Use Your Maiden Name Even After a Name Change

2,978 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!

2,978 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Taylor

    Hi,

    I just got married and would like to change my last name to my husband's. I know I will need to update my SSN card and driver's license. My passport doesn't expire for 4 years. Do I have to update my passport now with my new last name or can I wait until I renew it? If I wait, will I have to buy plane tickets with my maiden so it matches my passport?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to update my passport now with my new last name or can I wait until I renew it?

      You can wait.

      If I wait, will I have to buy plane tickets with my maiden so it matches my passport?

      Yes.

      Reply
  14. Leela

    hi,
    I added my husband's last name on the marriage certificate bu I don't want to change any of my IDs (passport, Driver Licence) or and of the bank documents. Would it be possible if my new last name only appears on the marriage licence? Would It it be a problem? especially when I travel internationally? Would I experience any problems?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would it be possible if my new last name only appears on the marriage licence?

      Yes, you don't have to change your name.

      Would It it be a problem? especially when I travel internationally? Would I experience any problems?

      It won't be a problem. Make sure the name on your travel tickets matches the name on your passport.

      Reply
  15. Kat

    I recently got married (2nd marriage-kept my married name for my child). I want to change my name back to my maiden name, but the marriage license states my previous married name. Can I make this change at social security, DMV, etc. or is there something more I need to do? I live in Arizona.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my name back to my maiden name, but the marriage license states my previous married name.

      That's fine. Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You can review the Arizona name change page for more information.

      Can I make this change at social security, DMV, etc. or is there something more I need to do?

      There's nothing more to do.

      Reply
  16. Bonnie Alderete

    My maiden name is still on my car registration. I have not paid the car off yet. My insurance card has my married name and vin # on it. The reg is paid up. Is it illegal to drive my car with my maiden name on the reg card? My DL and Social Security card have my married name on them.
    I live in Ca.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it illegal to drive my car with my maiden name on the reg card?

      No, your registration is still valid.

      Reply
  17. grace

    Hi im married for almost 2 years. can i still use my maiden name in business name registration? only my passport not yet change. is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can i still use my maiden name in business name registration?

      You'd use your current legal name to register, but there's nothing stopping you from registering a DBA in your non-married name.

      Reply
  18. Caroline Havelka

    I got married 2 years ago. It took me a year to change my name to my husband's name; however, I want to use my maiden name at work. Since I legally changed it my place of work will NOT allow me to use my maiden name. Now I am considering going to court and using both last names (maiden and married) without the hyphen. What are the rules to 2 last names? Do I have to change all my credit cards, bank statements, etc.?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I am considering going to court and using both last names (maiden and married) without the hyphen.

      That wouldn't be a problem.

      What are the rules to 2 last names?

      There are no special rules for a space-separated surname. You may look at it as a double last name, but it's considered a single last name.

      When you notify your place of work of your double last name, you'll likely be in the same boat where they'll only recognize you by your complete last name.

      Would they accept the use of referring to you by your maiden name even with your new dual last name on record? If so, would they acknowledge that in writing. If not, would they accommodate the use of an alias instead?

      Do I have to change all my credit cards, bank statements, etc.?

      Not if you don't want to. Keep in mind, once you update your social security card or even one credit card, that information will eventually bubble up to your credit report.

      When you apply for a new credit card or bank account, loan, etc, you'll have to use your full legal last name.

      Reply
      1. Caroline

        They refuse to let me use an alias. They also refuse if I change my middle name to maiden name to acknowledge it. I work as a teacher and have heard my maiden name a long time….but my husband dislikes the idea of even me changing to 2 last names without the hyphen.

        I have no problem using just my married name in my personal life but professionally I want the maiden name. There must be a solution….I can't possibly be the only one who feels this way??

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Carolina. Unless your place of employment allows the use of your maiden name informally, it's not clear what your available option would be short of changing your name back to your maiden name and using your married name informally.

          Reply
  19. Rachel Hills

    Hi, I was really torn on the issue but ultimately decided to change my last name to match my husband's. This is reflected on our marriage license. However now I am heavily regretting my decision and want to keep my maiden name.

    The only steps I have completed to change my name to his are the SSA and my health/life insurance at work. From all the comments I'm reading, it sounds like I would have been fine to keep my maiden name for the rest of my life if I hadn't done anything.

    I am glad I haven't gone to the DMV yet or changed it on my passport. I think it would be fairly easy to change last name back to my maiden name on my health/life insurance but do you know if I can go back to the SSA and change it back to my maiden name?

    Or if I even need to do this? It costs so much to "legally" change it back through a court process so I am hoping I can just live my life with my maiden name even though that isn't what is on our marriage certificate.

    My worry is that since I changed it with the SSA that I now have to change it at the DMV and on my password since it is in the "system"…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However now I am heavily regretting my decision and want to keep my maiden name.

      You still have options available. Read on…

      it sounds like I would have been fine to keep my maiden name for the rest of my life if I hadn't done anything.

      True.

      I think it would be fairly easy to change last name back to my maiden name on my health/life insurance

      Probably worth verifying beforehand.

      but do you know if I can go back to the SSA and change it back to my maiden name?

      Yes, you could reverse your name change on your social security card using the same marriage certificate you used to change it. Review the name corrections section on the social security name change article for how this works.

      My worry is that since I changed it with the SSA that I now have to change it at the DMV and on my password since it is in the "system"

      If you ever renew or replace your driver's license, you'd have to update the name. You could renew your passport in your maiden name regardless of what you choose to do.

      Reply
      1. Rachel Hills

        Hi, I followed your advice and reviewed the name corrections section on the social security name change article. I was excited to be able to reverse it back to my maiden name but unfortunately it didn’t work.

        Here is what I did. I filled out the SSA’s name change form (form SS-5) and mailed it to my local SSA office, along with an official copy of my marriage certificate. I assumed this would be good enough proof of identity and assumed I didn’t need to include proof of citizenship since this was just a name correction.

        I wrote them a note explaining what I wanted and that this was just a name correction back to my maiden name.

        Unfortunately I got it back in the mail a week later and they included a paper saying I needed a court order for a name change.

        I really want to correct my name back to my maiden name. Can you tell me if I did something wrong? Should I try again in person perhaps? I live in Oregon if that is helpful. Thank you!!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Rachel. What you're reporting has also been reported by others. The name correction is documented on the SSA's online operations manual. You can see reference 1 and reference 2.

          We corresponded with someone who faced a similar situation as yours. Went in person and was told a court order was required. We noted the two references, she printed it out, then went back to try again. Supervisor ultimately relented, begrudgingly changing her name back to what it was. They called it a name reversal instead of correction.

          This appears to be an obscure (yet documented) allowance that is causing many double-takes. If someone comes in with such a rare request without documentation to back it up, they can face what you faced.

          We'll be updating the SSA article shortly to further elaborate on these points.

          Reply
          1. Rachel Hills

            Oh wow okay, I will try again but this time include the policies as “proof.” I am glad there are actual policies I can show them! Thank you so much for sharing what you know.

        2. Sonia

          Same exact thing just happened to me in Minnesota.
          The social security service on the phone told me it would work,
          sent in all the documents and the local office sent everything back with a similar note. Appreciate advice below> will try again!

          Reply
  20. Kathleen

    Hello
    Have a question, I’m a married lady but still my documents is single I haven’t change yet, and now I need to renew my passport…
    What will I write in my status? Single or married? Because I don’t like to change my maiden name…

    From Philippines married here in hongkong

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Single or married?

      Married.

      Because I don’t like to change my maiden name

      You don't have to change it.

      Reply
  21. Nadia

    Hello. I've got my passport long ago when I still lived in the US. I moved to Russia to study. Got married in Russia in 2014. So I have a Russian marriage certificate. Changed my last name to my husbands on all my Russian documents including my Russian passport.

    Last year changed my US passport because it was expired but didn't change my last name to my husbands because I was told that I don't need to do that. Now I'm thinking that the information was wrong.

    How can I change my last name to my husbands if my marriage certificate is Russian? Do I need to get it translated somewhere? Can I do all this online or I have to fly to the US and change it in person?

    Also, I have three kids that were born in Russia (all three under the age of five). My husband is Russian and he does not have an US passport but I do. Can my kids get US passports? If yes then how? Do I need to translate their birth certificates? And in their birth certificates my last name is the one that I got from my husband and my kids also have that last name. But in my American passport I have my old last name. I am a little confused about all this and don't know what to do!

    And more questions. If I can get my kids a US passport do I have to get them visas to fly to America and than in person with the kids fill in all the applications to get them the passports? Or can I do all this without the kids? Or can I not fly to the states and just do everything online?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How can I change my last name to my husbands if my marriage certificate is Russian? Do I need to get it translated somewhere?

      It must be professionally translated to English. The translation must be certified and notarized. The translator has to vouch for the accuracy of their translation.

      Can I do all this online or I have to fly to the US and change it in person?

      You can. Translator location isn't important. As long as your translator and translation is reputable, you're fine.

      Can my kids get US passports?

      They can if they're U.S. citizens.

      If yes then how?

      See children below age 16 on the State Dept. website.

      Do I need to translate their birth certificates?

      Show proof of citizenship. It doesn't have to be a birth certificate.

      And in their birth certificates my last name is the one that I got from my husband and my kids also have that last name. But in my American passport I have my old last name. I am a little confused about all this and don't know what to do!

      That's fine.

      If I can get my kids a US passport do I have to get them visas to fly to America and than in person with the kids fill in all the applications to get them the passports?

      You can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

      Or can I do all this without the kids? Or can I not fly to the states and just do everything online?

      They must be with you.

      Reply
  22. Nicole

    If you add your husband's name at the end of your last name after marriage, will checks to you have to be written out using those two names or either one once you change your name with Social security and your bank?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will checks to you have to be written out using those two names or either one once you change your name with Social security and your bank?

      That's up to your bank. They may be able to accommodate either name as long as both are on file. You'll also want to inquire on which name must be endorsed.

      Reply
  23. Brandie Applewhite

    Hi,
    I have been divorced 3 years but did not go back to my maiden name at that time. I still have my maiden name as my middle name and my ex’s last name (on drivers license, nursing license and ss card). My question is can I legally use just my maiden name when cashing paychecks etc or do I need to have it legally changed through the court ? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I legally use just my maiden name when cashing paychecks etc or do I need to have it legally changed through the court ?

      That's the bank's prerogative to accommodate. If they will, both names (legal and alias/maiden) should be on file.

      Reply
  24. Victoria

    I got married a few years ago and changed my last name. I have since gotten divorced and I am now changing my last name back to my maiden name. I still have my passport with my maiden name on it, since I never got it changed or a new one. Can I still use that once my name gets legally changed back to my maiden name since that is the name on it, or did it become invalid when my last name changed after getting married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still use that once my name gets legally changed back to my maiden name since that is the name on it

      Yes, it's still valid. There's nothing that needs modifying.

      Reply
  25. Krista Renee Hutchison

    I have been married for over 2 years and on my marriage certificate I took my husbands last name. I have not changed my name yet on my SS card, DL, etc. I still have my maiden name on these, but I do intend to change my name to my husbands last name.

    We are having our first baby any day now, and I would like to put my husbands last name as my last name on the birth certificate (my married last name that is on my marriage certificate). Can I do this, or do I need to put my maiden name, as I have not updated my SS, etc. with my name on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I do this, or do I need to put my maiden name, as I have not updated my SS, etc.

      Yes, you can put your maiden name. It's possible that your maiden name will be required. Some states allow both your maiden and married name.

      Reply
  26. Patty

    Hello,
    I have been married for over 12 years and have kept my maiden name professionally but my legal name is my husband's name. I have recently just started a new job & I am being told that they cannot change my email address to my maiden name on outgoing emails. My display name will show as my maiden name and if I give my clients my email address which displays my maiden name (they gave me a second email tied to the legal email address) I will receive it. I find this is going to get confusing when my clients save my contact info from my outgoing email.
    I hate to use the word discrimination but that is how I feel right now.
    I am in Massachusetts. Is there any legally that they have to respect my choice?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Patty. Is this a written policy? You may very well have to consult an attorney. Could you work around it? Use your own email address separate from the company?

      Now, let's take a step back and look at this from a technical perspective. You say they gave you a second email address with your preferred name, which forwards mail to your non-preferred email address.

      As I understand it, you're concerned your replies to clients will reveal your hidden intermediary address, which will confuse clients? If that's the case, you should be able to modify the settings within your email client to change the recipient profiles of incoming mail.

      I don't know what mail program is your end point, but there may be a configuration solution on your end.

      Reply
  27. Ana

    I live in CA and added my husband’s last name on my driver license. Everything else, including social security and passport show my maiden last name. Can I remove my husband’s last name from my driver’s license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. You would have to present another name change document. It's unlikely you'd be allowed to reuse your marriage certificate. Otherwise, folks would be performing reversions on a continual basis.

      Reply
      1. Ana

        Another name change document like a court document? Or can I show my social security card and passport showing my maiden last name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Another name change document like a court document?

          Correct.

          Or can I show my social security card and passport showing my maiden last name?

          That wouldn't count as a name change document.

          Reply
  28. Chaitanya

    Hi , I changed my last name to my married name during naturalization. Now I feel I should use my maiden name and kind of feel lost with out it. How can I change my name on naturalization and passport to my maiden name .Please advise .

    Reply
  29. Valerie

    I'm a police officer in NJ. If/when I marry I would like to legally change my name to his (he's traditional and his last name means a lot to him) but I would like to keep using my maiden name when I'm working as an officer because that's how people know me, and how I have established myself in my career. Am I allowed to professionally use a different last name as a police officer?

    I was previously married and when I divorced I got constant questions from people asking why my name changed, or congratulating me on my marriage and it was awkward to tell them I'd gotten divorced instead. Or people saying they didn't want to deal with me because they no longer recognized my name and thought I was a different officer. I'd rather just avoid the issue altogether.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Valerie. This would be up to your workplace. If they allow it, you're fine. In what capacity would they allow use of your maiden name? The alternative is to keep your maiden name legally and professionally, while using your married name socially.

      Reply
      1. Valerie

        In all aspects. I would legally have his last name, but I would identify myself as my last name when speaking with the public, signing my reports and any official documents with my last name. I just don't know if that's allowed.

        Example, if I go to court to testify and they ask me to state my name for the record, stating myself as my maiden name would be considered perjury…? Unless I say my correct legal name, but state that professionally I use my maiden name…?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Valerie. Rule of thumb, use your legal name for legal purposes, unless you get clearance otherwise. If your workplace has no problem with it, you're fine. But, they'll need your real legal name on file for tax purposes.

          Reply
  30. Saundra Huggins

    I was married a year ago in a different state than I reside in..I told officials that I wanted to keep my maiden name..they said no problem..alot of people do that. But the marriage license has the full married name on it. I never changed anything at all from my maiden to married because I never had any intentions of doing so. Am I OK in just leaving everything alone? I dont want anything to change..banking, business,personal taxes medical, etc…I choose to keep and be known as my maiden name only..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I OK in just leaving everything alone? I dont want anything to change.

      Of course. You don't have to change. Do nothing and your name stays the same.

      Reply
  31. Jessy

    I married 6 year ago with my main name I have to kids my main name . When I go to citizenship I get my husband surname When I receive my citizen certificate they not give me any court order when I updated my social security is going to any problem. I any to use his surname or going to need court order to change all on my car loan banks and driver license everything. Or can still use my main last nam.e Or I need to to change my citizen to my main last names i still can make change I don’t want to change all my documents to his surname

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I go to citizenship I get my husband surname When I receive my citizen certificate they not give me any court order

      You don't need a court order.

      when I updated my social security is going to any problem.

      No.

      I any to use his surname or going to need court order to change all on my car loan banks and driver license

      No, you'd use your marriage certificate.

      I don’t want to change all my documents to his surname

      You don't have to change your name on any document. It's not a requirement for marriage or citizenship.

      Reply
  32. Stasia

    I married in 1991. I did not legally change my name. I "assumed" my husband's last name and acquired a driver's license and passport that contained my maiden name and my husband's last name.

    The IRS and SSA, along with land titles, trust accounts, my birth certificate, and marriage license reflect my maiden name, which I have always believed (and still do) was my legal name.

    In my attempt to comply with the strict REAL ID rules that go into effect in October 2020, in February of 2019, I applied for, and received, a driver's license with my maiden name.

    In October 2019, I applied for passport renewal and a name change to reflect my maiden name. A Seattle Passport Agency adjudicator has told me that "as far as they [the agency] are concerned, the name on my passport is my legal name" and the only way I can receive a passport with my maiden name is to change my name legally – a $450 filing fee and $250 for 4 weeks publishing cost.

    I provided (and paid for) the Agency with certified copies of my marriage license and birth certificate, and because "certified original" documents do not exist, I sent copies of my tax returns, social security statements, assessor tax statements, original social security card – going back five years – all of which reflect my maiden name.

    If I change my name legally to include my husband's last name, every other legal document will become incorrect, invalid, or illegal. Do you have any advice other than to accept a denial, re-apply and hope I get an adjudicator that can appropriately apply logic and discretion which they have the authority to do, as stated in the U.S. Foreign Affairs manual?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Stasia. You've got nothing to lose by trying again. The problem is you're trying to execute another name change without a subsequent name change event (e.g., marriage, divorce, court order).

      Reply
    2. Jenny

      You may be able to apply for a brand new passport in person (not a renewal or change of name) at an acceptance facility using form DS-11. If you have legal ID and a birth certificate in your maiden name they should be able to process the application. If you have an old expired passport in your maiden name, take that along too.

      Reply
  33. Whit

    I am applying for global entry. I have never legally changed my last name but I do use my husbands name unofficially sometimes. Should I include that as an alias on my application?

    Reply
  34. Kay

    Hi, when I got married, I changed my last name to my last name on the marriage license. However, I haven't changed any other official documents including my Social Security card since that one change.But they took my maiden name off my dL and I don’t know how to get them to put it back on there that’s what I go by

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kay. If your new name only appears on your marriage license, how did it affect your driver's license? Did you update that document and now looking to undo it?

      Reply
  35. Karina

    Hello!

    We got married and I took my husband’s name. I had not changed any documents like work authorization, DL or SSC to my husband’s name yet. We have to go through immigration process to get my GC. My question is can I use my maiden name for now and use it when I'm filling any immigration documents (but I have to send copy of our marriage certificate to USCIS with my husband’s name as my new name) and if I allowed to do this what name will I have on my GC ?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  36. Wendy

    I have been married since 1991 and took my husbands name. I have legally changed my name and all documents to his last name after our marriage and now many years later I am wanting to use my maiden name in certain instances. Such as applying to job applications, or any schooling or use it professionally.

    We are still married and I sign all legal documents with my married name, but can I just start using my maiden name? Will it be considered an alias?

    The reason I am wanting to do this is to separate my legal last name from some negative family related things that have occurred and I have found that people automatically associate me with.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      now many years later I am wanting to use my maiden name in certain instances

      Since you've changed your name on all documents, you'd have to get a court order to practically return to your maiden name.

      Such as applying to job applications, or any schooling or use it professionally.

      SSN look-ups and job-related background checks will try to match your married name. If you're going this route, be sure to tell your prospective employer about your name differential.

      reason I am wanting to do this is to separate my legal last name from some negative family related things that have occurred

      Completely understandable. A court-ordered name change is certainly a valid option.

      Reply
  37. Abby

    I got married in November. At the time I wasn't sure I wanted to take his last name. On the license we filled out we indicated that after marriage my name would stay the same, but now we are discussing that I will be taking his name. I obviously haven't changed anything, and we have out certificate. Can I just start using his name now and changing things over even though when we had applied for our license we at first indicated that I wouldn't change my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Abby. Which state did the marriage take place in? I ask because in the few states that ask you to choose a new last name, not choosing could block you from changing it later.

      Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Abby. Maine updated their intentions of marriage application in September 2019. They added a new name after marriage line. Unfortunately, since you left the new name line blank, you will have to go to court to change your name.

          Reply
  38. Amairani

    Hi,
    I was talking about name changes with my SO and I want to take his last name when we got married but I wasn't sure how long after I have to legally change my last name on DL, SSN, debit/credit cards.

    We wanted to get married through the court first and then have a ceremony maybe a year later. Can I still use my maiden name documents for everything as is until the actual wedding or do I have to change my last name legally right away? Will I be charged if I go and change it afterwards?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wasn't sure how long after I have to legally change my last name

      There's no minimum/maximum time frame.

      Can I still use my maiden name documents for everything

      You'd use it until your name change is done.

      or do I have to change my last name legally right away?

      No, there's no timeline to abide by. Take as much time as you need.

      Will I be charged if I go and change it afterwards?

      I don't know what you're referring to here.

      Reply
  39. Sherry

    I never changed my name on my social security card after i got married, can my husband receive my social security survivors benefits?, I live in NYC

    Reply
  40. Carol Young

    Hi,
    My drivers license has always had my maiden name hyphenated with my married name. Because of the real ID, I changed my ssa card to match the drivers license to have the hyphenated name.

    If I want to drop the maiden name on both the drivers license and ssa card do I have to go through the courts for a name change, or can I just show my marriage license showing only my married name?

    A lot of my papers are under my married name only, does that present problems down the road? I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I have to go through the courts for a name change

      Yes, you'll have to go to court to remove your maiden name.

      lot of my papers are under my married name only

      It depends. You're using your name inconsistently so problems can arise. For instance, if your social security card has one name and you apply for a job using another, a background check will throw a name mismatch flag.

      Reply
  41. Shane Pot

    I am married for 10 years and we are now separated but not legally..I am using his surname in all of my documents..Can I use my maiden name again even if we are not yet annulled?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I use my maiden name again even if we are not yet annulled?

      Only on an informal basis.

      Reply
  42. CJ

    After marriage, I made my maiden name my 2nd middle name and took my husbands surname. 5 years later, I've decided to just have my original middle name and make my maiden plus husbands name my new last name (with no hyphen). Is a name change required through courts or can I use my marriage license to update my social security card? My given name only is on my marriage license in the state of Maryland. My name will be first name, middle, maiden + husbands name without hyphen.

    Reply
  43. Jenny

    Hi, i was previously married and on the marriage license i changed my last name to my ex last name. However i never used it in any legal documents like I.D S.S and all that. I got a divorce in 2016 and honestly i forgot that i had changed my last name to ex's. Now i'm a going to get re married but i'm not sure what my last name would be? Will i be putting my maiden name or ex husbands even though i never used it.

    Reply
  44. Robin

    Hi.

    I would like to keep my maiden name professionally but add husband’s name to passport etc. (First, middle, husband maiden) with no hyphen. I tried to make his name part of my middle name, which SSA let me do, but DMV said I could not make his name my middle name, couldn’t change my middle name without some other court process.

    Want to have husbands name as part of mine (matching him and kids) but maintain maiden for professional reasons. My licensing board said I could continue to use maiden name. In PA; what’s the proper way to do this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robin. The name on your driver's license must match what's on file with the SSA. The DMV is unlikely to budge on that matter.

      Reply
      1. Robin

        Ironically, SSA allowed me to make the change I wanted, but DMV said that change was illegal without some other court process (marriage license wouldn’t allow me to make husband’s last as part of my middle name). Do you know what the rules are with regards to how you incorporate a married name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Robin. Although Pennsylvania statutes don't spell out what names are allowed after marriage, taking your spouse's or hyphenating are universally accepted. A space-separated last name is not accepted at the state-level DMV office.

          Rule of thumb, unless a state's statutes allows a surname configuration that deviates from the norm, the DMV will disallow it. You experienced success with the SSA because they're a federal agency where a spaced name is allowed in their operating manual.

          Reply
  45. Help needed

    Hello

    I was married before and got divorced but kept my ex’s last name for the sake of the child. I have since remarried but on the Solemnization it has my maiden name. Will this make a difference when applying for the certificate and then passport in Canada

    Reply
    1. Valera

      on the Solemnization it has my maiden name

      Were you given the option to choose a new name when you applied?

      Reply
  46. Meagan Wallace

    I will be getting married and plan to take my fiancé’s last name, but I want to keep my maiden name for professional reasons. Is it possible to do this, in reference to things like filing taxes, if I change my SSN to show his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Meagan. You'd have to file your taxes using the name on your social security card.

      Reply
  47. Mnp

    Hello, I was married and hyphenated my last name but the only document I changed was my SSN card and we have joint banking accounts. My ID and passport all remain in my maiden name. I am starting a new career in real estate and had to get my license in my maiden name. I am wondering first, officially which is my legal name? Second, which should I use for my business?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      the only document I changed was my SSN card

      You can revert to your maiden name using your marriage certificate wih the SSA. It's considered a name correction. This can be useful since it's the only document you've updated.

      I am wondering first, officially which is my legal name?

      The name on your social security card. Which is the name you'd use when filing taxes.

      Second, which should I use for my business?

      Unless you're opting for a DBA in your maiden name, you'd use your married name.

      Reply
  48. Denise

    Hello I just got married and took my husband name but do I have to change my DL, ss, or passport or can I keep my maiden name? I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Denise. You don't have to update any of your credentials, even if a new name appears on your marriage certificate. It can stay isolated to that document.

      Reply
      1. Celeste

        Hi Denise and Valera,
        I am getting married in CA, but live in IL. I would like to list my name change on my marriage license but not file it with SS/DMV until I retire. Thus retaining my maiden name. I believe doing this allows me to change my name later, without an additional court visit/fee.

        However, if I take his insurance I believe I've read that some companies will reflect the new name. Do you think this will be problematic as my ID will remain in my current name?

        TIA for all of the helpful information!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I believe doing this allows me to change my name later, without an additional court visit/fee.

          Correct, as name change is optional.

          if I take his insurance I believe I've read that some companies will reflect the new name

          They'll use whatever your legal name is. Otherwise, it's a false assumption on their part. Be sure they use the proper name when adding onto his policy.

          Do you think this will be problematic as my ID will remain in my current name?

          Not if they use your proper name.

          Reply
  49. Sandra Roberds

    I never legally changed my last name to my husband's , the only change was hyphenating his last name after my maiden name on my personal checks which I stopped doing when we were divorced.

    When we were both signing the mortgage papers I asked how I should sign because I was keeping my maiden name so should I sign with both, and I was told to sign with just my married name which I did.

    When the judge asked if I wanted to change my name I thought to myself 'I never changed it to begin with. Why would I want to change it (to his) now!? The problem is the property, which is mine, is under my married name, which is what the company that issues the mineral rights checks goes by.

    Even when I still had hypenated last names on my personal checks and additional items to support both last names my bank refused to cash them, so they have been uselessly accumulating.

    I cannot afford court costs. I do have a certified be copy of my birth certificate, and both my d.l. and my s.s. card are my maiden name, as well as my passport, although it's expired. Can I use a notary to certify my name as my maiden name on a document official enough to have my name as owner of my property changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I never legally changed my last name to my husband's

      Which makes your maiden name your current legal name.

      I was told to sign with just my married name which I did.

      You can present ID that verifies your identity. It's unlikely to be a problem. Companies deal with these name issues frequently.

      The problem is the property, which is mine, is under my married name, which is what the company that issues the mineral rights checks goes by.

      If need be, you can ask them to change it. Explain the circumstance and present valid non-expired ID showing your current name.

      Even when I still had hypenated last names on my personal checks and additional items to support both last names my bank refused to cash them, so they have been uselessly accumulating.

      That's the bank's prerogative. Some will allow the use of an alias, some won't. It's something that'll have to be worked out with the bank.

      Can I use a notary to certify my name as my maiden name on a document official enough to have my name as owner of my property changed?

      Is the company you're dealing with asking for this? Before jumping through hoops, you may want to inquire if any of this is necessary. Perhaps your divorce decree showing your current legal name would be sufficient along with a copy of your marriage certificate and picture ID.

      Reply
  50. Ebun

    I got married to my first husband in Nigeria in 2009, I didn’t change my name legally but I took a job in his last name. We got divorced in 2018 and I’m still using his last name professionally.

    The divorce certificate was issued in his last name. I met my current spouse in July 2018 and we started cohabiting in November 2018. But we decided to legalize our union in 3rd March, 2020 in Nigeria also. The new marriage certificate is in my maiden name.

    All my particulars, job appointment letter, promotion letter, my pension statement, tax certificate, bank accounts and my international passport are in my ex husband’s name.

    My international passport is going to expire in September 2021. We are planning to immigrate to Canada and I want to be the principal applicant. I want to find out If our application will be affected if i apply for immigration in my ex husband’s name or do I need to do a change of name? Will the new marriage certificate that is in my maiden name cause any problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ebun. You can keep the name on your passport unchanged. You can also change your name during the Canadian citizenship process.

      Reply
  51. Patricia Hixson

    I live in the State of Michigan. In 1981 I had my last name legally changed so it would be the same as my daugher. Her dad and I were never legally married. I want to go back to using my maiden name. Can I just start using it again, or do I have to go to court?

    Reply
  52. Felicia

    I i can prove that my marriage is a farce, once SS changes me from my married name to my maiden name…isnt that confirmation I am no longer married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Felicia. You can use your certificate of annulment to switch your name back.

      Reply
  53. Sonia

    When we got married I was already a physician. At the advice of my medical mentor, (a woman I greatly admired who did the same) I kept my maiden name as my professional name and never changed my SS#.

    Socially, I changed to his last name as designated on our 2004 Minnesota Marriage license. My driver's license, passports, house, investments etc are all under my married/legal name.

    This has all worked fine for 16 years… until recently–>it was my birthday and I had to renew my driver's license. I knew I might not be able to get a REAL ID (because the name and SSN don't match), but I thought I could just renew my regular driver's license just as I had all these years and not get a REAL ID since, after all, I already have a passport that supersedes it.

    Image my surprise when the DOV/State of MN did not let me renew my driver's permit! The problem is not stemming from the IRS, but rather from a change in the law in the past year in the state of MN.

    I already contacted my company's legal department and they were of no help to me, even though this is an issue that could potentially affect my professional licensing (which I luckily just renewed with no problems) if I change the name on my social security card.

    I would really appreciate your professional help. This naming system has been working for me for 16 years! I am not eager to change my professional name – now 20 years into that brand, so to speak.

    I did contact the social security service directly and on two separate phone calls they told me it would work if I just got a social security card with both last names on it then it would solve the problem.

    I sent the proper forms and documentation to the Minneapolis social security card office and was very discouraged when they returned it to me last Friday and it didn't work like they said over the phone that it would. They wrote a little note to me that I would have to change my legal name.

    I am hoping there is still some kind of workaround. Do I have to establish a business name/identity (DBA?)? What are the other affected professional women across the country doing? Are they making all of us change our names?

    In Canada and other countries women like me are issued passports with a picture page in each name. Here I am being treated like a criminal. I feel very discriminated against. I was told years ago by the IRS that my arrangement was legal as long as there was no intent of fraud (which there obviously isn't).

    Who is correct? The two people at social security who assured me it could be done fairly easily, or the Minneapolis office who turned me down ?

    I have had no problems with my taxes or anything else. The only other problem I have had with this arrangement was that since the Patriot Act I had to close my joint bank account with my husband since the name didn't match the account SSN.

    I have kept my single bank account in my maiden name and get paid under that name as well. We file joint taxes under my maiden name (which matches the ss#) I attest to Wells Fargo (our mortgage company) that I am the same person and that the mismatch is not a mistake. The house , investments etc are in my married name.

    This new problem appears to be the result of a change in MN law. Should I be contacting my representatives? The governor? Has there been a change in federal law I am not yet aware of? This must affect hundreds if not thousands of women nationwide.

    Really appreciate your advice!

    Reply
    1. Sonia

      Also which kind of lawyer can I contact about this? It is really hard to find someone who knows what they are talking about with this other than this website!

      Reply
      1. Brenda

        All your ID's and legal documents should be in the same name, whether it be maiden or married. The informal name, used socially, is not used on official documents, just informal ones and in casual society. Driver's licenses and passports are not "social documents," they're official, legal, identity and/or citizenship ones. It's impossible to have two documented legal names.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      The problem is not stemming from the IRS, but rather from a change in the law in the past year in the state of MN.

      Did they provide this in writing? Or point to a specific clause? The likely reason is that your driver's license is not in agreement with your social security record. It may have been fine before, but times change.

      they told me it would work if I just got a social security card with both last names on it then it would solve the problem.

      Not sure how this would have helped. The DMV could insist upon using both last names.

      They wrote a little note to me that I would have to change my legal name.

      Which means going to court.

      Do I have to establish a business name/identity (DBA?)?

      Wouldn't work for your driver's license.

      What are the other affected professional women across the country doing?

      Some are keeping their legal names maiden, while using their married name unofficially. You're doing that as well, but you've got government ID in both names, which is giving you trouble.

      I was told years ago by the IRS that my arrangement was legal as long as there was no intent of fraud (which there obviously isn't).

      They go by what's on your SS record.

      Who is correct? The two people at social security who assured me it could be done fairly easily,

      Not sure what their thought logic was.

      or the Minneapolis office who turned me down ?

      As previously stated, short of their citing a specific rule, it likely comes down to a name mismatch with your SS record.

      Has there been a change in federal law I am not yet aware of? This must affect hundreds if not thousands of women nationwide.

      You have a long-persisting name mismatch between your social security record and driver's license. This isn't likely to be a common occurrence throughout the country.

      If you haven't already, you could try to return to the DMV presenting your marriage certificate showing your married name as justification. Probably wouldn't work if they're looking to sync up with the SSA.

      The alternative is to get a court-ordered name change showing your married name to satisfy the DMV. Or just change your name on your driver's license to match your SS record and keep everything else as-is, as much as can reasonably be done. If you go this latter route, you'll want to make sure your state's licensing board is okay with it.

      Reply
  54. Suchia

    I got married 13 years ago and hyphenated my maiden name and by husband last name. My husband is decease 7 years ago. I never change my name to my maiden name and my husband last name I remarry in 2019 and kept my maiden and hyphenated my husband last. Will there be an issue that I never used my previous hyphenated name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Suchia. I'm not sure of how many hyphenations you went through. One or two? Either way, I'm not certain what issue you could be facing.

      When you remarried, there's no problem with dropping your prior hyphenated name and hyphenating again with your new spouse. There's also no problem with you keeping your prior hyphenated name through remarriage.

      Reply
  55. Val

    If my name on the marriage certificate uses my husband’s surname, do I have to legally change my name to his? Do I have to change ssn, license,etc. to the name listed on the marriage certificate if I don’t want to (and would prefer to use maiden name legally and married name socially)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If my name on the marriage certificate uses my husband’s surname, do I have to legally change my name to his?

      No, it's not mandatory.

      Reply
  56. Shaida

    Hi, I'm a US citizen and got married in Turkey last year. I wanted to keep my last name after marriage, however Turkey law requires the woman to change her last name, and hence on my marriage certificate my last name after marriage is stated as my last name + my husband's.

    Now, I want to know if this name change applies in California, where Im a resident. I didn't file a legal name change and have been using my maiden name for all purposes and haven't changed my name on any of my documents.

    Now, I have filed a green card petition for my husband and USCIS has requested me to show a proof that I have changed my last name back to my maiden name, since I used my birth name in the application. I'm very confused what to do at this point. Would be grateful if you could help me. Will I be able to change the name on the application to my married name, but continue to use my maiden name for other purposes ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now, I want to know if this name change applies in California

      It's not automatic, nor binding.

      Will I be able to change the name on the application to my married name

      Use your marriage certificate for that.

      but continue to use my maiden name for other purposes

      Depends on the context. You mean informally?

      Reply
  57. Jazmyne Jones

    I Am legally married but separated since 2016. My docs has my married last name but still use my maiden name since 2016. If I start an LLC can I use my maiden name? Or wait for divorce to be final?

    Reply
  58. A. J.

    I changed my legal name to my husband's last name 2 years ago when got married. I am now sending out a Debt Verification letter and the debt collector addressed me by my maiden name, which is the legal name the debt was in. Should I reply with my maiden name or married name? Or both?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  59. Lucy Bamberger

    When I got married last July in New York State, I changed my last name to my husbands last name. It’s almost been a year and I haven’t changed any documents to reflect my new last name. I still use my maiden name for my ssc and everything else.

    Do I have to change all of these documents or can I just continue using my maiden name? Is there any penalty for not changing your documents to your new last name? Do I have to get married again to change it back so I won’t get in trouble for using my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change all of these documents or can I just continue using my maiden name?

      You can keep on using your maiden name.

      Is there any penalty for not changing your documents…

      No penalties.

      Do I have to get married again to change it back…

      Unnecessary. Do nothing and maiden name remains your legal name.

      Reply
  60. Princess

    Good day,

    I got married in USA under immigrant status but I am now back in my native country. i am being petition by my husband via consular process, should I use my married name as principal applicant in the application or my name in my passport under my maiden name which I have'nt change yet and any other documents and identification.

    Thanks

    Reply
  61. Virginia Hacht

    I have a property (land) in my maiden name 40 years ago. I need to sell the land, but the notoriety needs a picture ID and I do not have anything with a picture on it with my maiden name. What do I do now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Virginia. You can ask if they'll accept a document that links your old and new name, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  62. Alina E G Bagley

    Hey, I’m trying to reapply for my passport which has my maiden name listed. I never actually legally changed my name that I know of ( no one told me anything…) marriage certificate says maiden name but I still went in and changed my SS card name and added my husbands last name in the end. (I’m wondering now how they allowed that since I don’t remember doing anything else.)

    I thought the SS change Was the legal name change… so what do I do moving forward with passport application?? Do I need to try and correct my SS card back to maiden? (I’m in California) I’d prefer to go back to my maiden name but I hear it’s hard to just change the SS card anytime.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alina. You did legally change your name when you updated your social security card. As for your passport application, you can change your name as well or leave your name as-is. You're not required to change upon renewal.

      Reply
  63. Veronica

    Both my SS card and US Passport reflect my maiden and married last name with a hyphen. When I went to the DMV office to update my California Driver's License to match both SS card and Passport I was told by the clerk that it was easier to put my maiden name as my middle name. Apparently at the time hyphens we're not allowed (this was about 15 years ago). I've never had any issues but I have to renew my Driver's license in person this year and will apply for the real ID. Will I be able to hyphenate my last names or can I just leave it as is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. You should be able to hyphenate. It's a good idea to take your social security card, passport, and certified copy of your marriage certificate with you.

      Reply
  64. Gabrielle

    Hi,
    I became a citizen before I got married but once I got married I took my husband's last name. I've changed my DL and SSC to match my marriage certificate except for my passport (still has my maiden name). Can I keep my maiden name on my passport or do I have to change it? Also, do I have to change my citizenship certificate as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I keep my maiden name on my passport or do I have to change it?

      Yes, you can keep your maiden name on your passport.

      Also, do I have to change my citizenship certificate as well?

      No, your certificate of citizenship remains the same.

      Reply
  65. Tori B

    Hi,

    I recently got divorced in September 2019 but haven't changed my SS card or Driver's License to reflect this. I do have a court order requesting to restore my maiden name.

    I'm applying for a new job and must complete a background check. I have a passport that shows my maiden name. For the background check, should I just simply use my maiden name and indicate my married name as another name I've used in the past? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tori. The primary name should match what's on your social security card. You can reference your maiden name as a prior name.

      Reply
  66. Gisselle

    I got married in California I did put on marriage certificate that I wanted husband's last name as mine but I never went to social security to change it, all my paper work still appears as my maiden name, does this mean my legal name is what I put on my marriage certificate? if I want to go through divorce do I need to ask for my name to be changed back to my maiden?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      does this mean my legal name is what I put on my marriage certificate?

      Your legal name is still your name before marriage.

      if I want to go through divorce do I need to ask for my name to be changed back to my maiden?

      No, it wouldn't apply.

      Reply
  67. Brenda

    I put on marriage certificate my husbands last name to be mine, but afterwards I never went to change it with social security driver license, but when I applied for my green card I did put his last name as mine, but didn't change it on anything else, now were goin through a divorce when I applied for the divorce I didn't ask for my name to be restored to my maiden name.

    I asked I lawyer he said my legal name was the one that appeared on my driver license that is why I filled my divoce paper work with my maiden name. Do I have to start all over again the process of divorce or am I ok? please help

    Reply
  68. Odette Manresa

    Hello,

    It seems that I can never find a clear, cut answer and just want to verify I understand correctly. I am getting married in a few months and plan to either hyphenate or have both mine and my future husband's last name on the certificate.

    Is there a time limit as to when I need to change my legal paperwork to reflect this (i.e. social security, passports, license, etc).?

    Even if I put both last names for the marriage certificate, my maiden name would still be my legal last name until/unless I change it with social security, correct?

    Basically, I want to confirm if I can have the certificate encompass both names but not have to change it legally by a specific time period. So if I want to change it legally, I can but I do not have to and if I do, I can do it at any point during the marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time limit as to when I need to change my legal paperwork to reflect this

      There's no time limit to change your name after marriage.

      Even if I put both last names for the marriage certificate, my maiden name would still be my legal last name until/unless I change it with social security, correct?

      Correct.

      So if I want to change it legally, I can but I do not have to and if I do, I can do it at any point during the marriage?

      Name change is optional. Whatever new name appears on your marriage certificate is nonbinding.

      Reply
  69. Emily

    Hello. I am getting married next month and am interested in taking my husband's last name as my middle name (not changing my first or last name). I currently do not have a middle name. The Social Security website says they don't consider middle names part of one's legal name. If I added a middle name, would I have to do any name change paperwork? I live in WA State.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. You can't change your middle name in Washington State that way through marriage.

      Reply
  70. Angela McClain

    My daughter got married a few weeks ago. She has her drivers license and social security card still in her maiden name, but she just purchased a used car using her married name. The car has temporary tags on it right now.

    Will there be any problems insuring the vehicle if it is in her married name, when the DL and SS card are in her maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. It's not a problem. She'll still be insured. Her marriage certificate proves her married name is valid.

      Reply
  71. Lisa

    I am in the process of filing for disability, 5 year process so far. All my Dr’s paperwork, visits, testing, court documents, etc is all done in my maiden last name.

    Is it possible to keep my maiden name as middle and add his last name, so Lisa Jones Smith, but for Disability, Doctors, banking etc, can I sign as Lisa Jones OR do I have to use Lisa Smith. OR would it be best to legally wait on name change until disability court has been resolved? Thank you. ( just married in TX this weekend-court case is in CA)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to keep my maiden name as middle and add his last name

      Shifting your maiden to middle is supported in most states.

      can I sign as Lisa Jones OR do I have to use Lisa Smith

      You'd sign your current legal name.

      OR would it be best to legally wait on name change until disability court has been resolved?

      You can change your name during or afterward. The SSA will be the one deciding your disability case and name change is within their purview. There's no time limit for name change, so waiting until later does no harm.

      Reply
  72. Denise

    I got married but made a big mistake and I found my then husband had cheated. We were not together for longer than 3 weeks and I did not use his surname after that. I reverted back to my maiden name. My question is I have to fill out a DBS form but because I didn't use my marriage name and they need to know all my previous names and how long I used those names what do I put?

    Reply
    1. Denise

      Following on from my last comment. I in fact did not use my married surname at all. Will I still need to disclose this name on a DBS check and if I do will it hold things up. I do not remember using that name on my previous check

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Denise. If you only used it informally, then you needn't bother with using it again. In this case, you'd use your maiden name from now on.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Denise. If you never formally/legally changed your name, you can ignore any new surname or surname usage. You needn't reference it as a previous name. However, if you did change it for real (e.g., Social Security card or driver's license), go ahead and reference it.

      Reply
  73. Lola

    Just got married and kept my maiden name, when signing documents can i initial my maiden name followed by my spouses last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      when signing documents can i initial my maiden name followed by my spouses last name?

      Probably not a good idea for governmental and llegal paperwork. You'll want to use your current legal name. For more informal purposes, it's fine. When in doubt, ask whichever entity your dealing with if it'll be a problem, especially if signature verification might come into play.

      Reply
  74. Carol

    I was married 16 years ago and changed my name to hyphenate my maiden and married name on my drivers license and passport but my social security card has only my married name on it do I need to change my name on my drivers license and passport to reflect social security info or does it even matter since my married last name

    Reply
  75. Angie

    I live in Boston, MA and married back in 2013. When i filled out my marriage certificate I wrote down I would take my husbands last name. As of now, I have not used his last name. I haven't changed my SSN or passport to my married name on my certificate. The only time I have used my married last name was when I was filing forms for immigration for my husband.

    Is this ok for me to do? Or should I be using my married last name for everything (bank, credit cards, etc)?

    Reply
  76. Jodi

    Hello,
    I have not changed my name legally since marriage, and still use my maiden name on taxes and whenever I am asked for my legal name. However, I go by my married name socially and for work, and on some documents have used my maiden name as the middle name and my spouse's last name as my last name – health insurance, will, mortgage, etc.

    Is there any risk in using both names interchangeably on contracts even if my maiden name is my last name on my driver's license, SSN, passport and with the IRS? I live in Michigan. Will having my maiden name be my legal name invalidate contracts which have me using my first name, maiden middle name, husband's last name? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any risk in using both names interchangeably on contracts

      Signing an alias doesn't invalidate a contract or pose a risk as long as it's understood that you accept being bound to the agreement.

      Will having my maiden name be my legal name invalidate contracts which have me using my first name, maiden middle name, husband's last name?

      No, it wouldn't invalidate them. The problem comes if it really wasn't you signing or you don't acknowledge signing.

      Reply
  77. Rose

    My maiden name is in my permanent card can I still used it to renew even my ssn is different last name

    Reply
  78. Donna Erickson

    I got married 38 years ago and changed my last name to my husbands but I used my maiden name (1st letter) as the middle initial (M)… my question is can I legally just start using my maiden name that begins with M or do I have to change it legally through just SSA or courts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I legally just start using my maiden name that begins with M or do I have to change it legally through just SSA or courts?

      You have only one legal name. Using a non-legal name on government and legal documents after-the-fact wouldn't be valid.

      Reply
  79. Pamela (Dennis) Huston

    I’m married and carry my husbands name, Can I add my maiden name to marriage certificate if I took his name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pamela. You can't change a marriage certificate unless there's an error on the document.

      Reply
  80. Miyoshi

    Hello!

    I have been legally married for 6 years and I would finally like to take my husbands last name. How do I go about that process? How long will it take to go through? I live in Oklahoma for military purposes. What legal documents should I change first when I change my name?

    Reply
    1. Miyoshi

      One more question: On my marriage certificate it says my surname is my husband’s last name. So legally is my last name his? And I am just using my maiden name as convenience? Can I start change my last name on things to my husbands name without going to the court?

      Reply
      1. Valera

        So legally is my last name his?

        Not until you proactively change it on ID.

        Can I start change my last name on things to my husbands name without going to the court?

        Yes, with your marriage certificate.

        Reply

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