Congratulations on your recent marriage! If you’re taking your new spouse’s last name, you may be wondering how to navigate the legal name change process. Even if you’ve obtained a marriage license with your new name, there are still several more steps to complete before your name change can be considered official. Here’s where to start:
Gather Your Marriage Documents
Before you can update your identification or travel documents, you’ll need to gather your original marriage license and certified copies. During the name change process, certified copies of the marriage license will act as proof of the name change itself. If you’re unsure how to obtain certified copies, you can contact the county clerk’s office where your original license was filed. Boundless also has a detailed guide on how to get a copy of your marriage certificate for immigration purposes here.
Update Your Social Security Card
After you’ve gathered the certified copies of your marriage license, you’ll need to let the U.S. government know the new name you’d like to go by. The first identification document you can change to reflect your new last name is your Social Security card. You can apply for a new Social Security card by mail or in person at a local Social Security office. Whichever method you choose, you will need to fill out an application for an updated card and show documents proving your identity, citizenship, and reason for the name change. If you’re a foreign-born U.S. citizen or immigrant, you can learn what documents apply to your specific situation here.
Change Your U.S. Driver’s License
After you’ve completed the application for an updated Social Security card, you’ll be able to obtain an updated U.S. driver’s license in your new name. Getting a new driver’s license must be done in person at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Each state has different requirements, so you’ll want to check your state’s DMV website to confirm which documents you’ll need to provide, how to schedule a license appointment, and more.
Update Your Travel Documents
Updating your travel documents so they match your other forms of identification is another important step in the name change process after marriage. If you’re a U.S. citizen, the process to update your passport varies depending on your specific situation and how long your current passport has been valid. The U.S. Department of State processes all passport changes — you can learn about which forms and documents to submit for your new passport on the State Department website. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to contact the appropriate government agency in your home country to obtain an updated passport with your married name.
A Simpler Way? Name Change Services
If you’re looking to simplify the process or obtain updated IDs right away, there are name change services that help customers complete each of these steps at one time. Services such as HitchSwitch and NewlyNamed help to expedite your name change with pre-populated government forms and step-by-step filing instructions. Both services are specifically designed for marriage-based name changes and offer personalized kits that include all of the federal and state forms you may need to complete the process successfully.