If you have had your name legally changed, you will need to apply for a passport name change. The procedure for this will depend on several factors, including how long ago your current passport was issued. Depending on your situation, there may or may not be a fee and you may or may not be able to make your application by mail.
If your passport was issued within the last year and you have had your name legally changed due to a court order or getting married, you can have your passport reissued at no charge. You must mail your current passport, along with the application for name change and an original or certified copy of the evidence of the name change. Also included must be two photos taken within the last 6 months.
When the current passport you hold in your prior name is more than one year old, you need to use a different form. This can also be mailed in as long as you have legal proof of the change in name. In this case, there is also a fee that must be sent along with your application. The proof of the change and the photos must be sent with this form as well.
If you cannot show legal proof of your name change, you will need to go to a passport agency in person. In this case, you are applying as if for a brand new passport. You will need to show at least three types of public records that show your birth date and birthplace as well as your new name. These records must show that you have been using the name for no less than five years.
Minors who are younger than 16 must also make their passport application in person and submit all the same documentation. In addition, the parents or guardians of the child must also appear at the agency. Legal proof of the relationship of the parents or guardians to the child must also be supplied. You should check the requirements for passports for minors to be sure that you arrive with all the proper documents.
Keep in mind that it can take four to six weeks, or even up to ten, to receive your new passport. If you have a need for it sooner, it is best to request your application to be expedited. In this case, you will also need to include the additional fee for this service. This service can be requested for any passport application.
Expedited passports can still take two to three weeks to arrive. If you have an emergency that requires getting your updated passport sooner, you will need to call the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment, or contact a passport expediting service.
As with all passport applications, if you are mailing a passport name change, be sure that you package everything up securely. It is best to send it in a way that can be traced. It is also best to send in your application as soon as your name changes, rather than wait until you are actually planning a trip.