While there is no law requiring you to change your name after you get married, many couples do decide to share a last name. Changing your name after marriage isn't complicated, but it does require you to fill out a lot of documents. Here's a checklist to help you make the process a bit easier.
Name change laws vary by jurisdiction, which means you should always be sure to check with local laws prior to beginning the process. In most states, a name change can be done by filling out some forms.
Your marriage certificate is the most important document in the name change process. To save yourself time, you can get a couple of certified copies from the local county clerk’s office..
Once you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate, download Form SS-5 from the Social Security Administration, which you’ll need to complete and take to your local Social Security office in person or mail in.
You will be required to provide them with the completed form, as well as a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and proof of your identity such as driver’s license or passport.
Since a driver’s license is likely your main form of identification, this is an important document to have your name changed on. The requirements to change your name with the DMV will vary from state to state so be sure to check what your state requires first.
Some DMV offices will only your marriage certificate while others require a copy of your new Social Security card. You may also have to fill out a new application and take a new photo. The same process will typically apply to a state-issued identification card.
While changing your license, you may also want to change the name on your vehicle title and registration as well.
The process for changing your name on your passport varies depending on when your passport was issued. If your current passport was issued less than a year ago, you’ll need:
If your passport was issued more than a year ago and you’re eligible to request the change by mail, you’ll need:
For other special circumstances for applying for a new passport visit the US Department of State website.
When changing your name after marriage its advisable to get your name changed on any and all official documents, which may include:
Since each document you need to change in the name change process can take a few weeks, it's best to begin as early as possible.