You and your beloved have exchanged vows and are ready to begin your happily ever after, but first - paperwork!
Changing your name is an important decision, and a serious undertaking! Hyphenating? Taking your partner's name? Creating a whole new last name to represent your unique family? Whichever route you decide to go, there's a lot of ins and outs to be aware of.
Hopefully, we can take some of the mystery out of the process.
Step 1: Get your Marriage License (and Certified Copies, too!)
When you're applying for your marriage license, ask if you can purchase a few certified copies in advance. Instead of having to request copies after you've received your marriage certificate after your wedding, you'll get your certificate and your certified copies all at once.
Store those certified copies somewhere safe, because you'll need them to...
If you plan on going to the Social Security office in person, save some time by filling out the application for a social security card in advance. Along with the completed form, you will need to provide the following additional documentation:
Proof of Citizenship: This can be either an original birth certificate or current U.S. passport
Proof of Name Change: A Certified copy of your Marriage Certificate
Proof of Identity: An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, date of birth or age, and preferably include a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:
U.S. driver's license;
State-issued non-driver identification card; or
If you do not have one of these specific documents you will be asked to see other documents. Any documents submitted must be current and show your name, date of birth or age, and preferably a recent photograph:
Employee identification card;
School identification card;
Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
U.S. military identification card.
Your current Social Security card. You will keep the same number when your card is replaced
So after the awesome trip to the Social Security Office, you get to...
Step 3: Visit the DMV for a New License & to Change your Vehicle Records!
What's more fun than a trip to your local SSA office? A trip to the DMV! There's no way to avoid this one - name changes need to be made in person. NCDMV will confirm the name change with the Social Security Online Verification System, so an individual changing their name must wait at least 24-36 hours before changing their name with NCDMV. But don't wait too long - North Carolina law requires that you notify the DMV within 60 days of your name change, which is the date of your marriage. Before you visit your local NC DMV office, you will need to gather the following:
Your current NC driver's license or ID card.
Your Marriage Certificate
A Notarized DL-101 form - you can get the form online by clicking here
Cash, check, or money order for the $13 fee.
Also, if you own a vehicle, you'll also need to change your name on your vehicle records - follow the steps below:
You can change your name either in person or by mail. You cannot change your name online.
Your updated NC driver's license showing your new name.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles 3148 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27697
You will receive an updated NC title and registration in the mail. For more information, please contact your local NC DMV.
Step 4: Get a New Passport!
Changing your name on your passport is considered a correction. If your passport was issued less than a year ago, you'll be able to have the correction made without paying a fee, or if you've had it for a year or more, then the fee for a change and a new passport book is $110.
All passport changes must be applied for by mail. The U.S. Department of State has put together a convenient tool that will help you fill out the change form, which can be found here. Once you've filled it out, send the following to the National Passport Processing Center:
Completed form DS-82 (which you can fill out at the link above).
A certified copy of your marriage license.
Your current passport.
A check for the passport fee, made payable to "U.S. Department of State." Your full name and date of birth must also be typed or printed on the front of your check.
Visit your bank to update your name on all of your accounts or set up joint accounts. Be sure to bring your new drivers license, social security card, and marriage certificate. Although you may incur some fees (depending on your bank's rules), you should request new checks, debit and credit cards reflecting your new name!
Step 6: All the other stuff...
Once you have an updated license and social security card, other changes should be fairly straightforward. Some places will only require a call, while others may require forms and certified copies of your marriage license, so it's best to phone ahead to determine what's required of you. Here's a few more people you may want to notify of your new name:
Insurance Companies (Health, Life, Auto, Home...)
Landlord or Mortgage Company
The Other Option...
Skip the paperwork and use a service like Hitchswitch! They offer a couple of different plans to make the process as streamlined and painless as possible, and save you the time and stress of tracking down every form you will need.