

Which name do I use on Passport?
by: Vera

Question: What kind of link is necessary?

Answer: Links between names are established through the presentation of legal documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree and court order.

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