I love the episode from Friends where Phoebe and Mike change their names after getting married. If only I could get away with a name like “Princess Consuela Bananahammock.” They sure make the name changing process look a lot easier and funnier than it actually is. At best, the whole process is just time consuming. But if you don’t have your correct forms of identification or don’t go in the correct order it can easily become maddening.
To make your life a little easier, let’s go through the process and the correct forms of identification you’ll need:
It’s important to note that if you’ve made any airline reservations in your maiden name then you’re not going to want to change your name until after your flight. Unfortunately, most airline companies won’t allow you to change your name on the ticket and you’ll need your Driver’s License and Passport in your maiden name to use your ticket.
To begin, make sure that you have your marriage license. If you didn’t receive it or can’t find it then call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get certified copies. In general, it’s good to have certified copies just in case.
I also found it was easiest to collect all my identification information and bring it with me to each appointment so that I was prepared:
Social Security Card
Social Security Card – The next step is to correct your Social Security card. You’ll need to fill out the application and take it to your local Social Security office. You’ll need proof of identification and your marriage license. It’ll take about 10 days for you to receive your new card. Your number will remain the same, but your name will have changed.
Driver’s License – Once you have your updated Social Security card you’ll need to go to your local DMV to updated your Driver’s License. This will vary state-by-state, but in general you’ll need multiple forms of identification, your new Social Security card and again, your marriage license.
Bank Accounts – Again this will vary, but most banks require that you go to one of their branches to change or add names. You’ll need your marriage license and your new Driver’s License. It’s also important to note that you’ll need to bring your spouse if you’re adding each other to bank accounts. You’ll also want to get new debit cards and checks with the updated information.
Passport – For your Passport you will need to get a whole new one. Passports that have been issued for under a year do not have to pay processing fees. Passports that have been issued for longer than a year will have to pay processing fees. You’ll need to fill out the correct form, your current Passport, the original or certified name change document (marriage license) and a color Passport photo. You’ll either need to mail or take these documents to an acceptance facility or Passport agency depending on your form.
Other important documents to update:
Insurance (Health, Auto, Home and Life – also make sure to change your beneficiary)
Landlord or Mortgage Company
Attorney (for legal documents like your will)
Voter Registration Office (you can often update this at the DMV)
Schools & Alumni Associations
There are some businesses like HitchSwitch or MissNowMrs that you can pay to update your name. However, I did not feel comfortable giving these companies all my information and instead found the time to do it myself.