The Name Game - Changing Your Name After You Get Married

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Changing your name after you get married sounds like an impossible feat. We have all heard countless horror stories of DMV lines and mountains of paperwork; it’s one aspect of post-married life that definitely gets a bad rap. I’m going to change your mind today and assure you that it’s not only possible to accomplish, but even easy. Once you know what you need and where to get it, the rest is a matter of just doing it. Check out this guide below on the process of changing your name and before you know it, you’ll be a name-change pro.

  1. Social Security Card 

This is hands down, your first step in the name changing process. You’ll need your SS card to update your name in other places, such as the DMV, so you absolutely need to take care of this first. And guess what? You don’t have go in person. I repeat: you don’t have to go in person! All you have to do is collect the below list of materials, fill out your application, and mail the whole package in to your local social security office ->

Here’s what you need:

    • Marriage Certificate (click here to find out how to get it!)

    • Proof of Citizenship document: birth certificate or certificate of citizenship

    • Proof of Identity document: passport, Driver’s license, or state ID card (if you’re mailing in, I definitely recommend using your passport)

    • Application 

That’s it! Seriously, that’s all it takes to get your new Social Security card. You don’t even need to mail in your old one and it’s completely free. You also have the option of going in person if you’d like to get it quicker, but those lines can be nuts, so if you want to save yourself a trip, mail that sucker in! You’ll get your new card and your documents back in the mail within about two weeks.

  1. Passport

The passport process is a tad more complicated, only because there are two different forms you have to choose from, depending on the status of your passport. When it comes down to it, though, it’s still fairly easy. You can definitely swap the order of getting your passport and driver’s license, whatever floats your boat. This process is very similar to the above, you just collect your materials and either mail it in or go in person. You have two options:

  1. If your passport has been renewed or received for the first time within the last year you will need:

    • Form DS5504

    • Most recent passport

    • Marriage Certificate

    • Passport photo (you can get this at most drug stores or the Post Office)

  1. If you are changing your name more than one year after your passport was last issued and you are eligible to renew by mail, which you can check by following the link below for form DS82, you need:

Once you have all those documents compiled, the next (and final) step is mailing them in. There are a few mailing addresses to choose from, depending on what state you’re in, so find the one that applies to you on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Again, you’ll get your updated passport back within a few weeks along with all your documents.

  1. Driver’s License or State I.D.

It’s time to face the dreaded DMV. There’s no shortcut around this one, but there are a few ways to make your life easier so check out these steps below and I promise you’ll do great.

  • Make sure you wait for your new Social Security card to arrive before going to the DMV. You don’t need to bring it with you, but the DMV verifies your name change electronically with the SS administration, so ensuring that change has been completed is crucial.

  • Make an appointment. Just do it. You’ll save yourself so much time and energy. It may be super far out, which is frustrating, but it’s worth it to have an appointment.

  • Fill out your application online so it’s ready to go when you get there.

  • Bring your Marriage Certificate and Driver’s License with you.

  • Be prepared to pay the fee, which is usually $28.

  • Remember that you will have to take a new photo, there’s no way around that!

See, that wasn’t so bad, right? It takes about 30-60 days to get your new Driver’s License in the mail and then you are off to the races.