Changing your last name after you’re married requires more than just updating your driver’s license. Every important document and account in your name—from your Social Security card and bank accounts to your passport—must be addressed individually. You might have to jump through a few hoops, but the process isn’t overly complicated.
When it’s all said and done, changing your last name after your wedding is really up to you. If you do plan on taking your spouse’s name, this simple guide will help you get it done.
1. Get Your Marriage License and Certified Copies
Before you can begin the process to change your last name, you will need the original or certified copy of your marriage license. If a copy wasn’t automatically mailed to you, call the county clerk’s office where your license was filed to obtain a copy. Keep this with you while changing all your official documents so you can have a smooth and easy transition.
2. Update Your Social Security Card
The next step in changing your name after marriage is to obtain a new Social Security card. Your number will stay the same; the card will simply be updated with your new last name. Fill out an application for a new social security card. Then, take the application in to your local Social Security Administration office. You should receive a new card within 10 business days. See what documents you need to obtain your new Social Security card .
3. Get a New Driver’s License
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. Make 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.
4. Get a New Passport
Your driver’s license or state-issued ID will work for travel inside the US. But if you’re planning to traveling internationally, you will need to update your passport.
If your passport is less than a year old, then updating your name is free. But if your passport is more than a year old, you’ll need to pay a processing fee for your new passport.
You’ll need to fill out one of these three different forms: DS-82 if your passport was issued more than a year ago, DS-5504 if your passport was issued less than a year ago, or DS-11 if your passport has been expired for more than five years.
Mail in the completed form along with the required proof of identity, a color photograph of yourself, and pay the applicable fees.
Applications can take up to six weeks for the standard processing or up to three weeks for expedited service.
You will receive your new passport in the mail, as well as the old passport back with a hole punched through the center.
5. Change the Name on Your Bank Accounts
To change the name on your bank account, most banks require you to visit a branch office with an updated photo ID (driver’s license or passport) and your marriage certificate.
While you’re there, ask for new debit/credit cards and blank checks.
If you want to add your spouse to your account or open a joint account, make sure your spouse goes with you.
If you don’t live near a branch location, call the bank’s customer support phone number or the number on the back of your debit card.
6. Change the Name on Your Credit Cards
The process for changing your name on your credit cards will vary from company to company. For example, American Express has a form on its website (in the Account Services tab) where you can edit your personal information. You’ll need to upload a supporting document (it requests your driver’s license, state ID card, or passport) that shows your new name, and once processed, a new card will be mailed to you. Other companies will request that a certified copy of your marriage license be mailed to them in order to process the change. Contact your credit card company directly to determine the best way to have a card issued with your new name.
7. Provide Your New Name and Banking Information to Your Employer
Now that your ID and bank accounts match, contact your company’s human resources office or payroll processor to provide your new information as soon as possible. This way your checks will be issued with the correct name, and direct deposits will be processed correctly.
8. Update Payment Info With Your Mortgage and Utility Companies
With your new name and new payment information, you will need to update the payment information for your mortgage or rent and your utility companies. Most can be easily updated online in your account portal or on the phone, and it should be simple as just typing in your new last name and entering your new credit card number or bank routing information.
9. United States Postal Service
To update your last name with the United States Postal Service you can complete the Change of Address (or Name) form. Or you can opt to use their online application for account updates. Within a week your mail carrier will know that mail in your new married name belongs in your mailbox!
10. Social Media/Email
And lastly, one of the easiest and most satisfying name changes after marriage are across social media. Facebook makes the transition of changing your name easy, and you can decide to keep your Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter handles the same, while changing the name associated with your account. Or you can create a new account, or a joint account with your spouse depending on what suits your needs and relationship. Email accounts can be updated using your account settings tabs.
If entire process of changing name seems too overwhelming, you may want to consider using a name-change concierge service.
Sites like Newly Named take on all of the work of changing your name. You simply fill out a questionnaire that helps them compile the necessary documents for you to submit to the various institutions that I listed above.
This process still requires you to fill out most of the necessary paperwork and deliver it to the right place, but they make sure you know exactly what to do, where to go, and in what order. As with every service, the convenience is going to cost you, but honestly not that much! Newly Named has two different packages. The basic (print at home) package is $39 and includes auto-filled applications, online document access, step-by-step instructions, and name change support. Their name-change kit is $99 and it includes pre-printed versions of the forms from the basic package as well as prepaid mailing envelopes.
I’ve had couples who have used this service and swear by it. It’s especially great for people with hectic work schedules because you don’t have time to compile all of the paperwork while balancing your nine-to-five.