Just because you have a marriage license with your new last name, doesn’t mean you’ve officially changed your name. Also, your maiden name appears in lots of places and so you’ve got some important steps to take in order to legally change your name after marriage and enjoy living with it in all aspects of your newlywed life.
While changing your name after the wedding is not too complicated, it can be time-consuming. There’s a sequence that you need to follow, and in this article, we cover everything you need to do step-by-step.
Choose Your New Name
In the U.S., we have a great deal of freedom to choose a new name–but it’s not absolute. That’s why, before we get into the process of changing your name, we should determine whether your proposed name change is legal.
The most important document in the name change process is your marriage certificate. You will need several certified copies, which you can request from the clerk of the county in which you were married.
After you have procured certified copies of your marriage certificate, you’ll need to download Form SS-5 (PDF) from the Social Security Administration, which you’ll need to complete and take to your local Social Security office in person.
Along with the completed form, you should bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate as well as other proof of your identity and citizenship or lawful immigration status (driver’s license or passport).
Because most people’s main form of identification is their driver’s license, you’ll want to get your name changed on that as well. Again, the rules of Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) vary slightly, so be sure to check what your state requires before setting off on this quest.
Some DMVs may need only your marriage certificate while others require a copy of your new Social Security card. Moreover, some may have you complete an entirely new application and even get a new photo. The same process usually applies to a state-issued identification card.