The U.S. Department of State can be a real stickler about a lot of things, including many details pertaining to passports. But, surprisingly, perhaps, your home address isn’t one of them. You don’t need to renew your passport or even send in an update or correction when your address changes.

Changing an Address

OK, so you know it’s not necessary, but you still want to update your address on the passport. Maybe it’s an OCD thing, or maybe you want to provide a way for it to be returned if you lose it. Fair enough. Take a look inside the passport. It doesn’t actually have your address printed in it; there’s just a place to pencil it in. Feel free to erase the old residence address and write in the new one. And, voilà, a little rudimentary perhaps, but the passport has been successfully updated to reflect your new dwelling.

If you happen to move while having a passport application processing, call 1-877-487-2778 to let the State Department know, so they’ll have the correct address on file.

Name Changes

A name change isn’t so simply resolved, though, and legal name changes must be reflected in passports. If the name change occurs within one year of the passport being issued, a simple passport renewal by mail suffices to make the update. This entails the following steps:

  • Print Form DS-82 from the State Department website and complete it.
  • Mail it along with the current passport.
  • Also include a new passport photo taken within the past six months that meets all the passport picture guidelines.
  • Don’t forget the application fee and an original document (or certified copy) supporting the name change, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order.
  • Fill out and include Form DS-5504, which is used for name changes and various other updates and corrections.

If the name change occurs more than a year after the passport was issued, you must reapply as if it were the first time. This is also the case if you’re not eligible to renew by mail, either because the previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago or when you were younger than 16, or because you don’t have the old one to turn in. This process requires visiting a local passport acceptance facility in person and providing Form DS-11, an acceptable proof of identity and U.S. citizenship (and single-sided photocopies of these documents), a passport photo, and the application and execution fees.

Other Updates or Corrections

If some other biographical detail, such as your date of birth, place of birth or gender, is wrong, or if your passport contains some sort of printing error, use Form DS-5504 to request a correction. This too requires sending in a new guidelines-compliant passport photo taken no more than six months ago. There’s no charge. Visit the Department of State website’s page on gender designation changes to find detailed instructions on how to update your passport if you underwent or are currently undergoing clinical treatments to change your gender.

Mailing an Update or Correction

When making a passport change with Form DS-5504, mail it to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90107, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107. However, if you pay the expedited processing fee (about $60) to cut the wait down for reissue from four to six weeks to two to three weeks, write “Expedite” on the exterior of the envelope, and address it instead to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90907, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0907.