You’ve taken the plunge and decided to either take your spouse's last name or create your own last name with your partner after the wedding. So, er, how do you change your name after marriage, exactly? And how do you make sure you've covered all the name-change-after-marriage bases? Don't sweat it, we've got you covered.
The first step in legally changing your name after marriage is to make your new name official on all of your legal and personal documents. To do this, you’ll need a few certified copies of your marriage certificate and your old IDs (including passport, driver’s license and Social Security card). Once you have those documents together, you’re ready to start tackling the project of legally changing your name after marriage! Know that the name change process takes time — for many people it could take a year or more to fully switch over — so don’t feel frustrated if it seems like this is taking forever.
Changing your name after marriage? Here's exactly where and how to do it.
Not all of these will apply to you, but you should feel free to print this out and cross off relevant items as you complete the process.
Social Security Card
The first stop the journey of changing your name after marriage should be the Social Security Administration (SSA) office; in some states, the DMV and other offices will require you to show a Social Security card in your married name to move forward. Check this link for a step-by-step guide to correcting the name on your Social Security card; you’ll need your marriage certificate, ID, this form and possibly proof of citizenship (learn more here) to make the change.
Next up: the DMV. Driver’s license name-change requirements vary from state to state, so Google “changing my name on my [state name] driver’s license” and you should find everything you need to know. Be sure to visit your state’s official DMV website (it will have a .gov address). You’ll need your marriage certificate and photo ID, along with an official form and possibly your Social Security card.
The requirements for changing your name on your passport vary according to when your passport was issued, so check here to see which category you fall into. Be ready to show proof of citizenship, your marriage certificate, a color passport photo and possibly your photo ID.
Bank Cards and Credit Cards
Changing your name with your bank or credit union could require an in-person visit, but you may be able to make the switch over the phone, too. Call your financial institution and let them know you’re newly married and have changed your name—they’ll help you figure things out from there. Remember to change your name on all of your accounts, including your credit cards.
If you have a green card, visa or other immigration document that lists your pre-marriage name, you’ll need to change it before you can travel again after your honeymoon (always book your honeymoon using the name on your passport and immigration documents. You won’t officially be Mrs. or Mr. New Name until you’ve visited Social Security, the DMV and other offices on this list!) Google “changing my last name on [name of immigration document]” to find out the steps you need to take to update your documents. If you have an immigration lawyer, they can help you with this.
This one’s pretty straightforward: Call your landlord! They may want to see your marriage certificate and driver’s license, but they’ll let you know over the phone.
You will likely need to show your marriage certificate and new Social Security card to update your loan documents; call your creditors and ask them exactly what to do, where to go and if you can change your name by mail or phone.
This process will vary state by state but will, at the minimum, require you to show your marriage certificate and fill out a form. Google “changing my name on my car title/registration in [state]” to find your local DMV’s requirements.
Once you have your new Social Security card, you’ll need to show it to your employer and have them update your last name on their payroll accounts. That helps ensure that the SSA keeps accurate count of how much you’ve paid into Social Security. Your employer will also need to update your name on your health, dental and other benefit accounts to prevent any gaps in coverage.