Congratulations! You've had your bachelorette party, bridal shower and officially sealed the deal! Now that your guests have gone home and you’ve returned from your honeymoon, you can start the process of changing your name.
Just like planning a wedding, Atlanta's airport or navigating the city's traffic, changing your name can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot of paperwork and a certain order that must be followed. But don’t worry. To make this exciting change much easier on you, we’ve compiled a list of the steps you must take to legally wear your brand new name.
1. Apply for Your Marriage License Using Your New, Married Name
This is the first step to making your name change legally binding. Some of you will have already completed this step, so go ahead and skip to step two.
If you haven’t, you must apply for your marriage license using the last name you intend to use after your marriage. To start this process, visit your local county probate court with your spouse and bring your driver’s license, passport or birth certificate with you. The marriage license fee varies by county. Check the fees at your county probate court. (Note: you can save money on your marriage license fee if you attend pre-marital counseling). Once you receive your certified marriage license, the name change is made effective at that time.
2. Notify the Social Security Administration
You must apply for a new social security card before you can change your name on other significant documents. This can be done at your local Social Security Administration office or by mail. To begin the process, you must complete the application for a new social security card. In addition to this document, you will need three different records, including:
- Documents showing your legal name change, including your marriage certificate (Note: If you’re recently divorced and need to change your name, bring your divorce decree.)
- Proof of identities, such as your driver’s license or passport.
- Proof of United States citizenship, including a birth certificate or certificate of citizenship.
The administration will mail you a new social security card after the name change has been completely processed. Your social security number will not change, so don’t worry about any of your other personal information changing as a result of this step. If you choose to mail these items in, they will be returned to you by mail.
3. Update Your Driver's License
Within 60 days of changing your name, you must update your driver’s license or state-issued ID. This change must be made in person at your local Department of Driver Services office. Similar to applying for a new social security card, you will need to bring your marriage certificate with you. If your current license expires in 150 days or less, you will need to pay $20 for a short-term license or $32 for a long-term license.
If you are choosing to hyphenate your new name along with your maiden name, you’ll need to bring your marriage license along with a copy of your marriage certificate to show that you have chosen a hyphenated name.
If you also need to change your address at this time, you’ll need to bring proof of residence. Acceptable documents can be found on the DDS website.
4. Update Your Vehicle Registration and Title
After you update your driver’s license with your new married name, you can change your name on your vehicle’s title and registration. This can only be done by mail or in-person at your local county tax commissioner’s office. You will need the following items to update your name:
- A completed DOR – Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application.
- Documents showing your legal name change, including your marriage certificate. (Note: If you’re recently divorced and need to change your name, bring your divorce decree.)
- Your new driver’s license
- Your current vehicle title
- If you are mailing in your application, you must also include a note explaining why you are requesting a name change.
Updating your vehicle registration is free. However, there is an $18 fee for changing the name on a title document.
5. Update Your Passport
If your passport has been issued within the past year, you will be able to update your name on this document for free. Visit the U.S. Department of State's website for passports and international travel to determine which forms must be submitted to receive an updated passport and the costs associated with it.
6. Update Your Bank Accounts
After you’ve updated all of your legal documents, contact your bank and credit card companies. A change of address can often be completed in an online customer portal, but a legal name change might require you visit your local branch or mail in a copy of your marriage certificate. Visit your bank or credit card provider’s website to determine the steps you must make to complete your name change.