Expert Advice/Newlywed Life/LegalArrowLegal

How to Change Your Name After the Wedding: 2023 Guide

Navigate the name-changing process after marriage seamlessly. Our comprehensive guide offers step-by-step instructions for a smooth transition.

Changing your name after marriage? Use this name change checklist so you don’t miss a step, including the time required for each document.
Photo by Zola

There are more things to do after getting married than getting those thank you cards mailed on time. (Kudos if you’ve already checked that off!) Changing your name after marriage might be one of them. While this may feel like a daunting task, it’s much simpler than you’d expect once you get the ball rolling. That’s where our handy guide comes in, compiling all the necessary steps to change your name after marriage and even the time commitment for each.

First things first, you’ll need to have a certified copy of your marriage certificate on hand. Once you have that, you can work your way through the steps listed below to cover the most important bases.

Head straight to our printable name change checklist, or jump to a different section below:

  1. Get a copy of your marriage certificate
  2. Apply for a new Social Security card
  3. Apply for a new driver’s license
  4. Update your passport
  5. Update your car title and registration
  6. Notify your employer
  7. Notify the United States Postal Service (USPS)
  8. Update your voter registration information
  9. Update your bank accounts and other financial accounts
  10. Update other personal accounts

Now, let's get into it!

1. Get a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate

Time commitment: 20 minutes

Changing your name after marriage first requires a certified physical copy of your marriage certificate. Not to be confused with your marriage license, which is the legal document obtained prior to your ceremony, your marriage certificate is a different document that verifies when and where you were legally married.

You should’ve received your official certificate when your marriage license was issued. For name-changing purposes, however, you should use a certified copy so you can hold onto the original.

A certified copy has a raised seal and can’t be created yourself. Instead, simply call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to request a copy (or two for good measure). Once you pay a small fee ($5-$20), your certified copy will be processed and mailed to you in a few business days.

Team Z tip: While you can technically use your original marriage certificate for name-changing purposes, have a few copies made instead so you can have the original on file.

2. Apply for a New Social Security Card

Time commitment: 1 afternoon


Before you can change your name anywhere else, you’ll need to apply for a new Social Security card. Head to the Social Security Administration (SSA) website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. Your Social Security number won’t change, but your legal name will.

Since you can’t submit your application online, you’ll need to mail your completed form to your local Social Security office or apply in person to receive your new card within 10 business days.

Here are the materials you’ll need to apply for a new Social Security card:

  • Valid photo ID (driver’s license, state ID card, military ID, etc.)
  • Proof of name change (certified copy of your marriage license)
  • Proof of citizenship/residence (valid passport or birth certificate)
  • Completed SS-5 form (your application)

For more information, view the SSA’s official instructions for how to apply for a new Social Security card.

Team Z tip: Your passport fulfills both the proof of identity and proof of citizenship requirements, so you might only need one document.

3. Apply for a New Driver’s License

Time commitment: 1 afternoon


Once you have your new Social Security card, head to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for an updated driver’s license (or state-issued ID card). The documents you’ll need to apply vary by state, but plan to bring the following documents:

  • Your new Social Security card
  • Current driver’s license
  • Proof of name change (a certified copy of your marriage certificate)
  • Proof of address (bank statements or mortgage documents)

Be sure to follow the instructions on your local DMV website to clarify which documents are required in your state.

4. Update Your Passport

Time commitment: 1 afternoon


If you’re planning to travel outside of the country (destination honeymoon, anyone?) you’ll need to update your passport. If you’ve had your passport for less than a year, you can do this for free—otherwise, expect to pay a fee of $130.

Here are the materials you’ll need to update your passport:

Completed application form: You'll need one of these three, depending on when your passport was issued or expired

  • Completed DS-82 form (if your passport was issued more than a year ago)
  • Completed DS-5504 form (if your passport was issued less than a year ago)
  • Completed DS-11 form (if your passport has been expired for over five years, you’ll use this form to apply for a new passport)
  • Your current U.S. passport
  • Proof of name change (a certified copy of your marriage license)
  • Valid passport photo (2”x2” color photograph of yourself stapled to your application)
  • Applicable fee (make checks payable to “U.S. Department of State”)

Complete the application form and mail it along with the required documents. If you’re applying for a brand-new passport with the DS-11 form, keep in mind this must be submitted in person at your local office. Find more thorough instructions on the Travel.State.Gov website.

5. Update Your Car Title and Registration

Time commitment: 1 afternoon

In some states, you may be able to update your car title and registration at the time you update your driver’s license, but most states require you to visit separate departments. Head to your state’s DMV website for accurate instructions on how to update your car title and registration. Each application is unique to the state you’re in, but be prepared to provide information on your vehicle and a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

6. Notify Your Employer

Time commitment: 15 minutes

Don’t forget to let your employer know about your name change. Simply contact your company’s HR department to begin the process.

7. Notify the United States Postal Service (USPS)

Time commitment: 20 minutes

While changing your name with the USPS isn’t required, you'll still want to update your new address if you’ve moved after marriage. You can do this easily online.

8. Update Your Voter Registration Information

Time commitment: 30 minutes

Updating your voter registration is easy. Simply fill out and mail the National Voter Registration Application and mail it to the address for your state listed in the State Instructions portion of the application.

Be aware of these exceptions in the following states:

  • New Hampshire doesn’t accept this application—you’ll need to visit your local election office in person.
  • Wyoming doesn’t allow you to apply by mail—you must apply in person at your local election office.
  • North Dakota doesn’t have voter registration, so no action is needed.

9. Update Your Bank Accounts and Other Financial Accounts

Time commitment: 1-2 hours

Most banks will require you to visit your local branch office in person to update your name on your bank accounts and credit cards. You’ll need to bring your updated driver’s license (or passport) and your marriage certificate. This appointment is also a good time to request new credit cards reflecting your name change, along with a new book of checks if needed.

In addition to checking and savings accounts, take care of any other financial accounts you may need to update, including:

  • Retirement accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Credit cards (if separate from where your savings and checking accounts are)
  • Mortgage loans
  • Auto loans
  • School loans

If you plan on adding your spouse to your account or opening a joint bank account, you’ll both need to appear at the appointment.

Team Z tip: Once you’ve changed your name with your bank, don’t forget to update any online payment accounts like PayPal, too.

10. Update Other Personal Accounts

Time commitment: Ongoing

Once you’ve gotten the major name change updates out of the way, you can tend to any other updates you may want to make. Your name is listed in more places than you’d think, so it may take some time to remember what needs updating. That’s OK—just update as you go!

Here’s a quick look at other potential accounts to update:

  • Utilities accounts
  • Home mortgage information
  • Cell phone/TV/internet accounts
  • Personal email and social media accounts
  • Alumni associations, professional clubs, and other organizations
  • Legal documents if you’re a business owner
  • Health care providers
  • Will and testament

Printable Name Change Checklist

Now that you know how to change your name after marriage, use our printable name change checklist to keep track of your progress!


Plus: Name Change Instructions by State

Find official name change instructions and forms by state below.

While the steps to change your name after marriage aren’t complex, it can take some time to work your way through the process—but don’t let all the steps stress you out. Take advantage of our printable name change checklist to make changing your name after marriage a breeze!

FAQs About Changing Your Name After Marriage

Still have questions about how to change your name? Find answers below.

What Is the First Thing to Do to Change Your Name?

For changing your name after marriage, the first thing you should do is get a copy of your marriage certificate—you’ll need this legal document in order to change your name.

Is It Expensive to Change Your Name?

Most steps of the name change process will require a small fee, and they can add up fast. The most expensive part of the process may be updating your passport, which typically costs $130 (or more if you need it expedited).

Is There a Deadline for a Name Change After Marriage?

No, there’s no deadline to change your name after marriage, and your marriage license doesn’t expire, either. You could wait five years before deciding to change your name after marriage, and the process would be the same.

Even more answers