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Will I get my marriage license back if I send it for a name change?

by Melissa
(Havre de Grace, MD USA)

Question: I got married in Antigua and only have one certified marriage certificate.


I need to change my last name and don't want to send my only certified marriage certificate off in the mail for a passport as I am worried that I will not get it back.

Will they return it to me or do you have any suggestions on what I should do? My passport is current and just needs a name change.

I was married in September in Antigua. It has been impossible to receive another certified copy of my marriage certificate from them. I called the passport office to see if I could come in person to get a name change but they said I could not.

Answer: Your marriage certificate will be returned to you. It will be sent separately from the passport so it may arrive on a different day.

You are encouraged to use protective packaging such as a Tyvek envelope. You can send the packet using a traceable delivery method. A list of options is given below.

- USPS Certified Mail
- USPS Registered Mail
- USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation
- USPS Priority Mail with Signature Confirmation
- USPS Express Mail (for overnight delivery requests) traceable delivery method

For a list of requirements, click the link below.

Passport Name Change Requirements

Comments for Will I get my marriage license back if I send it for a name change?

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Priority or express mail
by: Erin

Question: If I send my marriage certificate via USPS Priority or Express mail in order to track it, will it be returned to me via USPS priority or express mail so I can track its return so it will safely arrive back to me? The comments I have read and the answers say that sending it priority or express are the best way to receive it back safely, however that does me no good if the passport office does not return my certificate in the same manner so that it can be tracked.

Answer: Hi, Erin. Supporting documents will be returned via regular mail without tracking. Make sure to register for email updates about the status of your application and supporting document. It may take 8 weeks after you receive your new passport for your marriage certificate to arrive. If it takes more than 8 weeks, contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to report that you have not received your document.

Supporting Documents
by: Rey

Question: Hello, my wife sent her supporting documents for her passport, and we haven't received her divorce decree, our marriage certificate, and and her birth certificate.

Answer: Hello, Rey. Supporting documents are sent back after final review by the Department of State. It should be in the mail soon.

Need Marriage Certificate
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi, I received my passport almost 2 weeks ago and haven't received my marriage certificate. What is the window when I will receive it? I need it to change other things before we move.

Answer: Hello! There is no set timeline for these documents to arrive. Some have taken only a couple of weeks while others several months. It depends on USPS' mail volume. Unfortunately, these are sent through regular mail without tracking so there is no way of knowing where they are at at the moment.

Where's my marriage license?
by: Anonymous

Question: I received my passport over 1.5 months ago but have not received my marriage license back. When I try to call, I can't even get somebody to talk to - just the voice recordings. Who do I need to speak to find out where my marriage license is?

Answer: Supporting documents are sent back via regular mail without tracking. There is no way to trace where the document is.

Marriage certificate
by: Alexis S

Question: I sent my passport back in for my name change and sent my marriage certificate also in September. Got my passport back at the beginning of October but still haven’t got my certificate and the number that is provided to call doesn’t do anything. I would like my certificate back I’m getting worried it was lost in the mail.

Answer: Hi, Alexis. According to the Department of State's website, it takes about 4 weeks after the first mailing's arrival for the second mailing containing supporting documents to arrive. It may take longer due to delays by the USPS. It is possible but unlikely that your document was lost.

Marriage certificate
by: Beatriz

Question: My marriage certificate was sent back to me with the lower corner of the document ripped off and missing. This was extremely upsetting. What should I do in this situation?

Answer: Please contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 regarding your concern.

I received my new passport in March
by: Ashley

Question: I received my new passport in March but I have not received my marriage license back and I tried to contact the number on the website and was unable to get anyone I would like to get my marriage license back.

Answer: Please contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 to confirm whether or not the document has been shipped back. Customer service representatives are available Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Returned documents
by: Tina

Question: Do they send your marriage license to you in the same condition you sent it? We do not wish to crease our marriage license. No folding!

Answer: Sending your marriage license will serve no purpose. You need to send the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate instead. As for the condition that the document will be returned in, we have not heard of any reports/complaints regarding such being mutilated/folded.

If you want to make sure your original marriage certificate remains in perfect condition, it is best that you send a certified copy instead.

In Person With Marriage Certificate
by: Sam A

Question: Hi, my wife and I are uncomfortable mailing sensitive data / documents. It also sounds like an unnecessary risk when regarding identity theft. I would feel more comfortable seeing someone in person to apply for a name change. What form can we use to get this done in person? Thanks.

Answer: Hi, Sam. We have removed your last name to protect your identity.

Only applications for new passports can be done in person. Even then, you will still need to submit your original documents. To protect the documents, we recommend sending them through a traceable delivery method.

Marriage License
by: Suzanne Hodges

Question: We never received our marriage license back.

Answer: Hi, Suzanne. If you just received your passport, your marriage certificate should be in the mail soon. Please contact the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 for more information.

Marriage Certificate Certified Copy
by: Anonymous

Question: Why wouldn’t a certified copy of the marriage certificate work?

For instance a copy made and certified by a Notary Public.

This current process contains too much red tape risking an irreplaceable and sentimental family document.

Question: For security purposes, a certified copy obtained from the local vital records office is required for a passport name change.

They forgot to change my last name
by: Anonymous

Question: I submitted all of the paper work to both renew and change my last name on my passport. I received my passport two weeks later with my maiden name on it. I'm so annoyed! So now I have to try and get the issue fixed before heading out of the country next month.

Answer: While it is recommended that U.S. citizens travel in their current legal names, you may travel with your current passport. You may opt to have your passport corrected after your trip.

marriage license
by: Anonymous

Question: I received my passport approx. 2 weeks ago but have not received my marriage license. I understand that they arrive separately of one another, but approximately what is the window that I should expect to receive my marriage license.

Answer: Please call 1-877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative.

Marriage License was not returned
by: Anonymous

Question: Sent my marriage license to change my name and did NOT receive my documents back, 11/10/16. Called number listed here- 877-487-2778; only to be told no one was available to take my call. Then the recording said Goodbye.

Answer: Today is a federal holiday. Passport Services is closed. Supporting documents are sent separately from new passports. Your marriage certificate should arrive soon.

how long to wait
by: Anonymous

Question: Hello! I received my passport about January 3rd, but haven't received any of my submitted documents including my marriage certificate. What is the wait to receive these? Thanks!

Answer: You probably should have received them already. Please call 1877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative.

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