How To: Change Your Last Name


So you just got married! Congratulations, you’re ready to officially and legally become a MRS.

Even though your new marriage license has your new last name on it, that doesn't mean the process ends there.

It actually starts with obtaining your signed, sealed, and delivered marriage license from your local clerk’s office. When that comes in the mail, then you're REALLY OFFICIAL! From my experience, I found that having copies will definitely help speed up the process, but it isn’t required (unless you WANT to prolong the process due to anxiety of losing your maiden name).

There are several services out there offering to help you through the name changing process to help alleviate "the stress" after a wedding that I decided that I did not need. I don’t know about you but after paying for the wedding and honeymooning, I wasn't trying to spend any money that I did not have to spend. I took a personal day to get it all done and I wasn't stressed at all after doing my own research on where to go, what was needed, and what to do. Sometimes this thing called Google is very helpful in that way!

Below are the steps that I took in changing my name. I'm sure different fees apply depending on your state, but I guarantee it's cheaper than paying a service to do it for you.

My first stop after receiving my marriage license was The Social Security Administrator’s office. To save time, print this form and fill it out before arriving.

You will also need:

  • Your certified name change document, such as your:

    • Marriage certificate.

    • Divorce decree.

    • Court order.

  • Proof of your identity, such as your:

    • U.S. driver's license.

    • U.S. passport.

    • State-issued ID card.

  • Proof of your U.S. citizenship, such as your:

    • U.S. birth certificate.

    • Certificate of citizenship.

    • Certificate of naturalization.

FYI: All documents must be originals or certified copies. Visit the SSA website for a complete list of accepted documents.

If you don't have the personal day to take off you can mail these documents, but then you have to pay for postage and run the risk of things getting lost in the mail.  Oh yeah, all mailed documents will be sent back to you after your name change has been processed.

 OR if you're like me and want to save all your coins, you can submit the above documents in person to your local SSA office. I'm not sure about other states, but in Texas there was a virtual line that I could get in and it texted me when I was close to being next. Yeah, technology is wonderful!

Before you leave the SSA office, they will give you receipt/proof that you changed your name with them and it will have your new name with a SSA office header.

So you can either wait to get your new social or bring the receipt with you to your local DMV office and of course your marriage license to get a new Driver’s Licence, which is the regular familiar process of getting your license renewed. Per usual there is a fee.

If you have a Passport, it may be best to handle this one last because they keep the marriage license. Luckily you have a year (from your issue date) to change your name on your passport for free.

All you need to do is mail: this form, your old passport, 2 new passport photos, the fee, and your marriage license. 

You did it! The US government now recognizes your new name!

Don't forget to change:

Your W2 info at work

Insurance info

Credit Cards

Bank Account Info