In all the excitement of planning your wedding, it can be easy to overlook the less glamorous aspects of starting married life. Getting paperwork in order doesn’t compare with cake testing or trying on dresses, but it is just as important to pull off a perfect wedding day.
If you’re planning to change your name after marriage, this guide can help you walk through that process painlessly -- even if there is still no cake left to taste.
Many of us have the same name since birth, and the idea of changing it leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions like:
- Will I have to get a new email address?
- How will people find me on Facebook?
- Is my passport still valid with a new name?
Don’t stress. We’ll take you through the essential to change important documents like your passport, driver’s license, online profiles and more.
Whether you are hyphenating your name or changing it completely to match your new spouse, keep reading for my helpful tips on how to change your name after marriage as a US citizen.
Note: We are not lawyers and nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice. This article is for educational purposes only.
Every State is Different for Name Changes
In the US, laws concerning name changes can vary depending on which state you live in. Marriage has become a universally agreed upon reason for changing your name. Expect to find lots of resources about the process on each state government’s website.
There are some aspects to changing your name that don’t vary by state, such as updating social media profiles or getting a new email. But, you should research the specific guidelines for your unique situation as it concerns the more important documents such as driver’s license, passport and social security card.
Let’s look at an example of how this works in one particular state -- we’ll look at how to change your name in Texas.
If you need to change your driver’s license in Texas, you can have it completed in one day at your local DMV for a small fee. Check online for the forms of identification that you are required to bring with you. These usually include your original photo ID and your marriage license, as well as a pay stub with your address on it.Texas (and many other states) partner with third-party companies that specialize in name changing services. Companies like MissNowMrs provide full-service name changes that go beyond your driver’s license to include all major government documents such as your passport and social security card.
What is the most important document needed for a name change?
Throughout this process, your marriage certificate is going to be your best friend!
Think of it as your key to unlocking a new identity. For each agency you work with in the name change process, you’ll need to show government issued ID with your previous name along with your marriage license to illustrate the reason for the change.
Since almost every place you go will require the certified copy of your marriage license (not a photocopy), it’s a good idea to put your marriage license in a protective cover to keep it from getting bent or damaged throughout the process.
How much does it cost to change your name?
Like most things involving your wedding day, you’ll need to consider your budget when changing your name. Doing it all yourself can end up costing you upwards of $100 if you include processing fees, travel, and time commitment.
The simplest way to navigate the name change process is to use an all-in-one inclusive service that will handle all of the processing for a one-time fee. These fees usually range anywhere from twenty-five to one hundred dollars. Check to see if your state recommends a certain company to make the process easier on yourself.
How to change a name on a social security card?
After your driver’s license, how to change your name on your social security card is one the most important questions you will face. Since social security cards are issued federally, not by your state, the qualifications for name change are consistent between all states.Along with showing proof of identity, there is a simple form you will need to fill out. Once you download and fill out the form, you can submit it by mail or in person at your local social security office.
How to change a name on a passport
If planning your wedding includes a honeymoon full of wanderlust to locations outside the US, you’ll want to make sure your passport is up to date. This process can take some time, so plan ahead regarding the name you will use as you book flights and hotels.
The process for how to change your name on your passport is more labor intensive. Since you have to mail in your old passport, you don’t want to be caught without it.
Get this one done before you travel or wait until after you return. It is important to remember that if your name will be updated by the time your honeymoon arrives, you will want to book the flights under the new name. You can change your name on your passport online, or submit the mail-in form.
Best Name Change Services
At this point, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the name changing process. Or if you are like me who spelled my new last name wrong TWICE when changing my name on my driver’s license, you might want to consider seeking out professional name change help.
Here’s a good list of companies we recommend for people changing their name after marriage. Also, like I said above, check with your state government to see if they are partnered with a certain company in order to fast track the entire process.
Don’t let changing your name steal any joy from your wedding bliss. It may seem like a lot of paperwork, but it’s also a lot of fun to share a name with your new spouse!