How Long Do You Have to Change Your Name After Getting Married?

How Long Do You Have to Change Your Name After Getting Married?

Changing your name after getting married may seem straightforward, but it can be full of nuances and specific steps that may vary depending on your location and the timeline within which you wish to complete this task. 

To provide a comprehensive guide on this subject, we will delve into the processes required, variations between states, and possible wait times to receive legal documentation. 

While it can take as little as a couple of weeks to change your name successfully, it is not uncommon for the process to take up to several months in some cases.

Armed with accurate and up-to-date information, you can confidently navigate this essential post-marriage step.

How soon after marriage should I change my name?

Marriage Certificate Requirements

After getting married, you’ll need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name. Each state has different requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate.

Contact the county or state office that issued your marriage license for details on obtaining a certified copy.

Name Change Procedure

The name change procedure varies by state, but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Obtain a marriage certificate
  2. Complete an application for a new Social Security card with your new name
  3. Apply for a new driver’s license or state-issued ID with your new name
  4. Update your name with other government agencies and organizations as needed

Remember to check your state’s specific requirements for name changes.

Court Order Process

In some cases, a court order may be necessary for a legal name change. This involves:

  • Filing a name change petition with your local state court
  • Paying any applicable fees
  • Attending a court hearing for approval
  • Obtaining a copy of the court order granting permission for the name change

Social Security Administration

To change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you will need to:

  1. Complete Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with your new name
  2. Provide evidence of your identity, marriage, and U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status
  3. Mail the completed form and supporting documents to your local SSA office or submit them in person

Note that your Social Security number won’t change, but your legal name will.

Department of Motor Vehicles

To update your name on your driver’s license or state-issued ID, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office with:

  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Your current driver’s license or ID
  • Any additional documentation your state requires (such as proof of residency)
  • Payment for any applicable fees

Each state has different notification intervals for name changes. Common deadlines are 10, 30, and 60 days.

Check your state’s specific requirements to ensure you comply with their rules and regulations.

Please keep in mind that the process may vary depending on your location.

Some states may require additional steps, such as criminal background checks or fingerprints, which will involve extra fees. Research your state’s specific guidelines to ensure a smooth and successful name change.

Updating Personal Documents

After getting married, it’s important to update your personal documents to reflect your new last name.

This section will guide you through the process of updating various documents, such as your passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and acquiring proof of your name change.


To update your passport with your new last name, you will need to apply for a new one. You will need:

  • Your current passport
  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • A completed DS-82 passport renewal form
  • An updated passport photo
  • The appropriate fees

Apply by mail or in person to a passport acceptance facility. The process may take several weeks to complete, so plan accordingly.

Birth Certificate

In most cases, updating your birth certificate may not be necessary, as your marriage certificate acts as legal proof of your name change.

However, if your state requires, contact the vital records office where your birth certificate was issued to inquire about the process and requirements.

Driver’s License

When updating your driver’s license, it’s essential to wait 24 to 48 hours after changing your name with Social Security to give their database time to refresh.

To change the name on your driver’s license, you will need the following:

  • Your current driver’s license
  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Additional documents as required by your state (e.g., Social Security card, proof of residency)

Visit your local DMV office with the required documents to apply for a new driver’s license with your updated name.

Proof of Name Change

Proof of your name change is crucial for various purposes, such as opening new bank accounts or applying for loans. 

Your marriage certificate serves as a primary document proving your new last name. Ensure you obtain several certified copies of your marriage certificate for this purpose.

Obtain them from the office where your marriage was recorded, and keep them safe.

Financial and Banking Updates

Is it okay not to change surname after marriage?

When you change your name after getting married, updating your financial and banking information to reflect your new name is important. 

This section covers updating your bank accounts, credit cards, mortgage and loans, and investment accounts.

Credit Cards

To update your name on your credit cards:

  1. Contact your credit card company’s customer service department.
  2. Give them your valid government-issued ID with your new name and marriage certificate as proof.
  3. Request a new credit card with updated information.

Credit card companies might charge a fee for issuing a new card, so check with your provider.

Investment Accounts

To update your name on investment accounts:

  1. Contact the financial institution where your investments are held.
  2. Give them your updated government-issued ID and marriage certificate as proof of name change.
  3. Request to update your name on your investment accounts.

Remember to update your name with the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, and your passport.

It is essential to have consistent information across all your official documents, IDs, and financial accounts.

Notifying Relevant Entities

When changing your name after marriage, you must notify various entities to ensure a smooth transition.

The following sub-sections outline some critical organizations to inform of your name change.

Employers and Schools

Informing your employer about your name change is crucial for updating payroll, tax documents, and other records. Provide them with a copy of your marriage certificate as proof.

If you are attending or have graduated from a school or university, you should also notify them to update their alumni and academic records. Consider the following steps:

  • Submit a name change request to your employer’s HR department.
  • Provide a copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Request updates on any school or alumni records.

Government Agencies

Updating your name with various government agencies is essential for maintaining accurate records.

These organizations include the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Follow these recommendations:

  • Visit your local DMV office with your marriage certificate to update your driver’s license or state ID.
  • Contact the SSA to request a new Social Security card reflecting your new name.

Health Insurance

Inform your health insurance provider of your name change to avoid any disruptions in coverage. Consider taking the following actions:

  • Call your health insurance company to request a name change.
  • Follow their process, which may include providing documentation.

Voter Registration

Finally, don’t forget to update your voter registration with your new name. To accomplish this, take the following steps:

  • Visit your local county election office or contact them by mail or email.
  • Fill out a new voter registration application with your updated information.

Name Change Considerations

When changing your name after getting married, there are various factors to consider.

This section will discuss options, such as changing your name after divorce, hyphenating your last name, and adopting your spouse’s last name.

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Suppose you decide to change your name after a divorce.

In that case, the process typically involves completing an application, providing proof of identification and the official proof of the name change, and paying a small fee. 

Laws vary by state, and it may take several weeks or months to receive your certificate of the name change.

Adopting Your Spouse’s Last Name

Adopting your spouse’s last name is the most common option for name changes after marriage. This involves legally changing your name to your spouse’s last name. To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Update your Social Security card with your new last name. You must mail your completed form to your local Social Security office or apply in person. Your Social Security number won’t change, but your legal name will.
  • Update your new last name with your driver’s license, passport, and other photo IDs.

It’s important to note that your name does not automatically change when you get married. You must go through the proper steps to change your name after marriage.

The process can take several weeks or months, depending on the state and the documentation required.

Additional Information

How can I change my marital status?

Change of Address

When changing your last name after marriage, you may need to update your address if you’ve moved.

Although changing your name with the USPS isn’t required, it’s still a good idea to ensure a smooth transition for your mail delivery. Updating your address can be easily done online.

Real ID Requirements

If you’re updating your driver’s license or other identification documents, you might want to consider obtaining a Real ID-compliant card. 

Real ID is a set of federal guidelines for identification documents, such as driver’s licenses, required for domestic air travel and entering certain federal facilities starting May 3, 2023.

States may have different requirements for obtaining a Real ID, so check with your local DMV for specifics.

Proof of Address

To update your name on various documents and accounts, you must provide proof of your new address. This can include:

  • Utility bills
  • Lease or mortgage agreement
  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs

It’s a good idea to gather these documents ahead of time to make the process smoother.

Final Thoughts

Legal or cultural restrictions may apply to change your last name. Some examples are:

  • Rude or confusing names: You may not be permitted to change your name to something considered offensive or misleading.
  • Trademarked names: You cannot change your name to a previously trademarked name or one that could infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights.
  • Criminal punishment: If you are trying to change your name to avoid criminal punishment or liability, you may be denied the name change.
  • Good character: In some jurisdictions, you may need to prove that you are of good character or not changing your name for fraudulent purposes.

It’s essential to consider these restrictions and consult with legal advice if necessary when planning to change your last name after getting married.