You’ve taken the plunge and perhaps decided to either take your spouse's last name or create your own last name with your partner after the wedding. So you're probably considering how to change your name after marriage. Since your name does not change automatically when you get married, you have to make sure you follow all the necessary legal steps to changing your name after the wedding.
How long after getting married can you change your name?
You can actually do it ASAP. Well, as soon as you have certified copies of your marriage certificate in hand (see below). But remember that the name change after marriage 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. (Another great option is HitchSwitch, a service that literally takes care of all this name change paperwork hassle for you.)
The First 5 Steps in Changing Your Name After Marriage
Here's our step-by-step guide for kicking off the process of changing your name after the wedding. After these first five steps, you can tackle the rest of the checklist in the order that makes the most sense for you, but you'll want to stick to the order of steps we've outlined here.
Step 1: Get Certified Copies of Your Marriage Certificate
The first steps in legally changing your name after marriage involve making your married name official on all of your legal and personal documents. To complete the post-wedding name change, you’ll need a few certified copies of your marriage certificate (we recommend requesting at least three copies) and all of 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!
Step 2: Update Your Social Security Card
The first stop on the journey of how to change 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, which is why it's a great first step in the name change after marriage process.
Can you change your name on your Social Security card online? Unfortunately no, you need to go IRL, but 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.
Step 3: Now, Your Driver’s License
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.
Step 4: Next, Your Passport
The requirements for changing your name after marriage 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 (See? We told you they'd come in handy), a color passport photo and possibly your photo ID.
Step 5: Finally, Your Bank Cards and Credit Cards
Figuring out how to change after marriage 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.
Once you've completed those first necessary steps to changing your name after the wedding, it's time to chip away at the rest of your name change checklist.
Not all of these places will apply to you, and some you can complete before others, but consider this your checklist for finalizing the post-wedding name change process.
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.
Changing your name after marriage for your lease is 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 changing your name after marriage process for your car title and registration 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 change 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.
Insurance Accounts (car, life, home etc.)
Your insurance broker can help you change your name for things like your auto or home insurance, and the HR department at your workplace can help you update any life insurance plans you have through your job. If you have health insurance through a state or federal agency, or have health insurance directly through an insurance agency—and not an employer—let them know you’ve changed your name.
If you have a home loan that lists your pre-marriage name, call your lender and talk through their requirements for making a name change after marriage. You may want to add your spouse to the mortgage (if he or she is not already on it) and refinance your loan. Go over all of these options with your lender.
Contact your county’s deed office to find out how to change your name after marriage on your property title. You may need to fill out a “change of owner statement” (or the equivalent) and show your marriage certificate. This will be important if you ever decide to sell your house. You can also ask about adding your spouse to your deed at this time.
This is your gas company, water and power, internet service provider, cell phone provider and any other services that bill you, including Netflix! Call them all and let them know you’ve changed your name.
You’ve already told your insurance providers about your new married name, now it’s time to let your doctors, dentists and vets know, too. This will help prevent any difficulties at the front desk the next time you need to see a medical professional.
If you have children, stop by their school(s) and let them know you’ve changed your name after marriage, that way they have the right name on the pick-up list and know how to address you if they have to call or send home a notice.
Doctors, lawyers, nurses, notaries public and anyone else with a professional license will need to contact the relevant licensing board and get your certificates updated with your new name.
If you have a financial planner, give them a call and ask for help figuring out how to change your name after marriage on your investments. And if you have a 401k or other retirement savings account, be sure your employer or financial institution updates their records accordingly.
Don’t get caught out in the cold on Election Day! Google “change name on voter registration [state]” to find out the name-change requirements in your state.
If you’re active in your alumni association, let them know you’ve changed your name so that they can address you correctly and pass on the right name to others who might be looking for you.
Airline Frequent Flyer Programs
Each airline has a different policy when it comes to changing your name for their frequent flyer programs, so be sure to call the individual carriers where you have accounts. You may have to mail or fax in a copy of your marriage license. And if you're traveling on your honeymoon immediately after your wedding day, remember to book the ticket under your maiden name.
Social Media Accounts
Changing your name after marriage on your Facebook or Instagram is a little less important than your Social Security card and driver’s license, but definitely easier—so you’ll probably update them first! Even if you don’t want to change your handle, you can update the full name associated with your account. Here's how to do it for the major social media platforms:
- Facebook: Facebook does have certain rules associated with changing your name, but if you're simply changing to your married name, it shouldn't be a problem. Click on Settings, then Name. Adjust your name to your married one, and then save the changes. Also note that you can only change your name on Facebook once every 60 days.
- Instagram: Simply edit your profile. You may change your username and/or the name associated with your account.
- Twitter: Edit your profile to change your display name and/or username to reflect your new married moniker.
- LinkedIn: If you're changing your name professionally as well as personally, it's important to change your name on your LinkedIn profile. Click on the Me icon, then View Profile, then Edit Intro to change your last name, and save.
You may or may not choose to create a new email address once you've changed your name after marriage, depending on if the actual email address includes your maiden name. Either way, if you've changed your name, make sure you adjust the name that appears when you send email.
You’ll definitely come across smaller accounts and subscriptions with your old name as time rolls on—feel free to update those as you encounter them. Once you’ve gotten the important stuff out of the way, the rest will fall into place.