How To Change Your Last Name (Without Stressing!)

 October 2, 2019

While not everyone plans on changing their last name (which is totally cool!) for those that do, the process can often feel overwhelming and confusing. Where do you start? Who do you talk to? The Ministry of Names? Send help!!

In reality, it’s actually a fairly easy process. Most of the process can be done in a single day! So let’s break it down, and you can save this post for later so if you do change your name, it’s a quick weekend errand, not a huge source of stress.

First, if you plan on traveling with your passport in the next 3-4 months, hold off on changing your name. You’ll have way more of a hassle if your passport and ID don’t match, so save this process until you don’t need your passport in the near future, because you’ll have to send it off to have that changed. There’s a specific order this all has to be done in (you need certain documents already changed in order to change others) and the passport comes last.

Second, gather what documentation you’ll need. You’ll need an official copy of your marriage certificate. This will be mailed to you approximately 2-4 weeks after you’re married and have filed your license. Gather your current social security card, ID and a few bills to show proof of address.

Third, head to the Social Security Office. The first thing to be changed is your social security card. Fill out this form beforehand and have it ready.

Next, the DMV. Everyone’s favorite place! Bring your current ID, social security card and temporary paper copy of your new social security card and of course, your patience.

Next, let your bank and utility companies know. This one’s easy. Everyone’s bank is different, so it’s best to go in to a local branch and let them know what you’d like to do. They can change your name on your accounts and request new bank cards. For utility companies, just give them a call. Have your new cards and marriage certificate on hand for this too.

Other places to think about? While you’re not required to change your name with any of these, it definitely makes it easier. Don’t forget to consider contacting your post office, doctors offices, landlord, voter registration and any other bank, credit card or mortgage companies that you haven’t already spoken to.

Lastly, your passport. In a couple weeks you’ll have gotten your official new Social Security card and ID/license in the mail. Now, you can change your passport. You can not do this until you have official copies of everything with your new name, paper temporary copies will not work. This page is pretty easy to follow, and depending on when your passport was issued, has everything you need to know. You’ll need to fill out a DS-82 form, have a new passport photo taken, and gather your old passport, your ORIGINAL marriage certificate and the appropriate fee. Send all of the above in to the address noted, and in a few months (or weeks, if you’re lucky!) they’ll send back your marriage certificate, your new passport and your old, invalidated passport.

That’s it! You’re officially official. The biggest key to this process is having all your documentation gathered before you go in, and doing things in the correct order. Put on your big kid patience pants, because you know dealing with all these official offices won’t be fun, but once you’re done, that’s it!

Want more planning tips? Find them here!