No matter why you changed your name, you need to update your vital records such as your birth certificate, driver’s license and identification, and your finances. You can likely take most of these steps as slowly as you want. However, you should know that your vital records and documents will be invalid until you update them to your new name. Similarly, any contracts or agreements which you have agreed to may be invalidated until you update your name on the contract. Your first priority should be to change your birth certificate name and other identifying documents, including photo IDs and your Social Security Card.
Change Your Birth Certificate Name
If you’ve changed your name via a court order, you can legally change your birth certificate name. If you’ve changed your name because you married, you can skip this step.
- Contact the office or court processing legal name changes in your area. Ask for direction for the proper forms or petitions for your state. Fill them out with the correct office and have them notarized. They will give you a court date.
- Appear in court. If the judge approves your request, you’ll receive a certified court order.
- Contact the Vital Records office in your state. This is typically a division of the state Department of Health. You will not be able to request a name change through Vital Records Online. However, you can request a replacement birth certificate with your new name.
- You will likely have to submit a certified copy of your birth certificate, your photo ID, and your name change court order.
Unfortunately, the process for changing your birth certificate name can vary a great deal from state to state.
What If I’ve Adopted a Child and Want to Change the Birth Certificate
If you’ve adopted a child who is less than 1 year old, you may be able to legally change your child’s birth name via a court order. This means that you must contact a lawyer and submit a process according to your state’s regulations. This may be costly and may not be successful.
Updating Your Birth Certificate After Getting Married
Most states will not update your birth certificate because you are married, unless it comes with an accompanying court order.
Visiting the Social Security Office
Once you have a marriage license or a copy of your birth certificate and court order showing your legal change of name, you must begin by replacing your social security card.
You will need:
- Current Birth Certificate
- Driver’s License, Identity Card, or U.S. Passport (in some cases other documents may suffice)
- Marriage License or Court Order of Name Change
How to Update Your Driver’s License to a New Name
Once you’ve changed your name, you’ll have to update it on your driver’s license, car title, and registration. You’ll have to do this in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
You’ll need the following vital records:
- Updated social security card with your new name
- Certified birth certificate with your new name
- Marriage license or Court Order of Name Change
You may also be able to change your voter registration while at the DMV.
Updating Your Passport to a New Name
Once you have certified vital records such as your birth certificate, marriage license, and social security card in your new name, it’s a fairly simple process to update your passport. However, the process and difficulty will change depending on how long you’ve had your passport.
If Less Than One Year:
Submit Form DS-5504 along with your valid passport, your original or certified vital record such as a marriage certificate or court order and one color passport photo.
If More Than One Year:
Submit Form DS-82 along with your valid passport, your original or certified vital records such as a marriage certificate or court order, and one color passport photo.
Alternatively, if you do not have an existing passport, submit form DS-11 with evidence of a U.S. citizenship. For example, you can submit a copy of your birth certificate, your original certified vital records, a color passport, a valid ID and a copy of that ID.
Submit your form to:
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155
Updating Your Name Elsewhere
Once you’ve updated your legal documents, it’s a simple matter to request and update changes to other necessary documents. The following includes a short checklist you should go through. Keep in mind you will need a copy of your birth certificate, photo ID, and possibly your marriage license or court order of name change to make these updates.
Employer – Update W2s, 401k, health insurance, life insurance, employee benefits, email, business cards, etc. Notify any unions, boards, or professional licensing or Barring organizations of your name change.
Finances – Visit your local bank with your government issued photo ID, birth certificate, and reason of name change. Update all of your accounts including checking, checks, bank cards, credit cards, assets (property titles, deeds, trusts, IRAs, 401k) and debts.
Home – Update your home deed, rental contract, homeowners’ association or management agency, and utilities to reflect your new name.
Other – You may want to contact your healthcare providers (mental and physical), update your will, and any memberships you are a part of.
What If I Don’t Have Original Identifying Documents?
If you’ve changed your name and want to update your records, start with a copy of your original birth certificate. Unfortunately, if you’ve lost or never had it, you will have to order a copy of your birth certificate first.
Use the birth certificate application form on VitalRecordsOnline to quickly and easily order your copy. We will handle the steps to request your vital records including birth certificate or marriage certificate. That way you can prove your new identity and arrange to change your name across all your government and personal IDs. You can begin filling out the form by filling out your original birth name and then your new name separately.