how to change your name after marriage

How to Change Your Name After Marriage — A Step-by-Step Guide

Marriage has many firsts, from buying your own house together to having your first fight to having your first child — marriage is a beautiful rollercoaster. One of the first firsts is changing your name after marriage.

Many women want to change their surname after getting married, but the legal process seems frustrating and long. If you’re in the same boat, do you know how to change your name after marriage? You must be anxious about the process, and we have the ultimate checklist for you.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage

Happy couple after marriage

Congratulations on your marriage, and welcome to a wild ride of ups and downs filled with love and warmth. There is a good chance that you have questions about changing your name now.

There are multiple steps to changing your surname after marriage. To save you the trouble of going forth and back to the clerk’s office, we have a step-by-step guide for you.

You might also be interested in reading about tips for a successful relationship as well as the reasons why you should go for it.

Collect All Your Paperwork

The first step is to collect all the paperwork you need. Usually, it includes your social security card and birth certificate. You should get the list of required documents from the clerk’s office to prevent delays.

You may also have to collect other documents that prove your citizenship. Make sure you collect all these documents in a file and create multiple copies to have quick access to them whenever you need them.

Get a Copy of the Marriage License

After collecting your official identification documents, you must collect the marriage license and attach a copy with the form. You can order a copy of the marriage license from the court or local government office.

As a friendly reminder, you should make multiple copies of the marriage license, as you may need it again in the future.

In addition to the marriage license, you can attach a copy of the wedding announcement or the nuptials article — these are optional documents but quicken the process.

Remember that the original marriage license will remain with the government. Nonetheless, the courthouse will issue a government-certified copy that’s accepted in all institutes — government and private.

Submit the Application for a New Security Card

Once you submit the necessary documents, you must apply for a new social security card.

Download the application form, fill it out, and submit it to the Social Security Administration (SSA). They will provide a new social security card with your updated name within a few days.

After receiving the card, you can apply to change your name on other documents. Updating the social security card is essential because the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires users to show their new cards after getting married.

Get a New Driver’s License and Identification Card

The next step is getting a new driver’s license and identification card.

To update your ID, you must have a file containing the required documents such as an updated social security card, a copy of the marriage license, a photo ID, and a birth certificate.

Once you have your updated ID, it will be easier to update other documents. You should visit the official DMV website of your state to gain more information.

Lastly, you should wait for 24 hours before going to the DMV, as it takes a few hours to update your new name in the government records.

Update Bank Documents

To update bank documents, you must visit your parent branch. However, if you no longer live near it, ask the bank to transfer your application to your nearest branch. The process should take less than five minutes if you bring your updated documents with you.

If you don’t know the process, you can talk to the bank manager and tell them the reason for changing the surname.

Don’t forget to change the name on your checkbook and banking cards, too. If you want to add your partner to the account, they must go with you.

Update Your Passport

When you change the name on your documents, it’s important to apply for a new passport as well, especially if you travel frequently.

Usually, you have to fill out and submit the DS-82 form or the DS-5504 form, along with proof of citizenship, a colored passport picture, photo ID, and a marriage certificate.

The forms are different according to how long after passport issuance you are getting the name changed, so ask the officials.

Change Information at Work

It should be easy to change your name at your workplace. You only need to provide your updated social security card and bank account information to complete the process. Also, if your employer provides 401(k) and savings accounts for retirement, do get the records updated.

Other Documents to Consider

After changing your name on your bank documents, passport, and work documents, you should change the following documents as well;

  • Immigration card: call your immigration lawyer to make sure your green card or visa documents are updated, as it’s important to streamline the ticket booking process.
  • Loans: you must show your new social security card and marriage certificate to update loan documents. You have to contact the creditors and get information about the process and confirm if you can get your surname changed by phone, mail, or office visit.
  • Lease agreement: if your partner is moving in with you, you should call your landlord to update the lease agreement. Usually, the landlord asks for a new driver’s license and marriage certificate.
  • Mortgage: if you have taken a home loan, you should contact the lender and ask them to change the surname. It’s a good option if you want to refinance the loan and add your partner to the mortgage.

These are all the places where you should change your name. As a friendly reminder, get the documents updated on your insurance and at your doctor’s office to prevent any issues if you have to seek medical help.

How Soon Can You Apply for a Surname Change?

closeup of applicant completing application form

You can apply to change your name as soon as you get married and have access to the marriage license. In case you are worried about how long it takes, it depends on the load in the clerk’s office. It’s better to wait until you get the marriage license certified, as it smoothens the process.

Usually, the duration ranges from two months to a year, depending on your document status. You should try collecting and submitting all the required documents at once, so your application is processed quickly.

Costs of Changing the Surname

Legally changing your surname usually ranges from $100 to $500, depending on your state or city.

In most cases, it’s more expensive to hyphenate your current surname with your spouse’s name, and it also takes longer. For this reason, it’s better to visit the clerk’s office to get an accurate estimate.


Changing your last name after the wedding sounds exciting.

However, the long and time-consuming process can be a hassle for new couples, but following the steps in this post will smoothen the process. Now you know how to change your name after marriage.

Don’t forget to check out the article about tips for a long-lasting marriage to ensure you and your partner share a long and happy life together.