Sledging through the Alaska name change process is a dreaded hassle for many a newlywed. If not through marriage, then divorce, or even court petition. It's not as hard as you may think or fear. Let us light your path.
Marriage name change
If you plan to change your name after marriage, you can't declare it on your marriage license application, marriage license, or marriage certificate. So how do you make your mark?
The missing married name on the marriage certificate has caused many sleepless nights, catching newlyweds off guard. Here's how it works in Alaska…
Your marriage certificate will only show you and your spouse's current legal names. Agencies will derive your new name from this document. Mixed-and-matched like building blocks.
They'll know what to do, as Alaska marriage licenses and certificates exclude new names. But what can you do? What are your name change options come decision time? There are three:
Option 1: Taking your spouse's last name as-is
You can take your spouse's full last name. Everything: hyphens, spaces, apostrophes, and placement. This is the traditional approach.
Option 2: Hyphenating your last names
Hyphenating last names is a happy compromise. It keeps both identities intact. The joining character must be a hyphen, meaning no space or flushed text.
Option 3: Middle name change
You can replace your middle name with your maiden name. This pairs well when taking your spouse's name. Offering a solid alternative to hyphenating.
Getting an Alaska marriage license
You need a marriage certificate to change your name after marriage in Alaska. But you need a marriage license to get that certificate. Let's cover the full sequence of events:
- Where and how to apply
- ID and documents
- Age limits
- Waiting period
- Certified marriage certificate
Caution: You can't marry your first cousin, apply-by-proxy, marry-by-proxy, or solemnize your own marriage. Blood tests ended in 1984. Common law marriage ended in 1917.
1. Where and how to apply
2. ID and documents
You must bring government-issued photo ID, such as a current driver's license, passport; or military, state, or tribal ID. Your residency is a non-issue.
You may have to show a certified copy of your divorce decree if your divorce occurred less than 60 days before applying for your new marriage license.
You can download the marriage license application. File in person, by fax, or by mail. You must pick up your license whichever way you file. It's held for one year.
You must share your current and birth name, birthplace, address, phone, social security number (SSN), and marital history (start and end dates with places, and ex's name).
The marriage license fee is $60. One certified copy of your marriage certificate costs $30. Extras are $25 each. Courthouse civil ceremonies (by appointment) cost $25.
5. Age limits
Update: In December 2022, Alaska's marriage statutes were amended to raise the minimum age of marriage in Alaska to 16 years old. Minors aged 14 and 15 may no longer marry in Alaska.
6. Waiting period
You can pick up your marriage license three business days after applying. It'll expire three months later. You may ask for a waiver if this delay might cause undue hardship.
7. Certified marriage certificate
Your marriage license comes with two short-form certificates. One witness must sign them, print their name, and supply their mailing address and email address.
Order a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the local vital statistics office for $30 after you're wed. Extras run $25. Use this document to change your name everywhere.
Divorce name change
You can change your name through divorce with ease. Just ask the judge to restore your prior name during the hearing. Your reverted name will show on your final divorce decree.
"Prior name" means you can go back to your maiden name or birth name. It refers to in-between name changes too, such as a married name from a previous marriage.
Your divorce decree is your name change event document. This slip of paper is the proof federal, state, and other entities need to update your new name within their records.
Don't get tempted into using divorce to pursue off-limit name changes. First name changes are out of bounds. Surname swaps beyond prior names are not allowed.
Petition the Alaska's court system if these divorce name change limitations are a problem.
Court name change
Alaska Statute 09.55.010 permits anyone to change their name for "sufficient reasons" if it's in the "public interest."
Petition your local courthouse if you can't change your name how you prefer through marriage or divorce. There are four steps:
1. Filing your petition
File these name change forms at any Alaska superior court. Pay the $200 filing fee. Ask for an exemption (TF-920) if you can't afford the filing fees. Incarcerated can seek relief (CIV-670) too. Exemption requires disclosing income, assets, and debts.
2. Newspaper publication
The court clerk will schedule your hearing date around 40 days out. Alaska's legal notice website will display your filing for four straight weeks (unless waived upon request).
3. Court hearing
On your hearing date, tell the judge why you're changing your name. Affirm it's not to defraud others or avoid debts. The judge will sign a judgment upon approval.
4. Certificate of name change
This court order certificate (which'll be a certified copy) is your name change document. Use it to change your name everywhere, including your birth certificate (for $30).
Caution: You can't use your new name until the date shown on your certificate. It'll be at least 30 days after the judgment. Begin updating your various IDs then.
Updating your documents (here we go!)
Now you've got your name change document in hand. Great! You're ready to tick items off your name change checklist for real. Start with the most important documents:
Social Security Administration name change
You should change the name on your social security card before other documents. Mail Form SS-5 along with your name change document to complete this vital first step.
Alaska driver's license name change
You can change the name on your Alaska driver's license or state ID card by visiting a local Alaska DMV office in person.
Download and fill out the Application for Alaska Driver License, Permit, or Identification Card (D1). Take care of this within 30 days of changing your name.
It costs $20 to update or renew your standard Alaska driver's license, or $40 for REAL ID. CDLs cost $120 (standard of REAL ID). State IDs cost $15, or $35 for REAL ID.
You can pay using a credit card (Visa or MasterCard only), or a personal check or money order made out to the DMV, Division of Motor Vehicles, or State of Alaska.
Bring original documents or certified copies showing proof of your identity, lawful status, residential address, social security number, and (of course) name change.
- Identity (bring one):
- U.S. birth certificate
- U.S. passport book or card
- U.S. consular report of birth abroad
- U.S. certificate of naturalization
- U.S. certificate of citizenship
- Lawful immigrant status (bring one if applicable):
- Foreign passport with:
- Lawful U.S. visa, and
- Arrival/departure record (I-94)
- Permanent resident card (I-551)
- Employment authorization document (I-766)
- Foreign passport with:
- Residential address (bring two):
- Utility bill (electric, gas, phone, water)
- Lease or rental agreement (with owner and tenant signatures)
- Insurance document (auto, dental, health, home, life, rental, vision)
- Residential property deed or title
- Government tax document
- Mortgage document
- Bank statement
- Credit card statement
- Alaska resident tuition proof of payment
- Alaska tribal card (within indicated tribal area)
- Alaska voter registration card or confirmation letter
- Alaska car title or registration (within 30 the past days)
- U.S.P.S. address change confirmation
- U.S.P.S. postmarked first class mail
- Residency attestation (on their letterhead) from a U.S.:
- Government agency
- Non-profit organization
- Faith-based organization, or
- Homeless or abused women shelter
- Social security number (bring one):
- Social security card
- Pay stub
- IRS W-2 form
- IRS 1099 form
- SSA letter of SSN ineligibility (dated within 90 days)
- Name change (bring one):
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Court order
- Adoption document
- Amended birth certificate
- Certificate of naturalization
- Civil union or domestic partnership certificate
Note: If you've legally changed your name across documents inconsistently, bring supporting documents that link them together, filling in the gaps.
U.S. passport name change
The rules and fees related to changing the name on your passport depend on its age. The newer, the easier and cheaper. Here's the breakdown:
When mailing DS-5504 or DS-82, include your current passport and name change document. DS-82's fee is $130 (passport book), $30 (card only), or $160 (book and card).
File DS-11 at a passport acceptance facility. Bring proof of identity, citizenship, and name change. The fee is $165 (passport book), $65 (card only), or $195 (book and card).
Note: Expedited service costs $60 extra.
After you've finished notifying the preceding government agencies, there remains a wealth of minor documents to amend:
- Alaska vehicle title and registration
- Alaska voter registration
- Bank accounts and checks
- Business cards and letterheads
- Business registrations (DBA, LLC)
- Debit and credit cards
- Dentist offices
- Doctor offices
- Email accounts (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo)
- Employers and employees
- Family, friends, and colleagues
- Homeowners association
- Insurance companies (auto, life, medical)
- Magazine subscriptions
- Mortgage company
- Newspapers subscriptions
- Online shopping accounts (Amazon, PayPal)
- Property deeds and titles
- Retirement accounts (401k and IRA)
- Social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
- U.S.P.S. (if moving and forwarding mail)
- Utilities (cable, electric, internet, phone, water)
If the drudgery of piecemeal name changing irks you, try our online name change kit. It's served as a huge timesaver for thousands. It can help you as well.