My Name is Changed, Now What?

 A few of my recently married friends and I were chatting about my recent name change post. They had questions not about how to complete a name change, but what to do after. Do you need a new birth certificate? (No) A new social security card? (Yes) Driver’s License? (Yes) Which do you get first? (See more after the jump)

I found a brief article on the Central Minnesota Wedding Association’s (CMWA) Blog. Note to any Brides reading this: the CMWA is a great resource to find vendors if you’re getting married outside of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area. This post expound’s briefly on the CMWA’s tips. Note that I frame this post in the context of name changes after marriage, but it applies to people changing their name for any reason.

1) Wait until after your honeymoon. The CMWA recommends you wait until after your honeymoon to take any action. Great tip, but to clarify, when you sign your wedding certificate, your name is changed. What the CMWA article is driving at is to wait to do anything with the name change until after your wedding. You don’t want to travel with a clipped driver’s license and a passport that has a name that doesn’t match the papers for your new license.  In today’s age of heightened security, it will most certainly create unnecessary stress.

2) Get at least one extra certified copy of your marriage license. Yes, you technically can walk around using the original to change your pertinent documents, but don’t. It is your only original. Certified copies are inexpensive. From most counties they only cost $15.00.  You should be able to get a cerified copy in the same office you got your original certificate.

3) Get a new driver’s license or other state identification card. The first document you should have updated is your driver’s license. You can apply at your local DMV. The Social Security Administration requires you to provide not only evidence that your name is changed, but evidence of your identity. Minnesota marriage certificates don’t identify you in any concrete manner. If you change your driver’s license first, then you won’t have the right documentation to prove your identity. Make sure you bring that certified copy of your marriage certificate to the DMV.

4) Get a new social security card. As stated above, you should wait to get your social security card until after you have your new driver’s license. You will need the certified copy of your marriage license showing your current name and your new name as well as your identifying document (driver’s license). For additional questions on what exactly the document requirements are, go here. The only Social Security Office in Minnesota is located in St. Paul.  Directions can be found here. I would recommend getting a new card in person if at all possible. But, I’ve heard from more than one person that the office is quite hectic. Provide yourself more time than you anticipate to stand in line and have your application processed.

5. Change your passport. The form for changing your name on your passport can be found here.

6. Have your name changed on other business and personal documents. The CMWA provides a nice list of other places you may have to contact to change your name: utilities, business cards, etc.

7. Keep a certified copy of your marriage license handy. For a year or so after your name is changed you will likely encounter additional places you need to provide evidence of your new name. Keep that certified copy handy, but in a safe place.