Just like most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to do your name change after you are married. There are many steps to follow, but don’t let it turn into a nightmare for you. Many people do not know where to start their changes. This usually results in making several mistakes. You need to know that it usually takes a few months to complete this process. You will learn what you need to know by reading the following information.

Certificate of Marriage

The first thing you must do is get a physical copy of your certificate of marriage. This is a legal document. It verifies the date and location of your marriage. You will need this to make a number of your name changes. Make sure the person officiating at your wedding sends you an original copy of the certificate. This might take a few weeks. It is crucial to make a copy of the original. This way, you will keep your original copy clean and fresh.

Social Security Card

The next important step is to get a new Social Security card. You begin the journey here at the Social Security Administration (SSA). This is because SSA is the link to all government agencies. You will need to download Form SS-5, follow the instructions, and submit it to the SSA office. You will also need a copy of your marriage certificate, a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license, a state-issued identification card, or your U.S. passport.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Your next visit should be to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is suggested that you call in advance to make an appointment. Waiting times, in some DMV offices, without an appointment, can take quite a long time. Here you need to update your driver’s license or your state-issued identification card. Although the REAL ID is new, it is recommended to upgrade to this federal addition. This provides you with added travel benefits. Since each state requires its documentation requirements, you will need to check the website of the DMV in your state to check out what is needed. Most states require your new social security card. Some states will accept the receipt from the SSA, showing you applied for the card. You will also need your driver’s license or an ID card, a certified copy of your marriage license, and proof of your address (you can take a piece of mail with your name and address).

name, nameplate, shield

Car Registration

Your next step is to update the title and registration of your automobile. The requirements for this update varies state by state. To save time and inconvenience, you should go online and research what you need to complete this process. You must know what documentation you need to take to your local DMV to complete this process. There is another step involved if you presently lease or finance your car. You need to contact the lienholder and inform them that you have a change in name. They will explain what you need to do to update your title.


If you plan to travel outside of the United States, you will need to update your passport. There is no charge if your passport is less than one year old. If it is older, then you will be required to pay a processing fee to have your passport updated. Depending on your status, you will need to fill out one of three different forms. If you go online, you can obtain the required information.

Voter Registration

There are several different ways you can update your voter registration information. You can visit vote.gov or download, complete, and mail the National Voter Registration Application. Three states, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and North Dakota, do not accept this procedure, so you will need to check to learn the correct process. There are usually other places, such as the DMV office where you can update your registration.

United States Postal Service

Another important step is to update your name with the United States Postal Service (USPS). This would be necessary only if you moved after your wedding. For detailed information, you can visit moversguide.usps.com for the needed information.

Bank Accounts

You will want to change the name on your bank account. Usually, most banks require a personal visit to one of their offices. You will be required to show an updated photo ID (driver’s license or passport or state identification) along with your marriage certificate. If you plan to add your spouse to an account or if you plan to open a joint account, you need to make sure your spouse goes with you.

Credit Cards

The next item on your list is to request new credit cards. You will want your name on the new card. So you can begin by calling the phone number on the back of the card. Most card companies have different rules, so they will probably vary for each of your cards. Most of the card companies will want you to submit various information. This might include a copy of your photo ID (driver’s license or passport) along with a copy of your marriage certificate. Few issuers allow you to change your new name online, but American Express is one of them.

By now, you have completed the most crucial name changes. You still have a way to go. Now it is time to go after the smaller things. You probably never realized your name is attached to so many places. We will review the most important of these additional places where you need to change your name.

  • Talk to your HR department to change information with your employer.
  • If you are a government or military employee, you can contact personnel in the payroll and benefits department.
  • Professional licenses and associations such as your doctor’s license, teacher certificate, and so forth.
  • Home mortgage, lease, or rental agreement.
  • Health, life, term disability, car, homeowners, and renters insurance.
  • Investment accounts.
  • Utilities.
  • Medical providers such as your pharmacy, doctors, and dentist office.
  • Loyalty programs such as airlines and hotels.

The rest we will place in one group: cellphone, internet and TV, online subscriptions, Email accounts, Social media accounts, Gyms/fitness centers, Child’s school, and alumni associations.

This might seem like an overwhelming task. A person going through a name change, on average, updates their name in more than 20 places. You will most likely think of other places where you need to provide this information. Update each one when you think about them.


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