Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs

Post Published October 14, 2023

See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - After Getting Married - Update Your Name

One of the most exciting parts of getting married is taking on your spouse's last name and formalizing your new identity as a married couple. However, the process doesn't stop at just changing your name socially - you also have to legally change your name on all your government IDs, travel documents, and more.

Failing to update your legal name after marriage can cause major headaches when you go to book travel reservations, cross borders, or even just open a bank account. Suddenly, the name on your passport won't match your plane ticket or the name on your driver's license won't match your credit cards. This can lead to extra screening, denied reservations, and general frustration.
To avoid these issues, it's critical that newlyweds prioritize updating their legal name on all key travel and identity documents as soon as possible after the wedding. Here are some of the most important items to update right away:

Passport - Your passport is one of the most essential travel documents and the first thing international travelers need to update after getting married. Most countries require that your passport matches your current legal name, so you'll need to apply for a name change with your passport authority. This requires filling out forms, providing your original marriage certificate as proof of your name change, and paying an administrative fee. It can take 4-6 weeks to receive your updated passport.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck - If you used your maiden name to apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you must update your name with these programs once you change it. The process is simple - just log into your Trusted Traveler account online and change your name there. Easy!

Frequent flyer accounts - Don't lose your hard-earned airline miles or status! Make sure to call up your favorite frequent flyer programs and update your name and member profile to match your new married name.
Driver's license - Your new last name needs to be reflected on your driver's license for both driving purposes and as a valid ID. Visit your local DMV to apply for a replacement license with your updated married name. Make sure to bring original documentation like your marriage certificate.
Credit cards - Notify all your banks and credit card providers of your new legal name and request replacement cards if needed. This ensures the name on your accounts matches the name on your IDs.

Travel loyalty programs - If you belong to any hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy or car rental loyalty clubs, sign into your account online and change your profile name to reflect your married name.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck - If you used your maiden name to apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you must update your name with these programs once you change it. The process is simple - just log into your Trusted Traveler account online and change your name there. Easy!

Travel profiles - Update your name on any existing airline, hotel, car rental, cruise or tour provider accounts you may have. This includes profiles like your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, Hilton Honors account, or Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society profile.
Insurance - Car, health, life insurance and more will need to know about your new legal name. Reach out to your providers to have your name updated on any active policies.
Voter registration - If you plan to vote under your married name, submit a new voter registration form with your county or state. Bring your marriage certificate as proof of the name change.

Social Security - One of the most important name changes is with the Social Security Administration. Update your records there so your new name is linked to your Social Security number, work credits, and benefit eligibility.

U.S. passport holders should make this name change at an official Social Security office, while overseas citizens can contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or mail in Form SS-5.
Bills and accounts - Calling the electric company and updating your Netflix account may not seem glamorous, but it's necessary. Anywhere you have an active billing account should be notified of your name change.
Get organized - Once you've updated your name far and wide, keep all the confirmation letters and new ID cards together in a folder. This will come in handy if you need to show documentation of your name change for any reason.

What else is in this post?

  1. Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - After Getting Married - Update Your Name
  2. Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Following a Divorce - Change Critical Info
  3. Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Switching Gender - Revise Passports and More
  4. Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Moving Countries - Renew Passports and Visas
  5. Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Having a Baby - Add Children to Documents

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Following a Divorce - Change Critical Info

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs

Going through a divorce is difficult enough without having to worry about the administrative hassle of updating your identity documents. However, taking the time to revise critical information across all your accounts, memberships, and government records is an essential part of finalizing your split.

Failure to complete this documentation accurately can lead to issues traveling, handling finances, and accessing government services down the line. You want to make sure you dot your i's and cross your t's when informing everyone of your new single status.
Passport - Your passport should match your current legal name, so newly divorced travelers need to apply for a name change with their passport authority if reverting back to a maiden name. Bring original documentation like your final divorce decree as proof of the name change and be prepared to pay an administrative fee. Expedited processing may be available for an additional cost.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck - If your ex-spouse is listed as a beneficiary on your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck account, they must be removed following a divorce. Simply log into your Trusted Traveler account online and edit your account profile.

Frequent flyer accounts - Just because you split doesn't mean you want your ex keeping all those miles and elite status perks you earned together. Call each airline program to remove your former partner as a household member from your frequent flyer account.

Driver's license - If your license includes your married name, you'll need to visit the DMV and apply for a new one under your prior name. Bring paperwork like your divorce decree to prove the name change.
Credit cards - Close any joint credit card accounts and open new individual ones in your name only. Notify your bank and credit bureaus that you are no longer responsible for the card and debt.
Travel loyalty programs - Remove your former spouse as a member of your hotel, rental car, cruise or other travel loyalty accounts. You each need separate member profiles from now on.
Travel profiles - Similarly, update your personal accounts with airlines, hotels, rental car agencies and other vendors to reflect your new single status. Remove any credit cards or contact info associated with your ex.

Social Security- If you changed your name after getting married, file a name change notification with SSA following your divorce. Update any work credits you earned under your married name.
Checking all these boxes may take hours on the phone, at government offices, or filling out forms - but it's necessary legwork. While it may be tempting to keep your ex-spouse on certain accounts for convenience, it creates risk and prevents a clean break.
Take it from Beth, a 43-year old teacher from New Jersey who finalized her divorce last year after 15 years of marriage. “I made the mistake of leaving my ex on a few recurring subscriptions to avoid the hassle of updating my credit card details,” she admits. “But then he decided to unexpectedly cancel my streaming services and I couldn’t get them back! It caused such a headache that I ended up having to update everything after all.”

Gabby, 37, warns that travel can get complicated if you don't take care of the paperwork right away either. “My ex-husband and I have been separated for months but I procrastinated updating my driver's license and passport with my maiden name. When I tried to fly home for the holidays, TSA gave me such a hard time about my IDs not matching that I nearly missed my flight!”

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Switching Gender - Revise Passports and More

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs

Making the deeply personal decision to transition gender is a complicated process on many levels. In addition to the emotional, medical, and social factors, there are also critical legal and administrative steps that transgender individuals must take to align their official government IDs and travel documentation with their new gender identity.

Failure to update these documents properly can lead to uncomfortable scrutiny at border crossings, airline counters, hotels, car rentals, and anywhere else an ID is required. It can also out someone as transgender against their will, creating safety issues in certain countries and situations.
That’s why one of the most pressing action items for those who are transitioning is to revise their passport, driver’s license, Social Security records, Global Entry/TSA Precheck, frequent flyer accounts, and any other membership or profile tied to their legal name and gender.

Passport - Updating your gender designation with your passport authority is a top priority for transgender travelers. Each country has specific requirements, but most involve detailed forms plus documentation from your doctor confirming your gender transition. Expedited processing is recommended.
U.S. citizens must submit Form DS-11 along with a physicians statement and updated photos. Routine service takes 8-11 weeks and costs $145, while expedited is 5-7 weeks for $60 extra. Name changes are processed separately.

Driver’s License - Driving as your true gender requires officially changing it on your license at your local DMV. The process varies by state, with some requiring a doctor’s note and others simply a request form. Updated photos are also needed in most cases.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck - It’s quick and easy to change your gender in your Trusted Traveler profile for PreCheck and Global Entry. Just log into your account and visit the edit profile section. No documentation is needed.
Frequent Flyer Accounts - Call each airline you have an account with and explain you have legally changed your name and gender. They will update your profile accordingly. Loyalty points stay the same.

Social Security - To change your gender with the Social Security Administration, submit form SS-5 along with a signed physician’s note confirming your change. This ensures your Social Security Number, work credits, and benefits eligibility stay intact.

While juggling all this bureaucracy, don’t forget the human side! Reach out to close friends and family personally to share your news and your new name/pronouns if you feel comfortable.

Jamie, a 65-year old trans woman from Oregon, decided to host a “coming out party” barbecue in her backyard to celebrate with loved ones after she updated her documents. “It was so meaningful to share my transition with circles both intimate and professional,” she says. “The legal changes felt like crossing the finish line!”

Meanwhile, 33-year old Elliot connected with relatives overseas on Zoom who he was nervous to tell one-on-one. “I screened my passport with my new name and gender marker to show them I was serious. The documents don’t lie!” he laughs.

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Moving Countries - Renew Passports and Visas

Moving abroad is an exciting adventure, but it also requires important logistical preparation. One of the most critical steps for relocating overseas is renewing your passport and securing proper visas for your new country of residence. Failure to take care of this essential paperwork can derail your international move before it even starts.

Torsten has first-hand experience with just how vital passports and visas are when changing countries. He recalls, “I was all set to move from Canada to Argentina when I realized at the last minute my passport had less than six months before expiration. This sent me scrambling to expedite a renewal since many countries require your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.”

Cutting it close on passport validity isn’t the only hazard for those relocating internationally. Securing the right visas is equally crucial. Torsten explains, “I have a friend who got hired for her dream job in New Zealand. She was so focused on packing and saying goodbye that she neglected to properly research which visas she qualified for. She arrived in Auckland only to be denied entry and put on the next flight home!”

Clearly, failure to meet passport and visa requirements can turn a long-awaited global move into a logistical nightmare. Renewing documents in advance and understanding destination country visa rules can help you avoid heartache.

Renew Your Passport ASAP
First things first, check your passport expiration date the moment you decide to move overseas. If it will expire within 6 months of your planned relocation, renew it right away. Expedited service is recommended, since routine processing can take 8+ weeks and you don’t want to cut it close. Include the updated passport on your pre-move checklist of items to take care of early in the planning process.
Research Destination Country Visa Rules Thoroughly
Every country has unique visa and entry requirements. Some may require securing a visa in advance, while others allow for visa-free entry or issuing visas on arrival. Study the regulations for your specific destination country closely to understand which visas you need and can qualify for. Factors like your purpose (work, study, etc), length of stay and nationality can impact eligibility. Don’t just assume you can show up and figure it out once there!

Apply For Necessary Visas Well In Advance
Give yourself plenty of buffer time to complete visa applications before your move. Government processing times vary wildly. For example, Torsten’s E-2 investor visa for the U.S. took nine months for approval, while his working holiday visa for Australia was issued in just a week. Avoid productivity delays by getting the ball rolling early. Work with a qualified immigration attorney if the rules are confusing or you need guidance.
Secure Supporting Documents
In addition to properly completed visa forms, most applications will require supporting documentation like passport copies, ID photos, proof of funds, medical history, police certificates, employment verification letters and more. Verify exactly what you need and get it all prepared beforehand. Missing application components only leads to delays.

Check For Dependents, Too
Don’t forget that any dependents relocating with you will also need valid passports and appropriate visas for your destination country. This includes your spouse, minor children, elderly parents or other relatives. Coordinate those dependent paperwork requirements simultaneously with your own application.
Confirm Your Duration of Stay
Double check that the visa you obtain allows for the full duration of stay you need in your new country. Some only permit shorter stays of 90 days or 6 months, for instance, while others provide longer periods of validity based on the visa type. Choose wisely to avoid any gaps in legal residency.

Understand Entry Requirements
Along with pre-arranging visas when necessary, read up on other bureaucratic entry procedures for your destination country. For example, some require proof of certain vaccinations or completion of passenger locator forms upon arrival at the airport. Knowing regulations ahead helps smooth the entry process.

Pack Copies Of Documents
Once your passport and visas are secured, make at least two copies of everything. Keep one set in your carry-on luggage and leave another with a trusted contact at home. Lost or stolen documents can sabotage relocation plans, so protected backups provide peace of mind.
Moving abroad comes with enough challenges without having to worry about passport or visa issues derailing the big move. By proactively renewing documents, researching visa options extensively, applying early, confirming durations of stay, and understanding entry requirements - you can check off a major pre-move milestone with confidence.

Life Changing Events: When to Update Your Passport and Other Travel IDs - Having a Baby - Add Children to Documents

From dirty diapers to sleepless nights, new parents quickly learn that raising an infant requires serious gear and stamina. But while your baby bucket list may be focused on stocking up on bottles, strollers and stuffed animals, there's another preparation that can't be neglected - updating your important documents and travel IDs with your bundle of joy's information.

Failing to add your child to key identity and travel records in a timely manner can limit your family vacation options and create headaches at border checkpoints. You want baby's info handy to seamlessly navigate TSA security, cross international borders, secure passports and more during those fragile early years.

Torsten explains, "When my twin boys were born, I was totally overwhelmed juggling two needy newborns at once! Updating their passports and travel profiles wasn't exactly top of mind. But when I finally got around to it right before an international trip, the delayed paperwork threw our plans into chaos."

He continues, "Because I procrastinated submitting their passport applications, the processing time meant the travel documents wouldn't arrive for months. We either had to cancel the long-awaited vacation or leave our infant sons behind with grandparents! I learned the hard way to add babies to your records ASAP."

Passport - Applying for your newborn's first passport should be a top priority. Most countries require anyone of any age to have their own valid passport for international trips. Wait times for routine processing can be 6-8 weeks or longer, so apply for your baby's passport shortly after birth. Make sure to include the required documents like an original birth certificate. Passport photos for newborns can be tricky -many hospitals offer these so take advantage!

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck - If mom and dad are Global Entry or TSA PreCheck members, you can add your infant to your account as well. This allows you to take baby through expedited security lines without separation. Complete enrollment online by logging into your Trusted Traveler account, adding your child and paying a small fee.

Frequent flyer account - Earn points and status for your little one right off the bat by adding them as a free companion to your airline frequent flyer accounts. This allows you to pool miles into one family account. Check the age limits though, as some programs require children to be 2+ years old.

Travel insurance - Protect your precious cargo on getaways near and far by purchasing travel insurance specifically covering children. Many comprehensive policies allow adding kids for minimal cost. Look for plans with child-friendly benefits like medical evacuation for minors.

Travel profiles - Inform your airline, hotel, rental car and other travel providers about your expanded family. Add your child as a minor passenger to existing reservations for accurate head counts. List them on loyalty programs where allowed. Carrying confirmation emails and itineraries helps verify their info if needed.

International travel forms - Some countries like Canada require extra customs forms for minors traveling internationally without both parents present. Research regulations to determine if any special child documentation is needed based on your destination.
Government IDs - While babies don't need driver's licenses, they should be added as dependents on your own government IDs like passport applications. You'll also need to obtain documents like Social Security cards and (eventually) state IDs for them.

Alert family/friends - Make sure your loved ones have your child's latest info, especially if named as emergency contacts or references on travel forms. Share details like their full name, birth date, passport number, and travel document issue/expiration dates.

Notify loyalty programs - In addition to airline and hotel accounts, add your son or daughter as an authorized user on any credit card or retail loyalty programs that permit minors. This allows them to inherit your status and benefits.
Create a mobile folder - Collect digital copies of all your child's important travel records, IDs and supporting documents in one easy-to-access mobile folder. Details to include are passport, birth certificate, visa if applicable, immunization records, travel insurance information, photo ID and more.

Know the rules - Study TSA, airline, hotel and destination country regulations regarding infants and children. For example, some nations require passport validity to extend months beyond the dates of your actual trip length. Avoid issues by learning protocols.

Carry comfort items - Traveling with babies requires hauling the bulk of their beloved blankets, toys, snacks, bottles and more. Packing light is tough, so prioritize must-have soothers and extras that will make trips go smoother for them...and you!

While it's tempting to brush off bureaucratic chores in the exhausted haze of new parenthood, investing the time upfront to formally add your child to travel records pays off hugely. Not only does it enable exciting vacations together as a family, but it helps make the journey smoother through checkpoints and foreign places.

Marc, a new dad from Chicago, admits he put off the paperwork after his daughter was born. "I figured her U.S. birth certificate was enough for trips between grandmas' houses," he said. "But when I got selected for Global Entry interviews during our trip to Canada, we were told she had to have her own Trusted Traveler membership too. It was a mad scramble getting her signed up last-minute!"

Meanwhile, Isabelle from France prioritized passports for her infant son Henri right away. "Since we travel often between France and the U.S. where my husband's family lives, I knew getting Henri's passport expedited was crucial," she explains. "The peace of mind of having his picture ID on hand is worth every euro and the hassle of the newborn photo session!"

See how everyone can now afford to fly Business Class and book 5 Star Hotels with Mighty Travels Premium! Get started for free.