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Name change (post-wedding) for US residents

Article ID: 141
Last updated: 15 Aug, 2012
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Posted: 13 Apr, 2012
by vegasgroom.
Updated: 15 Aug, 2012
by vegasgroom.

Fortunately for me, I didn't have to do any of this since I'm a guy and we don't change our names. 

Special state-specific notes:

  • In August 2012 I heard that Nevada (for Nevada residents) has changed their rules and does not allow a name change where your middle name becomes your maiden name without an extensive process.  Here's the thread: click

Here's the steps for you ladies though:

  1. First and foremost, and hopefully you're reading this before it's too late, do NOT book anything on your honeymoon in what will become your new name.  Until your ID and/or passport show your new name, you'll still have your old name and you'll have huge issues if you try to travel and/or check-in under your new name.
  2. Next, you need to be in possession of your marriage certificate from Clark County.  To get this document, follow my step by step for a Las Vegas/Clark County marriage license article:  http://www.vegasgroom.com/Step-by-step-for-a-Las-VegasClark-County-marriage-license_94.html  Steps one through five are things you do before you get married, steps six through twelve are things you do after you get married to get your marriage certificate.  Typically you'll have to wait about a week after you're married to complete those steps because the county needs time to record the marriage.  Once they do, you can order the certificate to be mailed to you.
  3. Okay, so you're married, you have your certificate from Clark County and you're ready to change your name.  The first ting you'll be doing is changing your name with the federal government via the Social Security office nearest you or by mail.  I recommend doing it in person if possible as it's quicker that way.  Additionally, you are required to do this in person if you live in the following areas:
  • Bronx, NY
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Queens, NY
  • Orlando, FL (Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties)
  • Sacramento County, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ (Maricopa County and Apache Junction)
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Greater Twin Cities Metro Area, MN

You can perform the search for a local office at the following URL:  https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp

If you do want to do it by mail or there's no close office, then you need to fill out the following application http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.pdf AND send it in with a certified copy of your marriage certificate from Clark County; i.e. the real one you got from Clark County, not a copy.  They will send your certificate back to you later.

  1. Once you have your new social security card, you can go to the DMV with your new and old cards, your marriage certificate and your current drivers license.  You must do this part in person.  Most states will charge you a small fee for the name change and printing of the new license.  In most states this will also trigger an automatic update to your voters registration but you should verify that anyway while there.  Whether you are given a new license in person or they mail it to you varies by state.
  2. Once you have your new license, you can begin the wonderful process of calling every creditor and company you do business with and start the process of updating all of them.  Typically you'll want to start with whomever you have your banking with, and credit cards; don't forget your employer.
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