Whether you’ve just been married or have been married for some time, you may wish to change your last name to that of your spouse. While the process is relatively simple, you’ll need several copies of vital records including your old IDs, your certified marriage certificate, and likely a copy of your original certified birth certificate or Passport.

The first step to changing your name after marriage is to acquire your marriage certificate. How long does it take to get a marriage certificate? In most cases, it will take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to arrive, providing you signed it at your wedding and the magistrate or officiate registered your wedding with the local county clerk. If you’re ordering your marriage certificate online from VitalRecordsOnline, you can have it in as little as 48 hours.

From there, you can use your marriage certificate to apply for and change your name. Importantly, it is not necessary to change the name on your birth certificate.

Changing Your Name on Your Social Security Card

Your social security card is one of your most important legal documents, and therefore the first item you should update after you get married.

  • Make sure you have a copy of your existing social security card
  • Photocopy your state Photo ID
  • Acquire a certified copy of your birth certificate or current Passport
  • Provide a certified copy of your marriage certificate (you won’t get it back)
  • Fill out form SS-5
  • Submit to your local social security office

It’s important to verify your identity, your original name, and your new name. If your marriage certificate is more than 2 years old, you’ll also have to provide additional documentation proving your new name and your old identity.

Updating Your Driver’s License and State ID

In most cases, you can very easily update your name on state photo identification including driver’s licenses and state IDs. However, the process, fee, and requirements will change from state to state.

Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles with:

  • Certified marriage certificate
  • Photo ID
  • Social security card showing your new name
  • Birth certificate (not always required)

If you are under 18 or a non-citizen resident of the United States, you may have to bring additional documents such as your emigration papers or your parent’s birth certificates.

Updating Your Name on Your Passport

Updating your name on your passport after marriage is fairly straightforward providing you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate and birth certificate.

If your passport was issued less than one year ago, you will need:

  • A completed form DS 5504
  • Current, valid U.S. Passport
  • Original or certified marriage certificate copy

You may also need 2 recent photos of yourself.

If your passport was issued more than 1 year ago, you will need:

  • A completed form DS-82
  • Current, valid U.S. Passport
  • 2 recent, color photographs
  • Original or certified marriage certificate copy
  • Fee as applicable in your state (Typically $0-$165)
  • Social Security Number

You will have to mail your application for a passport name change to the address listed in your application form, based on your location and the speed in which you need your passport.

Importantly, if you are traveling for your honeymoon, you will have to do so under your old name. You will not receive an original marriage certificate for 2-4 weeks after your marriage takes place.

Updating Your Legal Name

In most cases, you must update your name across your accounts, organizations, and financial obligations. You can do so by submitting a photocopy of your marriage certificate along with your photo ID. In some cases, you may be asked to provide an original certified birth certificate as proof of identity.

  • Bank accounts
  • Military organizations
  • Insurance
  • Rentals and leases
  • Mortgage
  • Property deeds and titles
  • Workplace
  • Utilities and services (phone, water, trash, sewer, etc.)

Of these, only your insurance companies are likely to require an original, certified copy of your marriage certificate. Everyone else will accept your marriage certificate, typically in combination with your new social security card and potentially your new government ID.

Changing your name after marriage typically goes very quickly, especially if you already have enough copies of your marriage certificate. If it’s been longer than a year or you have to order a replacement marriage certificate, the process may take longer.

If you’re wondering how to obtain a marriage certificate online, you can order them at VitalRecordsOnline. Ordering your marriage certificate replacement will speed up the process so that you have enough certified copies to complete your name change and get back to your life, without standing in line or traveling to the state or location where you were married.

Can anyone get a copy of a marriage certificate? – No, you’ll have to prove that you’re one of the spouses on the certificate, a close relative, or have legal or government authority to authorize your ordering the certificate.

Good luck changing your name.

 

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