How to Change Your Last Name to Your New Married Name – a Step-by-Step Guide
Once your perfect wedding day filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after is over, the real work begins – it’s time to change your last name. Changing your last name is one of the most tedious, annoyingly painful processes that you will have to go through when you get married. If you’re anything like me you were thinking “What do you mean I can’t just change my Instagram handle and call it a day?” and had noooo idea how many steps there would be in the name change process. But before you throw in the towel and resort to just keeping your maiden name out of pure exhaustion, I’m here to help!!
I recently got married to the love of my life, Kenny, in Maui (read all about our dream wedding here, which was featured by Martha Stewart Weddings!!). Everything about my big day was as perfect as it could be, but the whole name change process… well… let’s just say it was not my favorite part. Lucky for you, though, my pain is your gain! I learned a lot about the process of changing your last name and how to do things as easily and efficiently as possible, and now I am here to pass my wealth of knowledge on to you.
So, without further ado, here are 12 easy steps to changing your last name after you get married!
1. Purchase a Package From HitchSwitch
Before you even think about everything you have to do to change your last name, check out HitchSwitch! HitchSwitch is a company that provides step-by-step instructions to changing your last name, one government form at a time. While they aren’t exactly a full-service, you-don’t-have-to-do-a-single-thing solution, having all of the correct, up-to-date forms (in order) is a huge relief. Otherwise, you might find yourself searching through your state or county’s archives for the right forms when you could be planning your next trip to Greece with your new spouse!
2. Get Married (Legally, With a Marriage License)
Approximately 90 days before the big day, you should apply for a marriage license in the county in which you will be married in (even if you don’t live there). When you do this, you will have the option to apply for certified copies of your marriage license as well. Although you could get away with just one certified copy, I would highly recommend getting two or three to make things easier on you! The price of a marriage license ranges for each state, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 – $115 for the license itself, and $5 – $26 for the certified copies.
DEFINITELY GET COPIES. You will need them for the name change process.
3. Get a New Social Security Card
The first piece of identification that you should change is your social security card. Due to COVID, there are some offices that still are not accepting in-person appointments. If your local office is doing mail-ins only, no worries – this is still a safe and effective way to get things done (it just might take a few more days). When you head in to get your new card (or if you are applying via the mail), you will need the following:
1. Proof of Name Change (a certified copy of your marriage license)
2. Proof of Identity (valid driver’s license, passport, military ID, or state-issued ID)
3. Proof of U.S. Citizenship (passport or birth certificate)
4. Current Social Security Card
4. Get a New Driver’s License
Unfortunately, this step must be done in person, no matter what. So make an appointment and head to your DMV with the following:
- Current Driver’s License
- New Social Security Card (or a receipt from the social security office with your new information, as long as it has been 24-48 hours since your social security appointment)
- Certified Copy of Your Marriage License
- Proof of Address (can be a bill, insurance, mortgage, etc.)
- Form of Payment (credit card, cash, or check)
5. Get a New Passport
The first step in renewing your passport (if you currently have a valid one and just need to update your last name) is to fill out the DS-82 Form. You will need to send this form in for your renewal along with the following:
- Certified Copy of Your Marriage License
- Current Passport
- Photograph (they are very specific on photo requirements, so make sure you do it correctly per their website! I recommend just going to your local Walgreens or other pharmacy and having them take the photo for you so that you won’t have to worry about redoing the whole application.)
- Fee (if it has been less than one year since you last updated your passport, you will not have to pay a renewal fee. Otherwise, be prepared to purchase a brand new passport for $100+.)
JETSET TIP: You most likely will not have your new passport yet when you go on your honeymoon, so when you book accommodations, flights, excursions, etc., be sure that you have your maiden name on everything!
6. Get a New Global Entry Card/Update Your TSA PreCheck Information
Similar to getting a new driver’s license, this step must be done in person. Once your passport is updated, head to your local Global Entry Enrollment office with your current global entry card. After you arrive, the process is simple – you should be in and out within just a few minutes. If you would like to receive a new global entry card, you can apply for one for a small fee of $25.
If you have TSA PreCheck but not a global entry card, you can update your information over the phone or online. Simply call 855-347-8371 or update your information online, here.
7. Change Your Last Name on Your Bank Account(s)
Whether you and your spouse are keeping your finances separate or combining them in a joint account, it is very important that your bank account(s) are in your legal last name. Just head to your local bank to get this done quickly and easily (all you need is your marriage license, new driver’s license, and new social security card). All account numbers, routing numbers, and debit card numbers should remain the same, but you may want to order updated checks with your new last name on them.
8. Change Your Last Name on All Insurance Policies
This includes homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc. Each company may have a different protocol to change your information, so give your local representative a call or visit their website for the quickest, easiest way to get this done.
9. Update All of Your Credit Cards and Rewards
I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I would ever want to happen is to be restricted from using my travel rewards because my new last name isn’t on my account! Be sure to do this sooner rather than later (definitely before trying to book your next vacay!).
You will also want to change your name on all of your credit cards. This is fairly easy – just call each card company, request a new card with your new last name, and they will ship it to you in a jiffy.
P.S. – If you are looking for a bomb travel rewards card, here is a list of my favorites that I highly recommend!
10. Update Your Lease/Mortgage, Utilities, Internet, etc.
The next step is to take care of all things home/apartment. This includes the name on your lease/mortgage, utilities, internet/cable, etc.
11. Update Your Last Name on Your Employer’s Records
In order to ensure that your W2 or 1099 is correct at the end of the year, you need to notify your employer’s HR team of your name change so that they can update your records accordingly. This may also include receiving a new email address, badge or ID card, and/or nameplate for your desk! And don’t forget to change that email signature!
12. Update All Other Accounts
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to tie up the loose ends and update your social media, Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/Disney+/Paramount+/Peacock (seriously, how many streaming services are there these days?!), Spotify/Apple Music/Pandora, and the list goes on and on! This might actually be what takes you the longest because there are sooooo many platforms to change your name on, but luckily, it is also the easiest because it involves zero forms, appointments, or fees.
Check out these other blog posts