So, you and/or your partner are thinking about changing your name after you get married – woohoo! You may have heard from your already married friends, parents, or vendors bits and pieces about this more lengthy process that happens after your wedding day, but today, we’re here to break down this both exciting and tedious task as SIMPLY as we can for you into a one-stop-shop resource. The process of name-changing does need to happen in a little bit of a specific order, so we’re going to take it one step at a time!
Keep in mind that if you are going anywhere out of the country for your honeymoon, your passport has to match your tickets, so we recommended booking your honeymoon in your maiden name or bachelor name and changing your last name when you return.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
Before you can start the process of changing your last name, you must have a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
After you get married (yay!), your officiant must turn in your marriage license to the county that you got married in. After the county has processed your marriage license, you will get a marriage certificate. Requests for a certified copy of your marriage certificate may take 2-3 weeks to process. (see step #4 on our marriage license and certificate blog HERE for more details on how to obtain it)
TIP: We recommend, if possible, purchasing more than 1 copy of your marriage certificate to keep on hand for the future.
Once you have your certified copy of your marriage certificate in hand, it’s time to move onto step 2!
Now that you have your marriage certificate, you’ll need to notify the government that you are changing your last name. The first place you’ll need to notify is the Social Security Administration (SSA).
You can apply for a new social security card either by mail or in person. (TIP: If you are going in person, save yourself some time and fill out your application form ahead of time.)
After you’ve applied, you will get a receipt from the SSA stating that you have applied for a new social security card. It takes some time for the SSA to change your name so be sure to keep the receipt they give you for your records just in case it takes a little while longer.
Next stop? The DMV!
After you’ve applied for your new social security card, it’s time to get a new driver’s license! To change your name on your license you will need to go into the DMV.
TIP #1: The Wisconsin DMV requests that you allow at least 48 hours for the SSA to process your name change so the DMV can verify your correct name.
TIP #2: Again, to save yourself some time, fill out the application forms ahead of time.
To change your last name on your passport you’ll need to find out whether you are eligible to simply renew it or not. To be eligible to renew your passport you have to be able to answer these questions:
If you can’t say yes to all of these questions, you’ll need to physically go in to get a new passport.
I wasn’t eligible to renew my passport because I let it expire (oopsies!), but it wasn’t that much of a hassle to go in person to renew it. I made sure to go online, print off the right forms, and fill them out ahead of time. I called to make an appointment and it was pretty easy breezy!
The process to change your name on your passport varies depending on your situation so make sure to check The U.S. Department of State’s website for more information.
The quickest way to change your last name on your bank account is to visit your branch in person if possible. During COVID-19, many banks are allowing this to happen through their drive-thru windows. Make sure you bring your marriage certificate, your new driver’s license, AND your new social security card.
TIP: If you’re staring at a pile of checks from wedding gifts with mismatched names on them, wondering if you’ll ever get to deposit them before you have all of your name change details in place, take the checks (and your spouse) to the bank. Bring a copy of your marriage certificate, and explain the situation. In many cases, bank staff will allow these one-off deposits—just ask how exactly to endorse the checks.
Next up after your bank accounts? Your credit cards! The process to change your last name on your credit card(s) varies from bank to bank. Start first by checking your card’s website or calling the number on the back of your card for more information!
Aside from these 6 things above, there may be other entities you’ll need to change your name with depending on your own individual situation. Some of these may include:
Similar to your credit cards, the process to change your last name with these entities varies from business to business, but you will more than likely need your certified marriage certificate, so keep it handy!
We want to congratulate you on your marriage and hope that this resource is helpful to you as you venture on your way to newlywed life!
As always, with love,
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