How to change your name after getting married

Traditionally the bride takes the surname of her husband after marriage. It is also possible for the husband to take the wife’s surname or for the two surnames to be combined. The steps for a legal name change based on marriage are the same, whether it is the bride, groom or both partners making a change.

Marriage License
The key item needed for any marriage-based name change is a certified copy of your marriage license. This can be obtained by contacting the registrar in the locality where the marriage took place. The state’s department of vital statistics will have details on where to apply. Purchase several certified copies of your marriage license.

Passport
Changing the name on a passport can be done free of charge within the first year of marriage. Submit your current passport, Form DS-5504 (obtainable online or at any post office), a certified copy of the marriage certificate, and if applicable, two updated passport-sized photos to the address on the DS-5504.

Social Security
The SS-5 form is used to change your name on your Social Security card. Bring the completed form to the nearest Social Security office along with a certified copy of your marriage license and an identity document, such as a driver’s license. The form and evidence can also be mailed to the Social Security office for processing.

Driver’s License
The procedure for changing your name on your driver’s license varies from state to state. It usually requires an in-person visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles to submit a certified copy of your marriage license and other applicable identity verification. State ID requirements vary. Acceptable documents can include passports, bank statements, utility bills and student ID cards.

Banks
Many banks will allow a name change to be done in person. Bring the certified copy of your marriage licenses to the bank with with photo identification.

Useful Advice
Notify the following places of your name change: schools, physicians, employers, car insurance, health and life insurance and voter registration. If you are traveling out of the country soon after the wedding, make travel arrangements in the name that is on your passport.

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