Weddings

How to Change Your Last Name After You Marry

Take these steps for a new Social Security card, driver's license and more

By MiShaun Taylor

Marriage license application
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You've just gotten married and are embarking on your new life. If you're changing your name, you have some important duties to tackle. But don't be overwhelmed by paperwork. Here are tips on what documents need changing and how to do this with ease.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Have your key documents in order before you start the name-change process. Proof of your Social Security number and certified copies of your marriage license and birth certificate will generally be what you need to start the process in most places.
Steps for Changing Your Name

Step 1:

Decide on your married name. Women may change their maiden name to their husband's last name, a hyphenated version of both names or some other combination. Let your family and friends know your decision.

Step 2:

Fill out your marriage license with your new name. The first (and most important) place you will use your married name is on your marriage license. After you get married, you will fill this out with your spouse and officiant before mailing it in to make your marriage official. Write your new married name exactly the way you want it. Be sure to order extra copies of your marriage certificate so you can give them to the different agencies when changing your name on various documents.

Step 3:

Keep your maiden name on travel documents. Do not put your married name on your honeymoon travel documents. You will need your tickets to match your driver's license and passport, which will still have your maiden name on them.

Step 4:

Apply for a new driver's license. Go to your nearest DMV to apply, and be sure to bring an official copy of your marriage certificate. For additional information, contact your local DMV.

Step 5:

Apply for a new Social Security card. Download Form SS-5 from the Social Security website. Fill out this application and send it to your regional Social Security Administration office (or take it to that office in person) along with original or certified copies of your marriage certificate. You can find a list of regional SSA offices at the Social Security Administration website, SocialSecurity.gov.

Step 6:

Change your name at work. Take your new Social Security card by your human resources office to have your name changed on your tax forms and in your paycheck information. You should also tell your boss what your new name will be so you can get new business cards and have your e-mail address and other contact information updated.

Step 7:

Apply for a new passport. If you expect to travel in the near future, complete Application 5504 from the U.S. Customs website and send it to the proper passport office. That office will specify the documentation you need, as well as the fee involved. If your passport is more than one year old, you should instead fill out Form DS-82 or DS-11, depending on your circumstances. For a list of the passport offices where you send these forms, go to PassportsUSA.com.

Step 8:

Use a form letter to make additional name changes. You should think about changing your name with your bank, credit card companies, registrar of voters, utilities, insurance policies, and any other creditors you may have. These companies and agencies usually accept a simple form letter and a copy of your marriage license to change your name. For each letter, include any applicable account number, your Social Security number, your maiden name and your married name, as well as your contact information.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Always keep spare copies of your important documents in a safe place. This can be a fire safe lockbox, file cabinet or relative's house -- or perhaps all three.

About the Author

With more than 15 years of writing experience, MiShaun Taylor specializes in wedding-related articles.

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