Changing your last name is very exciting, but just because your marriage license has your new name on it does not mean that your last name is officially changed. You have to spend a lot of time filling out government forms and sitting on hold, but I promise, in the end it will be worth it when you have your new name.

 The first step is to get a copy of your marriage license. This is the most important step and you cannot move on to any other steps without having a copy of your marriage license. You can purchase copies in advance and it is probably best to purchase three copies to start so you have a few backups. Keep your certificate stashed somewhere safe and keep certified copies on hand because you’ll need them!

 The next step is to update your social security card. Now that you have a copy of your marriage license, you need to let the government know that you have a new name. There are two ways to do this. You can either apply for a new social security card by mail or stop into your local social security office.

If you plan on going into the office in person, save yourself some time by filling out the application for a new card in advance. You will also need these other documents:

  • Proof of Citizenship – bring in your birth certificate or passport
  • Proof of Name Change – make sure you have that marriage license on you!
  • Proof of Identity – this requires your name, date of birth or current age, and a recent photograph. You can prove this with your driver’s license or passport
  • Your current Social Security Card – you will keep the same number when your change your name

 The third step is to get a new driver’s license. After going to the Social Security office, it is best to wait at least 24 hours before going to the DMV so the computer system has time to update and process your recent name change. When going to the DMV you will need to bring:

  • The receipt from the social security office or your new card if you have it already
  • Your current driver’s license
  • Proof of address – this can be done through a mortgage document, insurance payment, or bank statement that is mailed to your home
  • A certified copy of your marriage license
  • Cash or checkbook – the DMV charges a credit card processing fee so you will save money by paying with cash or check!

The fourth step is to get a new passport or travel document. If your passport was issued less than a year ago, then you will be able to make these changes without a fee! However, if you have had your current passport for a year or more then the charge is $110 to get a new passport book. All passport changes must be applied for by mail. You will need to send the following documents to the National Passport Processing Center:

  • Completed form DS-82
  • Certified copy of your marriage license (see, it’s good to have many copies!)
  • Your current passport
  • A check for your passport fee. You can make it out to “U.S. Department of State”
  • A 2x2 photo that meets passport requirements

 The fifth step is to change your bank accounts. Don’t fret, this one is simpler than your passport changes.  Most banks require that name changes be made in person rather than over the phone or through the mail. You are going to need to bring the following documents with you:

  • A certified copy of your marriage license
  • Your new social security card
  • Your new driver’s license

 Finally you will need to fill in the blanks on this final list. Once you have your new social security card, license, and a copy of your marriage license the rest of these changes should be rather easy if you have those documents on you. Be sure to notify:

  • Employers/payroll
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance companies (home, auto, life)
  • Post office
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Voters registration office
  • Doctor’s office
  • Your Attorney (to update legal documents and your will)
  • Airlines (to transfer your miles)
  • Investment account providers

 Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry too much! Yes, this is a long process, but it will all be worth it when you are relaxing on the beach at your honeymoon with the man of your dreams! Something to think about: you will need to decide which name you will use professionally in emails and with clients and coworkers. When you return from your honeymoon, start introducing yourself with your new name so people will begin to familiarize themselves with it. It will sound weird at first and your signature will look like you are 10 years old again, but, with time, you will get used to it.


This post was written by Ring Cam blogger, Bailey Berberich