What Do I Need to Change My Name?

Taking a Married Name? Here's What You Need for the Change

Wedding Registrar
Daniel Sheehan Photographers/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you're planning on getting married or are already married, you may choose to change your name. But do you know what you need to change your name, or what steps are involved? 

First, think about the decision. If you’re not 100% sure what you want to do, consider the pros and cons of changing your name. After weighing the options, make a decision that satisfies you and your spouse. Today, there are no rules, so you can decide for yourself what’s right for you.


When to Change Your Name After Marriage

You cannot change your name until after you’re married because you need a marriage certificate or license to begin the official transition. This document will come from the county or country where you’re married.

If you are planning to go abroad for your honeymoon shortly after the wedding, then you should use your maiden name to purchase your plane tickets because that is the name that will appear on your passport.

What Agencies to Inform in the Name Change Process

  1. Begin with the Social Security Administration. This government entity will issue a new card with your existing social security number and new name. Your social security number will not change. The Social Security Administration will also inform the Internal Revenue Service of the change.
  2. Notify your employer. Employers must know about the name change to ensure that your tax documents reflect your new name. They can also put you in touch with the right people to change your work email address. You can, of course, change your personal email address on your own, if you wish.
  1. Advise the Department of Motor Vehicles. Ensure that your name is changed on your driver’s license.
  2. Inform the Department of State. A new passport reflecting your new name will need to be issued.
  3. Alert other entities relevant to you. Credit card companies, utility companies, the U.S. Post Office, and the registrar of voting will all want to know about your name change.

    Once you have your new Social Security card, you can go from there to make changes where you see fit. It's a good idea to make a list of all the places that require the change, and then work your way down that list.