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Changing Your Last Name After the Wedding

8 steps to everywhere you may need to update your married name

By Sabrina LeePublished 5 years ago 4 min read

As long as marriage has been the center of important passages in our lives, brides have taken the name of their betrothed. Although the percentages have slightly decreased, Psychology Today and a Google poll confirm that 80% of brides still continue this condition. Even a small portion of the remaining 20% of brides choose to take their spouse’s last name by hyphening. Regardless of percentages, the task of changing your last name is a very daunting task for all who choose this route.

Before beginning the process of changing your last name, you should consider all that is entailed. Say your potential new name out loud; write it down; practice signing a new signature; see how it feels rolling off the tongue. If you have children and are remarrying, run through the idea of having a different last name than your child and how that makes you and the child feel. If you run a business or hold a public position or image under your maiden name, consider how your reputation or work may be affected by changing your name. If you’ve talked it out and are ready to take on a new name with your new married life, I’ll walk you through it.

Here’s a checklist of the steps you’ll take to change your last name in all of the critical identification areas.

Disclaimer: some details below are more specifically for Houston, Texas brides, so brides in other states should research additional details specific to their state.

Step 1: Obtain Your {Signed} Marriage License

  • Apply in person with your spouse at your County Clerk’s office (10 locations for Harris County)
  • Must apply at 72 hours, but no more than 90 days, before wedding ceremony (or you will have to reapply)
  • Cost = $72.00
  • Show valid ID (i.e. driver’s license, state ID card, resident alien card, or other US government issued identification
  • Have licensed/ordained officiant conduct ceremony and sign marriage license
  • Return signed license to County Clerk’s office in person or via mail
  • For more FAQs, visit your County Clerk’s Office website

Step 2: Update Your Social Security Card

  • Complete an application for a Social Security Card
  • Return application to your local Social Security office in person or via mail
  • Must bring marriage license and proof of identity (i.e. driver’s license, state ID card, or passport)
  • Service is FREE

Step 3: Update Your Driver’s License/State ID

  • Go to your local Department of Public Safety (DPS) office (yes, in person… prepare for a long wait)
  • Must bring marriage license (original, not copies)
  • Fee = $11 (for replacement driver’s license; expiration date will not change)

Step 4: Update Your Passport

  • If requesting a name change less than one year after passport was issued, you should mail the following items to National Passport Processing Center (Post Office Box 640155; Irving, TX 75064-0155, if a Texas resident—see other addresses for mailing here):
    • Form DS-5504
    • Your most recent U.S. passport
    • Your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate
    • One color passport photo (can be taken and printed same-day at Walgreens)
  • If requesting a name change more than one year after passport was issued:
    • Renew by mail (if eligible) by mailing:
      • Form DS-82
      • Your most recent U.S. passport
      • Your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate (no photocopies or notarized copies)
      • One color passport photo
      • Adult Renewal Applicant fees or Child Applicant fees, depending on your age
    • Apply for renewal in person (if not eligible for mail) with:
      • Form DS-11
      • Your evidence of U.S. citizenship and photocopy of that evidence
      • Your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate (no photocopies or notarized copies)
        • You do not need to submit proof of the name change if your name has changed due to marriage and you present an ID issued in your new name. You must include the details of the marriage in the appropriate section on Form DS-11.
      • Valid ID and photocopy of that ID
      • One color passport photo
      • Adult First-Time Applicant fees or Child Applicant fees, depending on your age
  • Mailings require the following:
    • An envelope large enough to fit the application without folding
    • Mailing by the United States Postal Service (USPS)
    • A trackable delivery method. The method used must be able to deliver to a P.O. Box address
  • You may pay for an expedited passport update for a fee; additional details can be found here.

Step 5: Update Your Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, & Billing

  • Contact your banks/credit unions, credit card customer service, car insurance, and utility/billing companies to find out the steps for updating your name on your accounts. Changing your name will result in new credit/debit cards.

Step 6: Update Name with Your Employer/Work Documentation (i.e. IDs/Badges, Email Address, Retirement Savings Plans, Benefits)

  • Contact your HR department to find out the steps for updating your name and deposit information (if name has been updated on your bank account) for your employer. Contact your health, vision, and dental insurance companies to update your information and receive new insurance cards. Remember when updating your insurance information to also update your information with the doctors and pharmacies you use.

Step 7: Update Your Rewards Accounts and Memberships (i.e. Airfare, Hotels)

  • Check each account’s websites or contact customer service for information on how to update your name on your accounts. Doing this step will ensure your rewards are transferred/accumulated consistently even as you begin to book rooms or tickets in your new name.

Step 8: Update Your Name with Any Other Accounts You May Have

  • This could include: library cards, social media, etc. This step is not of the highest priority, but is good to consider for consistency.


About the Creator

Sabrina Lee

Wedding & Event Planner, Designer.www.lilliejanedesigns.com

Pup Mother.

Aspiring Writer.

Follow tips & stories on IG @lilliejanedesigns

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