You just got married and now want to officially be to a Mrs, here are the steps that will get you there! Ladies, I was so unaware of ALL the places and people I had and still have to call to get this last named changed. When I found out, I looked at Brian and said do you really want me to change my last name. (Of course I was joking… kind of… lol)!! Of course I want to be Mrs. Gardner, but real talk another one of my motivations was many of our wedding gift checks have Mrs. Gardner written on them and the bank won’t cash them until I have a NEW driver’s license. That marriage certificate and license won’t work! Boo!!
Before Your Wedding
If you are leaving for your honeymoon within a month of getting married, make the arrangements (such as plane and hotel reservations) in your maiden name. I know that you may want to go on your trip as your newly happily married self, but you won’t get far if your name doesn’t match your driver’s license or passport. Just using the marriage license is not going to cut it! Sorry 🙁
After the Honeymoon
Here is where the real work begins. Let me just note that you can use a service (The Knot offers it) where you can pay and they will provide all the paperwork you need to complete the name change process. Only catch, you will still have to physically go to some of the locations to turn in the paperwork. So you may as well just print the paperwork yourself and save yourself some money!!
1.) First, apply for a new Social Security card immediately (without this you can’t do much). You will be required to show this when you apply for a new driver’s license and update tax and Social Security documents at work. Download the SS-5 form from the Social Security Administration’s page here, fill it out and then mail or take the form along with your driver’s license, current Social Security card, and marriage license to your local Social Security Administration office. It can take up to 10 days for the Social Security office to update tax forms via the Internal Revenue Service and up to two weeks for your new card to arrive.
2.) Once you have your new social security card, it’s time to get a new driver’s license and vehicle registration. All records at the DMV will reflect the name change. Bring your marriage license, your NEW social security card and your current driver’s license in person to the DMV. In South Carolina, they charge a $10 fee for a new driver’s license and $15 fee to change a vehicle title. There is no fee to change your vehicle registration. If outside of SC, be sure to check what the fees are online. CUTE NOTE: Be sure to where a cute top and bring those pearly whites for the new pic!
3.) Next, visit your human resources office at work. Bring your NEW social security card and driver’s license and ask that ALL tax documents regarding your itemized deductions (e.g. W-4) are correctly updated. Then, you will need to complete the IRS form #8822. This ensures that when you file your taxes under your new name or jointly with your spouse, the IRS will not hold your tax returns while they investigate who you are (it can happen). It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for the IRS to process your paperwork.
4.) Moving down the list, contact the Department of State to update your passport. You must mail in your current passport, the DS-5504 form (if your passport was issued LESS than a year ago) or the DD-82 (if your passport was issued more than a year ago, marriage license and recent passport-ready photo (if you passport was issued more than 90 days previous). You will be charged the going rate of renewing your passport ($110) if it has been more than a year since your passport was issued. There is no charge if your passport was issued less than a year previous. (You can also take care of all this at your local post office if they process passports. That is what I am going to do.) For more information, please see Change Your Name on Your U.S. Passport.
5.) The United States Post Service does not require you to file paperwork about your new name, but if you move to a new address with your husband, fill out the proper change of address forms. Be sure to list your old name with old address. You will need a valid debit or credit card and email address to complete the online form.
6.) Update your voter registration card by going to your state’s State Election Commission website or applying in person.
7.) Almost there, now write a letter listing your name (former and updated) with new, correct address, respective account number and social security number (if applicable). Attach a copy of your marriage license and mail to those listed below.
- Investment Brokers
- Discount Coupon Registrations
- Doctors, Dentists, and any other medical providers
- Financial Advisor
- Insurance Policies
- Lawyers concerning your will and Power of Attorney
- Membership Organizations
8.) LASTLY, order new checks and credit cards by contacting your bank and credit card companies and following their name change policies.
So these steps should cover the major areas that need to know you changed your last name. Although a time consuming, this is just a small hurdle you have to take to be married to such a great person. Aren’t they worth it? Also, you can always have them fill out the paperwork for you, since you will have to stand in the lines for everything. That’s the least they can do right?!