If a US resident (but not citizen) changed their name in the US and got a re-issued green card with that new name, the original foreign passport is still in the old name.

How do you buy tickets to fly internationally then? Using the new name or the old name? (I imagine you'd also have to carry some documents proving the change of the name with you, but even given that, the documents might not be officially recognized outside of the US.)

Is there (or how to approach looking for) an official document regulating what to do in cases like this?

  • The air tickets need to be in the name of your passport, because you require a passport for most international travel. A name change document will not be sufficient for that purpose. [Going to Canada you may be able to travel on your green card (I am not certain).] Your problem is getting re-admitted to the United States at the end of your trip. Do you still have the Immigrant Visa in your current passport?
    – Calchas
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:11
  • 3
    I would advise you to get a new passport in your new name.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:21
  • @Calchas that's exactly the problem -- getting readmitted to the US on the way back. You're right, still having a visa helps because it means I don't need anything except of passport to fly back. Getting a new foreign passport being in the US is tricky for citizens of certain countries. Which poses another problem actually -- imagine getting a new passport outside of the US (that also means loosing the old passport). So now I get stuck with the new passport with a new name in it, but the ticket is still in the old name.
    – Nikita R.
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:25
  • 1
    It is not hard to obtain a new passport in the USA, although the name change may complicate things, you need to speak to your embassy in Washington DC. Once you have a new passport your old passport will be returned to you in an invalidated form (with the corner chopped off).
    – Calchas
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:31

2 Answers 2


The ticket needs to be purchased in the (old) name listed inside the passport. You may also have to provide a passport number, which obviously also needs to match the passport you wish to travel on.

I assume the change-of-name is due to marriage. In this case US law allows you to continue to use your maiden name for legal matters. We have previously (accidentally) purchased tickets for my wife under her maiden name, while her passport was already updated and it wasn't a problem, but this might vary from airline to airline.

As advised before, I strongly recommend applying for a new passport, which should be possible through your embassy. If you plan to travel soon, they often allow expedited processing (for a fee). You can often even get a temporary passport issued directly at the embassy (imagine you lost your passport and need to travel home tomorrow - such documents are generally accepted internationally.

You will (under normal circumstanced) be allowed to keep your current passport (invalidated by your embassy), due to the US VISA inside. For a while I had to travel with two passports constantly as you are not allowed to remove the US VISA.


As a green card holder you don't need a passport at all to re-renter the US, only your green card. Of course, leaving the other country will most likely require a passport, but not entering the US.

So use your name on the green card, because the green card is all you need to present at check-in, as well as US border control.

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