2,813 Comments

Whether you have decided to change your name in order to match your new spouse's and kids' names or because you like the new name better, there are still some situations in which you may be required to continue using your maiden name. A name change is final in certain situations—if you get your name changed on your passport, for example, you will not typically need to explain what your maiden name is—but it may still come up in other situations.

If you do intend to legally change your name while continuing to use your maiden name for other purposes, our online name change forms can help you to complete the process.

There are a few specific situations in which you may continue to use your maiden name. Here are some of them:

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

If you have spent the last decade building up a professional identity and reputation, you will not want to quickly cast that off! Some people change their legal name, but continue to use their maiden name after marriage. This can be tricky when people make out checks to you, for instance, but you often just need to talk to your bank and establish that checks may be deposited in your maiden name. You also may be able to obtain authorization to do business as your new name without changing documents—this is called a "doing business as" approval, or DBA.

The DBA approach may also be reversed, by registering a fictitious business name or trade name in your maiden name, while formally changing to your new married name on your personal credentials.

Licensing and legal documents may reflect your new name, but some people get around this by adding a last name: for instance, if your maiden name was Lesley Hastings, you could adopt the last name Smith by becoming Lesley Hastings Smith. This means you can often change legal documents but keep letterhead the same. In any case, there are many ways to get around the differences between legal name and the name your professional contacts know you by.

2. When you aren't ready for the name change in social situations

Many people aren't quite ready to change their name—after all, you have had the same name for your whole life until now! Yet, you want to have an easier time with insurance or paperwork, or want to conform to tradition and adopt your spouse's name. You don't have to go by your legal name in every situation. If you're meeting new people who don't know your spouse and refer to you by your maiden name, you don't necessarily need to correct them.

Meeting with old friends is another situation in which most people will continue to use their maiden name. Friends can have trouble adjusting to the new name if they have known you under one name for a long time! Since most of these situations are purely social, there are no legal ramifications. You may also revert to using your maiden name at any time if you just prefer it!

3. When you are legally obliged to disclose your maiden name

In many types of security and background paperwork, you are required to give any previous names you have gone under so that they can do a more thorough background check. This may include your passport, background checks for jobs or volunteer positions, or credit checks. In these kinds of situations, you are usually legally obligated to provide your maiden name.

How do you know if this is a requirement? Check the form—if there is a space for you to list other names you have gone under, there is usually a prompt that says "such as maiden names" in the instructions. It's usually better to be safe than sorry unless you're truly trying to escape your maiden name, in which case you can ask whoever you would submit the paperwork to whether it is a requirement to list your maiden name.

4. If you haven't yet updated all your paperwork

When you get your name changed, there are many steps to take in order to get every name updated! Your name is on everything from your social security card and credit card to your bank account, so you may not have updated all of your paperwork yet. Keep careful track of who you have gotten a name change approval from so far, so that you'll never be at a loss as to which name to supply.

Before you get official approval to use your new name, you can introduce yourself or identify yourself with your maiden name, then let them know that you are in the process of changing your name. This is often enough to satisfy requirements at places such as banks, as they understand that the name change process can be a hassle. It can certainly be more annoying when it comes to passports, since government officials tend to be more strict about names.

5. While deciding whether to go through with a name change

Some people just aren't sure whether they're ready for a name change. You might decide to change your legal name on some documents while deciding whether you truly want to change your name. You might even be on board with the name change until you actually start signing documents and introducing yourself with a new name entirely.

You aren't alone if you decide that you aren't sure if you want to go through with a name change yet, if at all. You can often change your name back to your maiden name or simply start to use the maiden name again whenever you choose to do so. If you don't want to go through the hassle of changing back the name again, you can sometimes add the new name as an alternate name to various accounts and with important agencies.

Changing your name is no small matter, and even when you change your maiden name to a new one, no rule says you need to use it in every situation or introduce yourself with it all the time! Many newly-married couples avoid the name change decision, so relax: you have time to choose where you want to use which names. You can continue to use your maiden name until you have decided whether to use it or your married name in each situation… and you may never really change your name when you're chatting with old friends!

2,813 Comments

  1. Ira Lacson

    Gud pm i just wanna ask about my mom’s case becase she is having here vacation this month of MAY for 3weeks in the philippines,her passport’s surname is her maiden name because the DFA assistant in USA old her to use her maiden name to avoid hassle in her renewal,

    she was divorced but didnt undergo any change surname,so her california id and etc is using her married surname,will there be a problem if her passport’s surname is different from her california id,but she has her documents even the divorce paper,whem she gets back to the US will my mother be hold due to that case even if she is a permanent residence in the US?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will there be a problem if her passport’s surname is different from her california id

      No, that shouldn't be an issue.

      but she has her documents even the divorce paper,whem she gets back to the US will my mother be hold due to that case even if she is a permanent residence in the US?

      That's doubtful. If she carries her divorce decree with her, it'll tie the two names together. That'll explain the difference to anyone who inquires.

      Reply
  2. Jacqleen Elliott

    I was married and still am, but would like to change my name back to my maiden. I reside in Georgia, how do i go about this?

    Reply
    1. Jacqleen D Elliott

      Correction I am married and it seems silly to get anew passport due to name change.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Jacqleen. You can continue using your current passport.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      I reside in Georgia, how do i go about this?

      Submit a name change petition with the Georgia Superior Court. You can see the dedicated Georgia name change page for further details.

      Reply
  3. Doris Conley

    I was married 6 years ago I dropped my middle name and kept my last name for the middle name and took my husband name for my look at name do I have to change my private insurance policy I live in tenn. Uh

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Doris. It's a good idea to update your insurance documents to avoid identity questions down the line.

      Reply
  4. jane brenzel

    hi, i got married last month i took my husband's last name in the marriage certificate but i'm not ready to change my drivers license, ss, passport to my married name yet. is there a deadline for this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      i'm not ready to change my drivers license, ss, passport to my married name yet. is there a deadline for this?

      There's no deadline. Take as much time as you need.

      Reply
  5. Laila Memoracion

    Hello I’m Laila I got married on 2015 but we broke up on 2017 can I still use my family name not my husband’s family name then if I use my family name I processe any documents What I apply it single or marriage ?plz help me !!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still use my family name not my husband’s family name

      Did you ever formally change your name? If not, then you'd use your family name as if nothing has changed.

      then if I use my family name I processe any documents

      If you did change your name, you'll have to continue using your current name for legal purposes.

      What I apply it single or marriage

      I'm not sure what you're asking here.

      Reply
  6. Rohini

    I am having my marriage certificate with maiden name. My husband dont follow any surname along with his name. Now on birth certificate of my child mothers name include with followig fathers name so can I change name legally. Or i have to change birth certificate or any other solution. Please help me out.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rohini. I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you trying to change the name on a birth certificate? Your child's birth certificate? Or are you trying to change your name to something that matches your marriage certificate or a birth certificate?

      Can you provide a before and after example of what you're trying to achieve.

      Reply
  7. Anna

    Hi! My parents (both Filipinos) were already divorced. My mom remarried but she retained her old married lastname in all her documents. Today, she is already an American citizen, and still uses the same lastname (she doesnt want to undergo all the hassles). However her employer indicated her new husband’s lastname in her employment certificate. They put it as EX-HUSBAND’S LASTNAME (hypen) NEW HUSBAND’S LASTNAME.

    The issue is, she invites us to visit her in the US. And as proof of income, she will provide the US embassy here in the Philippines her EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATE. Would it be a problem if her employment cert. lastname differs from all her other documents? Will her new marriage certificate suffice? Any legal implication? Would the lastname difference affects our chance of getting the tourist visa?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anna. Her marriage certificate might be enough to explain the name difference. Consider calling the U.S. embassy to inquire directly.

      Reply
  8. Pamela Kendrick

    I’m planning to change my name through a court order.

    I plan on changing my name on my drivers license, passport, credit cards.

    1. I have student loans I’m working to pay off. I don’t want to change my name on that account because it seems like a huge hassle for something that won’t stick with me (unlike a passport). Am I legally obligated to update my name with them?

    2. My passport is expired. Do I need to get my passport renewed with my current name first, and then update it with my new name? Or can I renew an expired passport and change the name on it at the same time?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I legally obligated to update my name with them?

      You don't have update it if you prefer not to.

      Or can I renew an expired passport and change the name on it at the same time?

      You can do this at the same time.

      Reply
  9. Kristi Kay

    Can credit card companies know when you’ve changed your name before you tell them? I read that your new name and your old name are both on your credit history, so I wondered if cards ever ever update it automatically via credit reporting sites.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristi. Credit card companies are not going to automatically reissue you a new card because they detect a name change. You have to request a reissue.

      Reply
  10. Pamela Kendrick

    I don’t have a social security card, though I do have a social security number. My parents claim I just never had one. Will I still be able to get a new card with a new name if I don’t have an old one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I still be able to get a new card with a new name if I don’t have an old one?

      Yes.

      Reply
  11. JC Davis Baglio(?)

    I was married to my late husband for 9 years before he was killed. We had 2 kids together and they are still young. My new husband and I are common law married and it is recognized by the state of S.C.

    I want to take my new husband’s name, my kids do not want to have a different last name then I do. And strangely, taking my new husband’s last name would actually be a very smart professional thing, since he is very well known in the industry we work in and is very well liked. His unusual last name stands out. The few times I have introduced myself with his last name, people are so excited to meet me.

    I am so torn on what to do. Can I just start using his name work wise, but keep the old legally?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just start using his name work wise, but keep the old legally?

      Yes, you may use it informally.

      Reply
  12. Carol Schaeffer

    I would like to hyphenate my maiden name with my married name and have no idea where to start the process. Must I go to a lawyer to have this done or is it legal to just start using it on my own. I have been a widow for the past 43 years and would like this changed.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to hyphenate my maiden name with my married name and have no idea where to start the process

      Since you've already established a maiden name, you'd have to go to court to change it again. Using your marriage certificate is a one-time allowance.

      Must I go to a lawyer to have this done or is it legal to just start using it on my own.

      You may use your preferred name informally, but it wouldn't be your legal name.

      Reply
  13. Claudette Phillips

    I got divorce last year, I stated in my paper work that I want to go back to my maiden name but I want to change my mind and keep my married name can I do so? and I apply for citizenship in my maiden name, will they change it back to my married name? I have my final interview in 3 weeks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to go back to my maiden name but I want to change my mind and keep my married name can I do so?

      You don't have to return to your maiden name.

      and I apply for citizenship in my maiden name, will they change it back to my married name? I have my final interview in 3 weeks

      You can contact USCIS to modify your application, but it's likely you'll have to wait to update your name at the interview.

      Reply
  14. Ariliss

    Ive been married for a little over a year in california. I changed my last name to that of my husbands with the county but have not done so anywhere else. I use my maiden name socially and professionally.

    Do I need to file taxes under my married name if i've never done business or used my married name?

    The only document that carries my married name is the marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to file taxes under my married name if i've never done business or used my married name?

      File taxes under the name that's on your social security card.

      The only document that carries my married name is the marriage certificate.

      Then you haven't legally changed your name anywhere.

      Reply
  15. Dani

    I’ve been married 4 years now. I took on my husbands last name and updated my drivers license, bank accounts (except for one physical credit card), auto/life insurance, mortgage, two professional state and 1 national board licenses I hold.

    The only document I have yet to make the name change with is SS. I have filed taxes jointly with my husband the past few years using my maiden name but had no W-2.

    Thus far I have been able to deposit/cash checks here and there at my bank that have my maiden name with no issue. But now, I will be going back into the work force and need to know if legally I need to change my name with SS or if I can continue using my maiden for direct deposit and taxes?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dani. You can continue using your maiden name. If the need arises, you can keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to explain why your driver's license has a different name.

      Reply
  16. Paramjit Alun

    I am in UK on a Tier2 Dependant Visa. My Visa and marriage certificate has my maiden name. I being a Sikh it did not have Kaur in my name and was using my last name. He wants me to get rid of my middle name and last name and get it changed to Kaur.

    Considering the amount of paper work I have to go through I do not want to get it done. As I have lived with name for 33 years and I am attached to it.

    Will there be no complications as I need to change TO kaur and my husband s name is Singh. I have so many documents back accounts, investments, pan card and innumerable documents so do.not want to go for. A name change.

    What are the complications of not getting it changed. I can always socially been known as Kaur. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Paramjit. There are no complications. Name change is not required. Do nothing and your name will stay the same.

      Reply
  17. Alexis P

    Hello,

    I was married less than a week ago, and at the time agreed to use my husband's last name. The marriage license has yet to be mailed, and I decided I wanted to still keep/use my maiden name on all my personal documents. Do I really need to do a name petition for this if I want to change my ss/dl to both my maiden name and new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I really need to do a name petition for this if I want to change my ss/dl to both my maiden name and new last name?

      It depends on your state. Will a new name appear on your marriage certificate? If so, it could lock you in. If not, then you can hyphenate. I'm assuming you're talking hyphenation. If not, please clarify.

      Reply
  18. Doyin

    Hello,

    I legally changed my name to husband’s and all my documents still carry maiden name (Intl Passport, Bank Account and other form of Id). But the children’s birth certificate carries my name with husband’s surname.

    Now, I’m applying for Canadian Express Entry as Primary Applicant, with my family, I’d like ask if this poses a problem as I’m applying with maiden name (Passport was renewed in maiden name,ECA and IETLS done in maiden name too).

    Also, do I need to include documents for Change of Name in the application?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Doyin. You can apply in your maiden name. A certified copy of your marriage certificate can be used to link you to your spouse.

      Reply
  19. Kristin

    Hi Valera,
    I changed my name to my husband's last name on my marriage certificate and nothing else. Then, last year when I had to renew my NYS ID, I showed my marriage certificate (with new/husband's last name) and that is now on my NYS ID.

    I am applying for a NYS driver's license and am wondering, can I return to my maiden name at this point or use my maiden name for my middle name (I don't have a middle name) and my married name as my last name?

    It doesn't feel right in my gut to completely drop my maiden name/identity, yet I want to be connected with my husband and son through his last name, but both last names are long and to hyphenate them is way too long. So I guess my question is:

    Can I go back to my maiden name at this point or use it as the middle name with my husband's name as my last name?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristin. It's unlikely you'll be able to change your name through marriage again since a non-driver ID and driver's license is issued by the same office (NYS DMV) that operates under the same guidelines.

      Reply
  20. Vanessa

    Hello, my name is Vanessa, I recently got married and we are currently living in WA state. I am physician assistant for the state of WA as well. My question is if I add a second last name to my name (non hyphenated) for example Kate Wilson Smith, will I need to change my professional license, legal documents, bank, passport? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will I need to change my professional license, legal documents, bank, passport?

      If you've updated your social security card and driver's license, you'll have to contact your state's licensing board about the need to update your license. You may be able to maintain your premarriage name as an alias, even though their internal records references your new married name. Same with your bank. You don't have to update the name on your passport.

      Reply
  21. Connie

    Hi Valera ,

    I got married a year ago in states of Oregon and back then I added his last name on the marriage license/certificate without hyphenated for example : Jones Smith. Since then I haven’t legally change my last name at all on anything because I changed my mind and I want to keep my maiden last name. Will I have any issues in the future (SSC, banks, mortgage, child birth certificate etc,..) if I will not changing my maiden name to the marriage name even though the married certificate has my married name ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I haven’t legally change my last name at all on anything because I changed my mind and I want to keep my maiden last name. Will I have any issues in the future (SSC, banks, mortgage, child birth certificate etc,..)

      No, you won't face any problems. Government and nongovernmental institutions don't lookup marriage certificates to make sure people commit to their name changes.

      Reply
  22. Praneetha

    Hi valera.
    I have all important documents with my maiden name but I have been registered after marriage. I went to the home affairs and signed the surname that was on their system, which was my husband's surname. Do I have to inform my bank and others about the change and would it be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to inform my bank and others about the change and would it be a problem?

      You should, as they won't be automatically notified of your name change.

      Reply
  23. Kylee Harnish

    Hi i got divorced about 8 years ago or so,i kept my ex husbands last name.Now im wanting to go back to my maiden name,will i have to pay to change my last name back or can i go to ss and the dmv with my divorce decree and change my name back to my maiden? im kinding confused about the process,i want to go back to my maiden name but don't wanna have to pay the money to.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can i go to ss and the dmv with my divorce decree and change my name back to my maiden?

      If your divorce decree contains language restoring your maiden name, you can change it back without going through extra steps.

      Reply
  24. Lien Luong

    Hi I got married 14 years ago in hyphenated my name.Tu-Luong. Now I just want to drop my maiden name and use my husband's name Luong. Is that still possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I just want to drop my maiden name and use my husband's name Luong. Is that still possible?

      You'd have to go to court and request a non-marriage-related name change. You wouldn't be able to use your marriage certificate again.

      Reply
  25. KIM S.

    Hi,

    I got married last year in California. At the time when filling out the marriage license forms, I chose to hyphenate my maiden name with my husband last name. I was told at the time I have two years to change all my documents to my new name. However, I have not changed or update the DMV or Social Security with my new name. I still carry my maiden name on everything such as my passport, ID, social security card and so forth.

    My first question is, is the name on my marriage certificate my legal name now? Secondly, can I continue to use my maiden name on all my documents since it has never been changed?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My first question is, is the name on my marriage certificate my legal name now?

      Your maiden name is still your legal name.

      Secondly, can I continue to use my maiden name on all my documents since it has never been changed?

      Yes, of course.

      Reply
  26. Marisa Rodriguez

    hi,
    I change my name when I applied for a citizen in NYC a long time ago, I am using my husband last name since them only. I have a situation now that I need to open a bank account with my maiden name to received a pension from my original country. Is this possible without changing my name in a court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have a situation now that I need to open a bank account with my maiden name to received a pension from my original country. Is this possible without changing my name in a court?

      There's a difference between opening a bank account in your maiden name and opening one in your married name while having checks printed in your maiden name.

      The bank will likely want your legal name on file. They'll want to see ID. However, you can ask them to accommodate usage of your maiden name. It's up to them to allow it or not.

      Reply
  27. Nicole Belanger

    Hello. I’m getting married and am a MD with an established practice under my maiden name. I would like to taken my future husband’s last name when legally married personally but still legally be able to use my maiden name professionally, and would like to avoid hyphenating my name. Would it work to legally change my middle name to maiden name and take his last name as my last name? Or other suggestions? I’m in NYS.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would it work to legally change my middle name to maiden name and take his last name as my last name?

      Many women do this. You'll have to contact the New York licensing board about updating your legal name on file while maintaining the use of your maiden name professionally.

      Reply
  28. Christina

    I got married over 15 years ago. I never changed my SS card to my married name. My driver's license is hyphenated (maiden name-married name). My passport is also the same hyphenated name to match my DL.

    I use just my maiden name at work. Insurance is through my work so in my maiden name. Bank accounts, credit cards, etc are with my married name only.

    Should I change my SS card to match the hyphenated name? Is that possible? Will it cause me issues down the line if my SS card is in my maiden name and everything else (passport, DL, etc) is either hyphenated or just my married name? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should I change my SS card to match the hyphenated name?

      It wouldn't hurt. And, yes, you can change it. Since it's probable you may only have identity documents in your new, hyphenated name, the SSA would accept your driver's license as your primary identity document for name change purposes. You'll still have to bring along an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Will it cause me issues down the line if my SS card is in my maiden name and everything else (passport, DL, etc) is either hyphenated or just my married name?

      As far as the SSA knows, your maiden name is your current legal name. That's what the IRS would also have on file. You'll want to make sure your proper name is on file for tax and social security benefit purposes.

      Reply
      1. Christina

        Thank you for your help! So if I change my name on my SS card – I will file taxes under that name correct? Also, will I need to change to my hyphenated name at work as well – I would like to leave that as just my maiden name if possible. Thanks again!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So if I change my name on my SS card – I will file taxes under that name correct?

          Correct. See the IRS and name change article for why it's important.

          Also, will I need to change to my hyphenated name at work as well – I would like to leave that as just my maiden name if possible.

          If you change your name with the SSA, they'll automatically notify the IRS. At this point, your employer will want to make sure they're also using your married name to match what's on file with the IRS.

          Your W-2's will need to be in your married name. In order to maintain your maiden name professionally, you'll have to work out an accommodation where they file using your married name while continuing to use your maiden name for everything else.

          I can't say whether or not this is within they're capacity or if they're even willing. At least now you know what to expect if you go down this road.

          Reply
  29. Diane

    Hi, when I got married, I changed my last name to my husband's last name on the marriage license. However, I haven't changed any other official documents including my Social Security card since that one change.

    We file our income taxes as a married couple but I still sign my original name.

    I am now renewing my passport. Because I haven't changed anything official except the marriage license, can I still apply for the passport under my original name? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We file our income taxes as a married couple but I still sign my original name.

      As you should.

      Because I haven't changed anything official except the marriage license, can I still apply for the passport under my original name?

      You could do either: renew in your maiden name or change to married name.

      Reply
  30. Sherry

    i am applying for medicare A only because my husband has me under his insurance at work, I never changed my name on any documents but my marriage certificate has my hyphenated last name, will this cause me any problems collecting medicare.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I never changed my name on any documents but my marriage certificate has my hyphenated last name, will this cause me any problems collecting medicare.

      That won't be a problem.

      Reply
  31. Lindsey

    I have been married for 12 years. I never had my name changed on my SS card, but I did on my DL. I need to know what I can do to get this changed since everything is in my married name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I need to know what I can do to get this changed since everything is in my married name.

      The process is the same. Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to effect a name change.

      Since your marriage took place more than two years ago, you'll have to include an identity document (e.g., driver's license, passport) along with your marriage certificate if you mail in your name change paperwork.

      Reply
  32. Karen

    My marriage certificate from 2001 shows that I changed my name to my husband's. We were married in NYS. However, I never adopted his name or made any changes to bank records, driver's license, passport, etc. Do I need to officially change it back to my maiden name or is it ok to just leave everything as is? It hasn't seemed to have been a problem, but I wanted to ask.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to officially change it back to my maiden name or is it ok to just leave everything as is?

      Since your new name was only changed on your marriage certificate, then your name hasn't really changed in the real world. Take no further action and your name will remain the same without a problem.

      Reply
  33. Shannon

    Hi there — I recently got married and opted to take my husband's surname on my marriage certificate; however, I haven't officially updated any of my documents (SSN, License, Passport, etc.) and have continued to use my maiden name on all of those. As we are expecting our first child, I'm wondering if I can use my married name on the birth certificate, or do I need to put my maiden name as that is what the SSA and state still recognize me as? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm wondering if I can use my married name on the birth certificate, or do I need to put my maiden name as that is what the SSA and state still recognize me as?

      You can put either name on the birth certificate.

      Reply
  34. Melissa Hoffman

    I just recently changed my last name to my married name through SSA within the past 30 days. Still in the process of changing it at the DMV, etc.

    I’m applying for a new credit card and was wondering if I should use my maiden name or married name when applying? Since it’s been less than a month since I changed it on my social security card I’m not sure if it takes time for my new name to show up on my credit report or what name the credit card application pulls up when checking my information.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. You can check your credit report for free online using the annual credit report government website. That'll tell you if your new married name appears on your credit file.

      When you notify the SSA or one of your creditors of a name change, the credit bureaus get notified automatically. If you must expedite the process of updating your record, you can contact the credit bureaus directly. However, they may have already updated your record, making this step unnecessary.

      Reply
  35. Natasha

    My husband had changed his name legally in the past with no marriages… How would my husband go back to his Maiden name??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How would my husband go back to his Maiden name?

      Same process. Legal name change through the court system.

      Reply
  36. Ged

    what if I change my married name to my maiden name in my passport because we are annulled.my problem is I do not have papers of judicial decree with finality because it is lost.my husband was the one who filed the annulment so that he has the only have copy of court order.

    PSA paper only like cenomar, mc with annotation of null and void and declaration advisory I have for now. Can I still change my married name to maiden name on getting passport using psa paper or do I have to borrow the papers of court order to my husband?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ged. Have you tried contacting the court directly to obtain your own copy?

      Reply
  37. Loreta

    Loreta
    July 28, 2019

    My husband passed away 2 yrs ago and I am planning to change my married name to my maiden name. also, my now fiance and I are planning to get married sometime this year. I live in the Philippines and to acquire a marriage certificate I have to get a certificate of no marriage (Cenomar) and I have found out that I am still a single woman as stated on the Cenomar Certificate.

    My name on my passport is my deceased husband name, so to change my name to my maiden name, will there be a problem?

    Can I change my passport after I get married or before?

    Please advice
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my passport after I get married or before?

      You can use your late husband's death certificate to go back to your maiden name now.

      Reply
  38. Ann

    I was married 3 yrs back. At that point of time I opted to put his surname as my middle name. I haven't updated any of my documents and to be honest I have changed my mind . All the documents has my maiden name but only my marriage certificate has my changed name. Will this be a problem in my gc process? I want to put my maiden name so if we are applying our gc process will this name be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this be a problem in my gc process? I want to put my maiden name so if we are applying our gc process will this name be an issue?

      This won't be an issue. Changing your name isn't required.

      Reply
  39. Arletha

    Im a married lady i just want to no how my husband can have my surname. We stay in Capetown.. Western Cape

    Reply
  40. Vallentine

    I am brazilian from birth and american form naturalization.
    When I divorced my ex husband (American guy and we married in the US) I chose to keep my married name (his last name).

    I came back to Brazil and started over.
    I got married again in Brazil, but since I hadn’t register my american marriage and married name in Brazil, I got married for the second time with my maiden name.

    Now I want to apply for green card for my husband, but my american passaport has my first married name, and my new married certificate has my maiden name.

    Will I get in trouble?

    Someone told to change my name in my american passport using my new marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my american passaport has my first married name, and my new married certificate has my maiden name. Will I get in trouble?

      No, you're fine.

      Someone told to change my name in my american passport using my new marriage certificate.

      You can.

      Reply
  41. Jane Erlandsen

    I was divorced 37 years ago. My entire adult life and career, I have continued to legally use my ex's last name. I have extensive real estate holdings both personally as well as in two corporations. I plan to marry this year. it seems that it would be simpler to not change my name to my new spouses and simply continue to use my current legal name and only use his informally. Does this sound like the best and simplest strategy?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does this sound like the best and simplest strategy?

      Not having to update documents is certainly the path of least resistance. If you did change your name, you wouldn't necessarily have to update the name on your properties as your identity wouldn't be in question. Your subsequent marriage certificate would link your new married name to your prior married name.

      Reply
  42. Shemek Reece-Browne

    I recently go married and would have added my husbands name to my identification card and want to do document change. Can i sign documents using my last name? and would i always have to walk around with both my marriage certificate and birth paper for proof.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i sign documents using my last name?

      Your signature should match your current legal name.

      and would i always have to walk around with both my marriage certificate and birth paper for proof.

      No, you wouldn't need to keep either document on you.

      Reply
  43. Mary

    Hi I was married in 2000 and divoiced in 2008 I paid to have my last name changed back to my maiden name which I never have done. Now I plain on getting remarried will I have a problem sense I never changed my name back

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I plain on getting remarried will I have a problem sense I never changed my name back

      No. Just make sure you use your current legal name when you apply for your new marriage license.

      Reply
  44. Sherri

    My daughter is getting married next year. She and her future husband are both graduating as doctors- She wants to possibly keep her maiden name in the medical/professional world. But take HIS last name socially and to align with their future children.

    What would be the best course of action? Does she have to hyphenate on the marriage license to keep her name in the mix? Can she take his name on the marriage license and still keep her maiden name on medical licenses, etc?

    How would she sign documents/what would her passport have as a name? Can she put his name on the license and leave everything else as is or does SSN, drivers license, etc. need to match marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She wants to possibly keep her maiden name in the medical/professional world. But take HIS last name socially

      Then she'd just not change anything formally.

      and to align with their future children.

      The name of her future children don't have to match hers or her husband's. Her children could take on her maiden name, her spouse's name, or a hyphenated version in either order.

      What would be the best course of action?

      If she's certain to never change her name, doing nothing is the easiest choice. But if she wants to keep her options option, there are some things to take into account, which you allude to…

      Does she have to hyphenate on the marriage license to keep her name in the mix?

      This assumes the state she's marrying in will even have an option to choose a new name on the marriage license. It may not, which would make this one less thing to worry about.

      If the state does provide this option, she must choose carefully. Specifying a choice could lock her into that choice if she decides to change her name down the line using her marriage certificate.

      On the flip side, not specifying a choice could lock her out of using her marriage certificate later to change her name. She also couldn't amend the certificate after the fact with another name choice.

      Can she put his name on the license and leave everything else as is or does SSN, drivers license, etc. need to match marriage license?

      She can leave her new married name solely on the marriage certificate. None of her credentials need to match.

      Reply
  45. Rowena Socorro A. Avellana

    Hi..I am Rowena I’ve been separated for 24 yrs. but still i am using my maiden name and all my documents are single never change to married even my passport. now my question is how can this affects my visa application in USA? thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      now my question is how can this affects my visa application in USA?

      Your visa application wouldn't be affected since you've never changed from your maiden name.

      Reply
  46. Lorrie

    I was married 2 years ago and never changed my driver license name, but I did change my ss card name. I'm now divorce and the decree state that I may revert back to my last name. I don't wish to change my last name. How do I get my last name to match my ss card of my ex married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      ow do I get my last name to match my ss card of my ex married name?

      Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate from your dissolved marriage.

      Reply
  47. kayla ignacio

    I've been married for 6 years can I still hyphenate my last name if I already changed it to my spouse's name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still hyphenate my last name if I already changed it to my spouse's name?

      No, you'd have to file a court petition to do another name change.

      Reply
  48. Sylvia

    I got married few months ago on my Lic. And Certificate of Marriage I wanted to take my husband's name at the moment. I actually haven't change anything under the new last name can I continue to use my maiden name if I haven't updated anything to DMV or SS

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I continue to use my maiden name if I haven't updated anything to DMV or SS

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  49. Lauren

    Hi, I recently got married and changed my last name to my husband's. My drivers license still has my maiden name on it, is it still okay to use?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My drivers license still has my maiden name on it, is it still okay to use?

      Some states require you to update the name on your driver's license if you change it legally. The same goes for change of addresses. The requirements and penalties (if any) are often vague and hollow.

      Not changing the name on your license doesn't invalidate it. When it comes time to renew, you'll likely have to match the name on your social security record.

      Reply
  50. Hunter

    Hello,

    My husband and I got married in May of this year. I changed my name to his last name, but am now realizing it was never changed with my fathers insurance company and Medicaid (I attempted to with Medicaid they never did). What should I do? Will I be okay to wait until open enrollment period?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What should I do? Will I be okay to wait until open enrollment period?

      You don't need to wait and let this hang over you. Just contact your Medicaid caseworker and provide them whatever documentation is necessary to update your name.

      Reply
  51. Angel kaka

    There is a mistake in my nysc relocation ground. It was based on marital ground with my elder brother's name. Will it affect my maiden name on the certificate because there was no evidence document of change of name uploaded.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angel. Was your deployment approved? If so, you should be fine. If you need to correct your submission, get in touch with your NYSC office.

      Reply
  52. Appril singh

    I am getting a divorce in October build my name go back to my maiden name after the divorce is final

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Appril. It's not clear to me what you're asking. If you want to go back to your maiden name after divorce, alert the judge so that the instruction is included in your final divorce decree.

      Reply
  53. Danielle

    Hi,
    My question is…I just recently moved back to the states. I got married in 2012 in a different country. We are now getting divorced. I never changed my name on my ssc. But did on my passport. So my ssc has my maiden name and my passport has my married name. Is my maiden name still my legal name? and can I use my maiden name for dmv ect… now that I have moved back to the states?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is my maiden name still my legal name?

      Yes, as far as social security is concerned.

      and can I use my maiden name for dmv ect

      Yes.

      Reply
  54. K.

    I changed my name when I married. How can I go back to my maiden name even though I'm not divorced?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi K. Even though the SSA might allow a reversion, especially if you haven't used or changed your name in any other capacity, it's unlikely any other government organization would. This is why you're likely to have to go to get a court order to change your name across the board without complication.

      Reply
  55. Zameenah Fuqua-Watson

    Hello, I have my maiden name and my ex husbands name but he forgot to tell the judge I wanted to go back to my maiden name but if I get remarried can I just drop the ex husbands name keep my maiden name and add my new husbands name with out paying a fee?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but he forgot to tell the judge I wanted to go back to my maiden name

      You may be able to get your divorce decree amended to restore your maiden name. You'll have to contact the court about that possibility.

      but if I get remarried can I just drop the ex husbands name keep my maiden name and add my new husbands name

      On the marriage license application you'll have to put your current legal name. How flexible your name choices are depends on where your marriage will take place and where you reside. Could you share these details?

      Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. If you intend to use your maiden name after divorce, be sure to request the restoration from the judge so that it appears in your divorce decree. This will allow you to legally change your name instead of informal usage.

      Reply
  56. Chasity

    I changed my name to reflect my husbands last name for drivers license and social security card. Do I have to change it at work for w2/ tax purposes or any other reason?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change it at work for w2/ tax purposes or any other reason?

      Yes, the SSA reports name changes to the IRS. If your W-2s and tax records don't match, it could cause delays processing your taxes.

      Reply
  57. Precious David

    Hello,

    I am a foreign RN who is on the process of getting a U.S green card.

    I've been married for 12years but I'm still using my maiden name in all my documents and international passport.

    My concern is;will there be any issues with my surname being different from that of my kids and husband since we're considering a family visa? My kids bear my husband's name as surname on their international passport while my husband bears his father's name.Do you think we won't be able to immigrate as a family because of the above reason?

    Thanks in anticipation for your response.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My concern is;will there be any issues with my surname being different from that of my kids and husband since we're considering a family visa?

      No, it's not an issue.

      Do you think we won't be able to immigrate as a family because of the above reason?

      No, it's a nonissue.

      Reply
  58. Amber Ashby

    I've been married, in Nevada, since 2015. I took my husband's last name but I still haven't changed the name on my SSC.

    I recently lost my driver's license and tried to get a duplicate, but was told since my SSC still uses my maiden name I would have to change that first.

    Instead of using my married name could I go down to the DMV and get a duplicate license in my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Instead of using my married name could I go down to the DMV and get a duplicate license in my maiden name?

      Yes, that wouldn't be a problem.

      Reply
  59. Daniela Lutri Rojas

    Hello guys, I got married in 2015 and changed my last name to my husbands last name and because I didn’t want to lose my maiden name I used it as a middle name. Now I’m regretting it since I’m becoming a Licensed Veterinarian and I want to use my maiden last name professionally.

    I don’t mind keeping my husband s last name for other purposes. How can I start my career with my last name since I’m getting my paper ready with new name and license ready. I want to be able to use my maiden name as well as a Dr

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Daniela. You can contact your state's licensing board about the possibility of using an registered alias or D.B.A. in your maiden name.

      Reply
  60. Christine Sinclair Rowe

    Hi Daniela! I’m looking into getting global entry. My question is, my passport has my maiden name but my license has my maiden and married name hyphenated. Will this be a problem when I bring them the 2 required ids? Should I also bring my marriage certificate?

    Reply
  61. Mary

    I live in NYC and am permanently separated from my spouse by a domestic violence order of protection since 2016. In 2017, I filed for uncontested divorce & my spouse was cooperative until discovering that I had not removed the order.

    Long story short, I have not yet been able to obtain the divorce since it will take a lot more money to manage this without a signature, and I am taking a long time to save money due to paying on marriage debts.

    My question is, since I only changed my maiden name to my married one with NYS DMV, never with SS, is there a way for me to get my maiden name back on my drivers license before I can finalize divorce? NY DMV said I have to present a divorce decree, but surely there's another way.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. There isn't another way. You'd either have to show a divorce decree or court order showing your name has changed.

      Reply
  62. Denise White

    Hello Valera,
    I live in Illinois but had a destination wedding in Florida in June 2019. I signed the Marriage license hyphenating my maiden and husband name. I am a Police Officer and don't want to use my hyphenated name and want to continue using my maiden name for work purposes.

    We are expecting a baby in a few weeks October 2019 and I want to sign the birth certificate using my hyphenated name but I have not changed anything else legally with SSA, DL or passport. Can I do this legally or do I need to hurry up and change these documents before having the baby?

    Also work wise if I will be adding my husband on my health insurance and filing taxes together will I have to legally change all this paperwork into my new name or can I still use my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to sign the birth certificate using my hyphenated name but I have not changed anything else legally with SSA, DL or passport. Can I do this legally

      You can do this.

      or do I need to hurry up and change these documents before having the baby?

      Unnecessary.

      will I have to legally change all this paperwork into my new name or can I still use my maiden name?

      You can keep everything unchanged.

      Reply
  63. Kabi

    Hi Valera,
    I got married 6 months back in Nepal. Our court marriage certificate from Nepal has the same last name as my maiden name. I already have Citizenship and passport with my maiden name. My husband is a United States citizen and he filed immigration forms using my maiden name. I was wondering at what point of time I could change my maiden name to his last name? And what would be the procedures?

    Reply
  64. Linda Bailey

    I am getting married in a few weeks (Missouri). I have had my current last name for over 40 years. My new husband wants me to take his last name, which I am willing to do (we are in our 70s).

    I believe I have read somewhere that I can be Mary Jones, Mary Smith or Mary Jones Smith. I hate the idea of having to change my name on so many things. Is this correct?

    If so, are there any documents that I absolutely have to change? Drivers license, Soc. Sec., Medicare etc. I am assuming I can add his name to my checking account and leave my name as is.

    What about adding name to his checking account? To many questions at this stage of the game. Any information would be helpful. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      hate the idea of having to change my name on so many things. Is this correct?

      If Jones or Smith is your current name, then yes with the SSA. Probably not with the DMV.

      If so, are there any documents that I absolutely have to change?

      You don't have to change anything. You could use the name informally without changing a document. If you do update your social security card, you should change your driver's license to match, along with banking.

      What about adding name to his checking account?

      Your surnames don't have to match to do that.

      Reply
  65. Samantha

    Can I legally in Wisconsin go back to my maiden name after being divorced for 5 years and hes gotten remarried without a big hassle

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I legally in Wisconsin go back to my maiden name after being divorced for 5 years

      You can if your divorce decree has restored your maiden name. The SSA would technically still allow a restoration without it being ordered in your decree, but other government institutions might not.

      Reply
  66. Fp

    Hi. When I became a US citizen I changed my name. Is my old name (birth name) still valid? Could I still use it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I became a US citizen I changed my name. Is my old name (birth name) still valid?

      No, your legal name has changed from birth to what's on your citizenship document.

      Reply
  67. Angela

    I married in March of this year and one month later I changed my name where my middle name now includes my maiden and I took my husband's last name. This change was done at the social security office, NCDMV, and my workplace.

    I really would like to change this sequence where my maiden name is coupled with my married name to be my last name. Can this change be done at the social security office or would I have to go through the courts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can this change be done at the social security office or would I have to go through the courts?

      Since you've already changed your married name once with Social Security, you'll have to go through the courts to change it again.

      Reply
  68. Essel

    Hi, passport bears the name “First name, maiden middle name, maiden last name-husband’s last name”.
    Q: Can a bank account be opened under “First name,maiden last name, husband’s last name?”
    Thank u.
    Location: Philippines

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Essel. That's up to the bank. However, they may require the use of your legal name within their system, while printing your preferred name on checks, materials, letters, etc.

      Reply
  69. Neesha S

    Hi,
    When I became a citizen I changed back to my maiden name. I now regret this change because my identity is my married name even though I’m divorced. My mortgage, social security, college degree etc. bears my married name. I also didn’t update my citizenship status with SSA. I’m now planning to remarry my fiancé from another country. Can I file a petition for my spouse using my former married name or do I have to use the name on my citizenship certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I also didn’t update my citizenship status with SSA.

      One problem you're likely to face is when you update your citizenship status with the SSA you'll have to provide your certificate of naturalization. There will be a name mismatch.

      Can I file a petition for my spouse using my former married name or do I have to use the name on my citizenship certificate?

      Could you clarify who you're petitioning?

      Reply
      1. Neesha S

        I’ll be filing a petition for my fiancé after we get married. He’s living in another country.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Neesha. It's not clear to me what you mean by petition. Could you specify the government entity you're petitioning?

          Reply
  70. Terri

    Good Morning. My son and his girlfriend of 10 years plan to get married in the next 2 years. My son wants her to take his last name. Because she has been in the military for 4 years she feels that she has developed a professional name for herself and wants to keep her maiden name. We live in North Carolina.

    My question is: If she takes his last name when they are married, can she legally continue to use her maiden name professionally? If so, how does that look or work? Other than the marriage license changing her last name, would she be required to change any other documents and if so which ones. How does banking, insurance and all of the other stuff fall into place.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If she takes his last name when they are married, can she legally continue to use her maiden name professionally?

      The name entered in DEERS would have to match what's on her social security record.

      If so, how does that look or work?

      A DBA could be used for a typical business. She could request the use of an alias.

      Other than the marriage license changing her last name, would she be required to change any other documents

      A name change shown on the marriage license or certificate doesn't obligate her to change her name. It's an option.

      and if so which ones.

      Social security card, driver's license, military ID, passport, among others. Her marriage certificate is proof of name change.

      How does banking, insurance and all of the other stuff fall into place.

      She'd notify them as well.

      Reply
  71. Stacie Chandler

    I just received my divorce decree and my maiden name has been granted, however I really don't want to go through the hassle of changing my name on everything. Do I have to change it on everything or can I continue to use my married name and change things gradually.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change it on everything or can I continue to use my married name and change things gradually.

      You don't have to change your name after divorce, regardless of what's on your divorce decree.

      Reply
  72. Mathilde

    Hello Valera,

    First of all, Thank you for this great website and for taking the time to answer us.

    What I understand, (living in NYC) I can get married and add as a new surname the name of my future husband on the mariage certificate but I don't need to change it right away on my SSn, ID, etc… I wanted to wait for a year after our religious ceremony just to make it more official for us as it is what matters to us!

    It won't be a problem for my taxes or salary or anything else like that until I do the change to SSN in a year?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I can get married and add as a new surname the name of my future husband on the mariage certificate but I don't need to change it right away

      That's right, you don't have to change it right away.

      I wanted to wait for a year after our religious ceremony

      You can wait as long as you need.

      It won't be a problem for my taxes or salary or anything else like that until I do the change to SSN in a year?

      It won't be a problem. You'd continue filing taxes in your current name.

      Reply
  73. April

    I am married but I am still using my maiden name in College.

    Now, I am planning to travel abroad but my school information is different from my passport details because I am using my married name in the passport.

    the reasons why I did not use my married name first is that we are now separted, and the school which I am attending now is the last school I attended in 2007. So I intended not to change it.

    How should I write the explanation of using my maiden name at school for getting the visa?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi April. Carry a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to explain the name difference if asked. If you have identity papers in your married and maiden name, it doesn't hurt to bring them along as well.

      Reply
  74. Jennifer

    Hi,

    My daughter has 2 middle names. We are from the US and her fiance is from the UK. She is getting married and will be immediately moving to her husband's country as they both seek dual citizenship.

    She would like to keep her name last and take his name as either a second last name or an additional middle name. For example (not real names):

    Maiden name: Ann Betty Carol Davis

    Future desired married name: Ann Betty Carol EATON Davis

    It says her full current name with both middle names on her passport.

    His last name after her last name doesn't sound great, so she's trying to avoid it

    She would like to keep things as simple as possible, but still wants to take his name as part of her name, possibly even being refered to as Mrs. Eaton Davis or Ann Eaton Davis. Can it be a second last name

    What would be the easiest way to go about adding his name before her surname? And in what capacity could she use that name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. If your daughter is marrying in the U.S., her options vary depending on where the marriage will take place. Two questions that'll help clarify things… Do you know which state the marriage will take place? Does she plan to maintain U.S. citizenship, become a U.K. citizen, or obtain dual citizenship?

      Reply
  75. Dassie

    I'm engaged, but my fiance wants me to relocate to dubai with him. We'll be getting married there in dubai. My maiden name is on my passport, but he wants me to change my passport name to his surname. Is it necessary to change the name on my passport to his surname before leaving for dubai? Can't i change it when i get to dubai?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it necessary to change the name on my passport to his surname before leaving for dubai? Can't i change it when i get to dubai?

      You can wait to change it once you reach Dubai. Make sure your airline ticket matches the name on your existing passport.

      Reply
  76. Joann Williamson

    I was married 4yrs but did not change my maiden name on any docs, nor use my married name.
    Please, what should I answer when asked on passport form
    (was I known by any other name?)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joann. You'd put any prior legal name you've had. You wouldn't include your married name, since you never formally changed it.

      Reply
  77. Kunal

    My family Mediclaim policy is having my wife's name, maidan surname and my surname would it affect policy claims as her official name ends with her maiden surname

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kunal. You'll want to contact your insurance provider about the potential of a name mismatch affecting medical claims acceptance.

      Reply
  78. Janet

    Hi I got married last month, I hyphenated my and my husband’s last name on my wedding certificate, can I use my maiden name as legal name without changing it when I renew my passport, drivers license, and ss? Or do I have to use the name on the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I use my maiden name as legal name without changing it when I renew my passport, drivers license, and ss?

      You can continue using your maiden name if it's your current legal name.

      Or do I have to use the name on the certificate?

      You're not obligated to change your name to match what's on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
      1. Janet

        Does changing my last name on the wedding certificate, become my legal name? Can I renew my license and passport with my current name, not my marriage license name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Does changing my last name on the wedding certificate, become my legal name?

          No.

          Can I renew my license and passport with my current name, not my marriage license name?

          Yes.

          Reply
  79. Justin P

    My wife booked a room with a credit card in her maiden name. Her current ID has her married name. She has her old ID with her maiden name, but its expired and out of state. Do you think there will be any issues upon check in ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Justin. That's entirely up to the establishment's policies, but it's unlikely to be problem since your wife's bringing before and after ID. It's also a good idea to bring a copy of the marriage certificate.

      Reply

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