Can I Use My Passport with My Maiden Name?

December 22, 2023

2 min read


can i travel with a passport with my maiden name

Need to travel using your passport with your maiden name? Anxious something can go wrong at TSA checkpoints? Let’s clarify all you need to know to be absolutely confident and preserve your peace of mind while traveling.

In Focus

Can I use my passport with my maiden name?

The answer is pretty straightforward. Yes, you can travel using your old passport with your maiden name on it. It’s absolutely fine if you plan the journey to your destination by sea or land, and if you air-travel domestically. If you travel internationally there are a few things to look into.

Keeping your maiden name on passport

After your marriage, you can jump on a plane and fly to a foreign country using your passport with a maiden name. If your passport is still valid, there is no urgent need to rush and change it. Even if you were thoughtful to update your driver’s license for the name while under marital status.

A new name is a valid reason to change your passport. There are special scenarios to do so and we’ll get back to this in a minute. Still, the major pitfall here is when you book your flight using your new spouse’s surname and your passport is still valid for your maiden name.

For international travel, it’s mandatory that your travel document matches the name in your airline ticket. It’s due to the TSA regulations introduced as of the September 11th events.

We also need to mention that you don’t have to get new passport photos of the usual two-by-two size and off-white background, if you plan to change your name in the passport within the first six months after issuance date, since your photos are still valid. It’s a rare occasion, though.

Pro tip

If you’ve made up your mind to change the maiden name in your passport, you’ll need a compliant passport photo soon. A speedy way to update your valid picture is to have a look at the US passport photo requirements. Learn all about size, hairstyle, glasses, eyes, and background in order to do a good job of it.

After divorce: Valid passport with maiden name plus marriage certificate

What if you want to return to a passport with your maiden name after a divorce? The US Government states that after you take a name change procedure due to divorce, marriage, or court order, you can use your previous passport if you are able to prove the change of your name on your passport. You can do it by having an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate at all times while traveling.

But it’s still tricky to travel internationally because of the differences in law and regulations abroad. Hence, be cautious and clarify the regulations on a passport name and supporting documents observed in your destination country in advance. It can be done by telephoning the embassy or consulate.

What to do with a passport with your married name?

can i still use my passport with my maiden name

The good news is if your passport life time is still within 12 months, you won’t have to apply for a new passport altogether. You’re allowed to swap the name in your passport for a new one free of charge.

It’s totally up to you to use your passport with your maiden name or apply for a new version in a week, a year, or after its expiration date. Yet, it’s a good idea to update your credentials for smooth identification control for international flights in particular.

Once you’ve decided you want to be on the safe side and travel with your new name instead of the passport with your maiden name, this is the scenario layout for you.

Scenario One: Current passport of under 12 months

If you want to change your maiden name in a passport that is in your possession within less than 1 year after passport issuance, you can apply for its renewal. It’ll be a free-of-charge standard service and fulfilled by mail. Apply with Form DS 5504, support with documents for renewal and your marriage certificate.

Scenario Two: Current passport of over 12 months

If you missed the one-year period after your passport issuance and don’t want to use your passport with your maiden name, the procedure is as follows. Submit your paperwork for renewal with Form DS 82 by mail, including standard documents plus your marriage certificate. It’ll cost you $130.

Scenario Three: New passport

If cases when you can’t prove the name change, you can choose to undergo a new passport procedure. You will have to apply in person and pay $165. Fill in Form DS 11 and accompany it with documentation for a new passport.

Passport with maiden name: FAQ

Can I use my passport with my maiden name in Canada?

There is no regulation that forbids you to travel to Canada or other countries using your passport with your maiden name. As long as the name on your plane ticket coincides with that on your current passport, you’ll be fine.

How long can I use my passport with my maiden name?

You can use your passport with your maiden passport name till its expiration date. Make sure to stop traveling when you have 6 months till the passport validity is over. Then to avoid any issues, submit your passport application for a passport or its renewal.