How to Change Your Last Name
words by Eve Green
Deciding whether or not to change your last name after your wedding is a deeply personal decision that requires a lot of thought. After all, it’s part of your identity that you’ve carried with you since the day you were born. Many couples today are looking to alternative options that include keeping your maiden name, hyphenating names, taking two last names, or forgoing any change at all. While we are all for doing what feels right to you, it’s still a very common choice to honor your new spouse and start your family with one shared last name. If you’ve chosen to assume the last name of your spouse, you’ll likely start going by your new name as soon as you say “I do.” However no matter what your Facebook profile or Instagram handle says, your last name won’t officially be changed until you complete the following 3 steps.
1. Get Your Marriage License
The first step to changing your last name begins before the wedding! You can find our comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about getting your marriage license here.
2. Update your Social Security Card
This is the part where you should be prepared to set aside time to wait at your county Social Security office. Many Social Security offices are open for only limited hours on weekdays, so be sure to check their hours of business before showing up. You can find your nearest Social Security office here. Most importantly, be sure you come prepared with the following required documents. Without them, you won’t have any luck getting your name changed.
Proof of citizenship: birth certificate
Form of identification: driver's license, state-issued identification, or U.S. passport
Proof of name change: your original marriage license (not a copy!)
Current Social Security card
You also can save yourself time by applying for a new Social Security card by mail. There is an online service for applying for a new Social Security card, but it’s only available in certain states (sorry, Ohio) and is not valid for applicants who are requesting a name change.
3. Get a New Driver's License
Once your new Social Security card arrives in the mail (about 2 weeks after you apply for a new card), then it’s time to get a new driver’s license with your new last name. To get your new license you will need the following documentation before going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles:
Your old driver’s license
New Social Security card
Once you’ve completed the these steps, remember to update your passport or any other pertinent official documents with your new last name. This also includes credit cards, bank accounts, and documents related to your employment. And don’t forget to notify the United States Post Office of your new name, and address, if that’s changed, too. It can feel a little overwhelming making sure your new name is updated on every account you hold, but this can also be a great time to update your address if you and your new spouse have moved in together or into a new home following your wedding.