92 Comments

There's a lot at stake when it comes to name change and you need to move keenly and properly. Now that anyone can change a name to just about anything it's important to know that the legal procedure of making the name official requires a bit of preparation. Those who want to change their name in the State of Pennsylvania should have the following in mind.

Marriage name change options

In Pennsylvania, like in many other places, you can change your name after marriage. This can happen immediately after the wedding or solemnization and having received the marriage certificate.

The only thing you need is to take your marriage certificate and other required documents, such as proof of identity like state-issued valid photo IDs and citizenship proof to the Social Security Administration and later to the Driver License Center in your county. However, you have a number of options you can use in your name change to legally have a name that you like and need for various reasons.

Once you are married in PA, there are a number of options you can choose just by submitting the marriage certificate. They are as follows:

Keep your current name as it is

Leaving your name without any change by doing nothing at all is one of the easiest options. In the process, you can be sure of never taking trips to the Social Security offices and Driver's License Centers, incurring fees and preparing excruciating paperwork.

Spouse's surname on documents, but maiden name wherever else

In Pennsylvania it's also legal to take the spouse's last name on virtually all your records and ID while continuing with the usage of the maiden name in such professional places such as the workplace.

Hyphenate

If you are looking for the happiest compromise after marriage, hyphenating can give you that joy. You only need to hyphenate the last name of your spouse with your surname and you can have this applied on all your documents, governmental and non-governmental.

Add the name of your spouse to your own

This is where the bride takes the surname of the spouse and adds it to her surname with a hyphen or without. It's also one of the easiest to accomplish once you have married and received a marriage certificate copy.

Spouse's surname

You can also decide to go the most traditional way of taking the surname of your husband after marriage just like many others without much ado.

Maiden name to middle name

Pennsylvania now allows newlyweds to make their maiden name the middle name using a marriage certificate. The Driver's License Center of Pennsylvania has changed its position of not allowing the maiden name to be used as the middle name during the change of name.

You only need to file specific forms before you go for the driver's license, including showing the maiden name in certain IDs where it has been used as middle name.

First, change your name with the Social Security Administration. After you receive your updated social security card, bring it to the DMV along with at least two other forms of ID showing your maiden name as your middle name. That way, there's no need of another process to legally change your name.

Divorce name change

In many Prothonotary offices across Pennsylvania counties are Notice or Election to Resume Maiden Name forms that any adult who wants to seek a name change needs to use. Once you have filled the form you will be able to seek a name change and go back to a prior surname/name from the surname of your husband once you have divorced.

To change the name a fee is charged by the Prothonotary's office and can be around $19 if the divorce took place within the county where you stay or $42 if the divorce took place in another state or county, although the fees are not uniform and vary a lot from one county to the next.

In case you are thinking about going back to your maiden name once you have finalized the divorce, remember that in Pennsylvania you are supposed to provide a birth certificate copy showing the maiden name prior to your marriage.

In case the divorce was not filed in the commonwealth but in another state or another county within Pennsylvania different from your home county, you must deliver to the Prothonotary's office a divorce decree's certified copy, which you can request from the county's Prothonotary office where the divorce took place or from the office of the county clerk in case the divorce happened in another U.S. state.

Nonetheless, if the divorce took place within the same county where the name change request has been made there will be no need of providing a divorce decree's copy to the office of the Prothonotary.

After filing the decree of the divorce within the office of the Prothonotary, including a birth certificate and Notice or Election to Resume Maiden Name form, dully signed, you are considered to have given a notice showing intent to resume your maiden name or prior surname; all that is needed to begin using a maiden name or prior name after divorce under the law of Pennsylvania.

General adult name change

The general adult name change process in Pennsylvania is quite straightforward and can be completed by the Pro Se in 90 days to 180 days. While the process can be completed without an attorney, if your name change has unusual circumstances surrounding the court petition, you might want to have one.

To complete a name change in Pennsylvania without a recent divorce or marriage decree, a court order is needed to approve the change.

Fingerprints need to be taken mostly at your local police department serving the township, borough or city where you live. You can only go to the Pennsylvania State Police barracks for a fingerprint card if the municipality where you live doesn't have a local police department; a $20 fee will be requested.

File a change of name petition with the Common Pleas Court that has jurisdiction over the county where you live. The petition must indicate the name change desired while listing the desired and current names as well as the reason why you are filing the petition, including listing your residences for the last five years.

Fees for filing the petition are not uniform and differ from one county to the next. Once the petition has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled within the next three months after you have filed the petition.

You must also publish the name change notification in at least two newspapers that are generally circulated within the adjoining county or your county. You must provide documentation and receipts as proof of publication and the court usually tells you about the notice content needed.

You need criminal record copies including any civil judgment against you within the last five years. Those who have lived in Pennsylvania for the last five years can get the criminal record copy by approaching the Pennsylvania State Police while civil judgment copies can be requested from the Court of Common Pleas Clerk.

Those without criminal records in the last five years or have had zero civil judgments against them within the past five years can request a confirmation of a record absence or clearance certificate.

You can then attend the hearing for the name change that has been scheduled. Carry a publication proof of the public notice in newspapers together with records of civil judgments and clearance certificates/criminal records' copies.

After the petition has gone through, file the Decree signed by the court with the court clerk and request a number of certified copies from the same clerk to use in changing your name with the Social Security Office and Department of Transportation of Pennsylvania (PennDOT).

Name changes for a minor

In PA, you can change the name of the minor if both parents are in agreement or not.

If parents are in agreement, there's no need of a legal process to change the name of the child. The birth certificate of the child comes with a form on the back for that purpose. The biological parents should sign on the form showing they agree with the minor's name change.

The form should then be mailed to the Division of Vital Statistics with a clear government-issued identification card of at least one parent. A $4 is required if you would like the birth certificated sent back to you unless you can show proof of Armed Forces membership. The new birth certificate with the new name will be delivered to you.

If both parents don't agree with minor's name change

If both parents are not in agreement with the name change of the minor, the process can be complicated and consulting an attorney might be a great idea to at least know if you have any chance of success.

If you are sure of success, file the name change petition with the minor's name in the Court of Common Pleas within your county of residence. Pay the filing fee as directed by the court.

The most contentious part of the process is when you serve the other parent of the minor with the notice, since it's required by law by sending the petition notice through certified or registered mail and requesting a return receipt showing the notice was delivered and provide it in court as proof.

You must then prove the minor's name change is to his/her best interest and the court will come up with a hearing to ascertain if the name of the child needs to be changed.

A number of considerations will be looked into by the court from child support paid, visitation of the child by the other parent, natural bond among parents and child, consistent involvement in the life of the child, child and parent's ties as well as the extended family and social respect or impact as per the present name of the minor in the community, the ability and age of the minor to comprehend the name change significance in his/her life, among other reasons.

Change of name on birth certificate

To legally correct your birth certificate after a name change, you need a court order or certified copies of the court order you got from the court clerk and signed by the judge after the name change was allowed.

You need to submit to the Pennsylvania Health Division of Vital Records section a court order's certified copy with the court's seal and judge's signature. Remember facsimile copy or photocopy of the court order copy is unacceptable.

You also need to include the birth certificate, application form, valid legible copy of a photo ID issued by the government to verify your current mailing address and the fee needed or information showing Armed Forces membership, including a stamped envelop self-addressed to you.

Change name with Social Security, DMV, Passport, and IRS

Once you have changed your name through any of the different legally acceptable ways, you should then approach governmental bodies to finalize the change with them.

Begin with the Social Security Administration (SSA) by completing the SS-5 form or Application for a Social Security Card by mail or in person in a local office of Social Security. Within two days of receiving the application your name should be updated.

Most of the other governmental bodies only accept name change that's already with the Social Security Administration; why you need to deal with them first. You can then continue with your name change by approaching the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and filling the DI-143 or DL-80 forms to change your driver's license. You can also change the identification card of a non-driver by using the DL-54B from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Non-governmental institutions' name change

Depending on the non-governmental institution that you need to notify of your new name, it's important to have the court order's certified copies showing the name change, divorce or marriage decrees. Simply submit them as required by the various institutions from the insurance company, financial institutions such as banks, employer and also in your professional documents.

Recognized name change documents

  • Certified copy of marriage certificate for marriage name change
  • Certified copy of divorce decree for divorce name change
  • Court order for general adult name change
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of identity

92 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    I got married in Allegheny county in March. I got my marriage certificate and was able to get my name changed with social security and drivers license. I hyphenated and regret the decision. Can I change my name to just my spouse's at social security office?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rebecca. If you've already changed your name with the SSA and DMV, you'll have to petition the court to change it again.

      Reply
  2. Tiffany

    My marriage certificate doesn't have my husband's last name. I don't remember the application asking about it. Should it have? How do I get it changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I get it changed?

      Pennsylvania marriage license applications don't provide sections for applicants to specify a new last name after marriage. And even if it did, such an amendment would unlikely to be accepted. This won't prevent you from changing your name though.

      Changes to an application, license, and certificate are typically reserved for typographical and informational errors (e.g., wrong date of birth, address) and not changes in preference.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    I just moved to PA from NY. I was married in NY and chose to keep my maiden name on the marriage certificate. I now would like to take my husband's last name. Do I have to go back to NY to have this changed? Or can I do it here in PA? I still have a NY driver's license. Thank you for any help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I now would like to take my husband's last name. Do I have to go back to NY to have this changed? Or can I do it here in PA?

      You needn't change it in NY or PA. Just use your marriage certificate as-is to change your name.

      Reply
      1. Allison

        Even though I elected to keep my maiden name on my NY marriage certificate? I remember the clerk mentioning that it may be more difficult to change later if I did this. Thank you so much for your response, I really appreciate your help!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Allison. You should be fine since you're a Pennsylvania resident. If you were a New Yorker, then you might face a problem.

          Reply
          1. Allison

            This is great news! Thank you so much for your help Valera!!!

  4. Amanda

    I’m getting married soon but I don’t want to lose any names. In PA can you change your name after marriage to SAME first/ SAME middle, ADD maiden/ NEW married last name? I’d like to keep my maiden but not necessarily hyphen. Or is this a case of pentitioning the court for a name change? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amanda. If you're talking about adding your maiden name to your middle name, then you'd have to petition the court. If you were referring to something else, please clarify.

      Reply
      1. Amanda

        Hi, thank you. That is exactly what I was wanting to do. I would rather have 2 middle names (current middle name and maiden name) instead of a hyphenated last name. Thank you for clarifying that I do need to petition the court for what I want.

        Reply
      2. Jen

        This is no longer true. You can change your name with Social Security first. Next, you change it with banks, insurances, credit cards, voter registration, passport.

        You need your name Social Security cards with two additional pieces of documents showing the entire name change and PA will change your license. They will grumble, but they will do it.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Jen. Thanks for chiming in. The Real ID page you referenced talks about replacing the middle name with the maiden name. The person you cited wanted to append her maiden name to her middle name.

          Reply
  5. Ashley

    When I change my last name, will they take a new license photo or will they use the old one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I change my last name, will they take a new license photo or will they use the old one?

      You have two options:

      1) PennDOT can give you an update card with your new name that you can carry with you alongside your driver's license until it's time to renew your license.
      2) Get a duplicate, replacement driver's license, which will require you to take a new photograph and pay a renewal fee. They will not use the old photograph on file.

      Reply
  6. Kathryn Dinkelacker

    My fiancé and I both want to change our last names after we get married to
    my mom’s last name. How do we do that? Is that possible to do after we get married in January?

    Reply
  7. Casey H.

    I got married this past weekend and am looking to change my last name to my husband's on legal/bank documents, but would prefer to use my maiden name for work, due to my professional licenses and degrees. Is there any specific paperwork involved or anything different I need to do other than the main name change paperwork? I just want to make sure everything works out!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      am looking to change my last name to my husband's on legal/bank documents, but would prefer to use my maiden name for work, due to my professional licenses and degrees.

      For work-related purposes, you can register a DBA in your maiden name. If you're an employee, you can request that your maiden name be used publicly while using your married name internally for tax and legal purposes.

      As for your licenses, depending on your profession, you may need to notify your licensing board of the change. It doesn't necessarily mean that they'll require documents reissued in your new name, but they may need to have their records internally updated.

      Reply
  8. Chelsea

    Hello,
    I’m getting married in a few weeks and I would like to make my maiden name my middle name and take my husband’s last name. I just have a few questions
    1.Do I fill out the social security papers with my desired name?
    2. In the above article it says bring two forms of ID to the DMV which show your maiden as middle/new last name being used. Can I have some examples? I’m afraid I will have nothing to present besides SS card and marriage license.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I fill out the social security papers with my desired name?

      Correct.

      In the above article it says bring two forms of ID to the DMV which show your maiden as middle/new last name being used. Can I have some examples? I’m afraid I will have nothing to present besides SS card and marriage license.

      It's a little tricky, but doable. You can update your passport and voter registration card to your new married name, then use those documents to fulfill the ID requirement. Also be sure to bring along your new social security card.

      Reply
  9. Dalilia

    Hello, I was married a few years back which ended in a divorce. I never changed my last name back to my maiden name. Now that I just recently got married I would like to change my last name to my maiden name hyphened with my husbands last name. Will this be an issue with SSA, DMV, etc?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dalilia. There's a good possibility you'll face a problem with the DMV as your maiden name is no longer the current name on record.

      Reply
  10. Susie

    When I get married can I change my first name as well as my new married last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I change my first name as well as my new married last name

      No, you cannot. You can change your last name because of marriage, but a first name change would have to be requested in the Common Pleas Court.

      Reply
  11. Meera Patel

    Hello,
    I am currently in the name change process and am getting very confused with the PA rules on changing your maiden name to your middle name. I do currently have a middle name but ofcourse want it to instead be my maiden name and then also change my last name to my husband's last name.

    Some of the name change sites say in PA I still need to petition to the court to change my middle name to my maiden name before doing anything else. I am unsure which I should be doing. Do I still petition? Or just use forms to change my social security forms and passport first and then just go to DMV and I should be fine? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Meera. Social security card first, next passport, and finally one more form of ID, like a voter registration card or other government document. The passport and the other document is meant to serve as your two additional identity documents.

      Reply
  12. Val

    I was married a few years ago, but never changed my last name. I now want to hyphenate my last name. I know I’ll need an official marriage license. I’m wondering the exact steps/order of steps I’ll need to take and forms I’ll need to complete. Do I go to the social security office first, then change my license and passport? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I go to the social security office first, then change my license and passport?

      That's correct. You'll need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate as well.

      Reply
  13. Dimpna Rose

    Im just confused and i dont know what to do about it. Im from PA now and i dont know their rules about name from single to married. Other states can do this my situation without any legal/court action. So here it goes.

    Help please! I have questions about filing AOS. I want to use my husband’s last name for my current legal name cuz we already got married. my whole name is:
    First name: DIMPNA ROSE
    Middle name: CASTROMAYOR
    Last name: CABRILES
    my married last name now is: TARR
     
    now i wanted to file my current legal name as:
    DIMPNA ROSE TARR dropping my middle name and maiden name and use the my name “ROSE” as middle name instead.
     
    Now my question is, is it posible to use as my current legal name DIMPNA ROSE TARR and/even i get rid of my middle name and maiden name? 
    I just wanted to use that 3 names of mine and get rid my middle name and maiden name. Or do you know any idea what name i will be using now i am married? Thank you for your help! I appreciate it. 

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dimpna Rose. You can take your husband's name (Tarr) as your surname, so we can set that aside. You're trying to drop a portion of your first name and slide it over into your middle name space. That requires a court order.

      Reply
  14. Andrea Lerner

    That's not what the DMV told me today. We were applying for real ID licenses and they said my middle name had to be my given middle name unless I had legally changed my name

    Reply
    1. Cat

      I had the same experience at DMV. I was told I had to use the middle name that was on my birth certificate ( not my maiden name as middle name ) and would be denied the real ID AND also would be denied a passport. ( this was info from employee at DMV in PA.) I already received a SS card with new name ( maiden as middle followed by married name- NO hyphen)… so now I have gotten new photo card for new drivers license but changed only my last name to married name—- I’m frustrated because I’m supposed to return to SS office to change my middle name back to my original birth middle name, and I’d rather have my maiden name for middle name ! Not sure what to do!! Frustrated and confused by folks who may be misinformed! I certainly don’t want to have problems down the road being denied for real ID or a passport!!

      Reply
  15. Kajin Bowers

    I'm getting married later this year and we both do not want to keep our last names. In Pennsylvania can you elect to choose a completely new and different last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In Pennsylvania can you elect to choose a completely new and different last name?

      You cannot through marriage.

      Reply
  16. Glenn Elliott

    My wife and I marries in VA 2017 but are PA residents, we both went to Social Security to have our names changed, both of us hyphenating, we saw the same worker at the same time.
    Her name change was no problem, showed drivers license & passport, done. Mine was denied because I was 1 male, and two my 2nd piece of identification along with my drivers license was my Permanent Resident Green Card.

    From what I have been able to find out neither of those should be an issue and I should be eligible for a last name name change due to marriage just as my wife is.
    Is that correct?

    Thanks
    Glenn

    Reply
  17. J

    My husband wants to hyphenate his last name with mine is he aloud to do that at the social security office with his state id and marriage license or do we have to petition the court ? We live in Pa

    Reply
  18. Hye Young

    Can you move a first name to middle name and declare a new first name during the marriage process? I have a Korean name that can get challenging during professional settings and would like to use an English legal first name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can you move a first name to middle name and declare a new first name during the marriage process?

      First name change through marriage isn't possible.

      Reply
  19. Mindy

    I am divorced and never changed my name back to my maiden name. I am getting remarried in April and I live in PA. I would like to change my middle name to my current last name(the same as my son's last name) I want to take my husband's last name. So I want to have my first name with my legal name as my middle name and then have to take my husband's last name. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to change my middle name to my current last name

      That's unlikely to work. It would at least have to be your maiden name.

      Reply
      1. Donna Campisi

        I struggled with the same issue and after 2 years, I decided to have 2 last names.

        Reply
  20. Donna Campisi

    I recently got married a second time. I kept my first husbands last name because I did not want to be different from my sons. However, I also wanted my new husbands last name. So after 2 years, I decided to have two last names. (First/Middle/First husband surname Second husband surname). No hyphen.

    I know I have to change my Drivers License to show both last names. My question is do I have to change everything to both last names or can I use them interchangeably? In other words, do I have to change the deed on my home, credit cards, Will, bank checks to reflect both names or can I leave them as is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is do I have to change everything to both last names or can I use them interchangeably?

      You have to use your legal name on legal documents. If you're changing your name on your driver's license, I assume you're doing so on your social security card as well. That means taxes would have to match your social security record.

      Your employer would have to be notified to use the updated name. Credit bureaus will have your new name on file. Applying for new credit would have to be under your new name.

      If you're just using last names interchangeably on an informal basis, it's not a big deal. It can be hard to manage if you start applying it to paperwork.

      do I have to change the deed on my home

      You do not have to change the name on your deed.

      Will, bank checks to reflect both names or can I leave them as is?

      That's up to your bank. It's their prerogative to print checks in either name, as long as they have your legal name on file.

      Reply
  21. Stephanie

    Hello! I was married last year and plan to change my name soon. If I keep my maiden last name and simply add my husband's last name, with no hyphen (double barreling I believe it's called, so FirstName MiddleName Maidenlast Marriedlast), do I need to get a new passport? Or will my old passport with FirstName MiddleName MaidenLast still be valid since it is technically still part of my legal name? Also, are there any issues with SS or DMV having two last names with no hyphen?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need to get a new passport? Or will my old passport with FirstName MiddleName MaidenLast still be valid since it is technically still part of my legal name?

      You can wait to renew your passport, but be sure to keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate on hand if you need to explain why your passport and ID don't match.

      Also, are there any issues with SS or DMV having two last names with no hyphen?

      I don't believe Pennsylvania supports space-separated name changes through marriage.

      Reply
      1. Stephanie

        Thank you, but I am confused. I thought that was one of the options listed above?
        Add the name of your spouse to your own
        This is where the bride takes the surname of the spouse and adds it to her surname with a hyphen or without. It's also one of the easiest to accomplish once you have married and received a marriage certificate copy.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Stephanie. Apologies for the confusion. You're correct, that is an option.

          Reply
  22. Barbara Gurskey

    We live in NJ but were married in Bucks County in April 2018- I would like to add my husbands last name but without a hyphen – is it possible to do this but still legally use my maiden name on all legal documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is it possible to do this but still legally use my maiden name on all legal documents?

      You should use your legal name on legal documents.

      Reply
  23. Stephanie

    I went to the Social Security Office today to change my middle name to my maiden name & make my husband’s last name my last name. I was told by the officer that because of the PA Real ID, I can no longer change my middle name, I can only change my last name without having to petition the courts. Is this accurate information or was the person helping me misinformed?

    I’m only asking because I swear when I was talking about it with people who changed their names last year, they were able to do it. Thank you!

    Reply
  24. Victoria

    Hello, I just move in to PA and got married a week ago, we don’t want to change last names, we didn’t request it, my question is: If we didn’t request to change names it won’t, right? Is not a automatic process…? When (before or after getting the marriage certificate?) is the time to make this process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If we didn’t request to change names it won’t, right? Is not a automatic process…?

      It is not automatic.

      When (before or after getting the marriage certificate?) is the time to make this process?

      You can submit your paperwork once you have your marriage certificate in hand. Your certificate will be available after you're married.

      You will not automatically get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You'll have to purchase it for $10 to $25 from the clerk of orphan's court, assuming you haven't already.

      Reply
  25. Adam

    Hi! I am planning on getting married early next year and was wondering as a male if I could take my wife-to-be's last name through the same process? Or would I need a court order to take her last name?

    Reply
  26. Kelsey

    Hi. I recently just got married and my median name is on the marriage certificate. Do I just have to go to the social security office to change my last name or do I have to get a petition of court to do so?

    Reply
      1. Kelsey

        Ok because I was reading different articles and some were saying you have to get a petition of court to do it and some were saying go to the social security office. I just wanted to make sure for Pennsylvania if it was the social security office or the court

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Kelsey. It's standard in Pennsylvania. Your marriage certificate will show your current name, not a new chosen name.

          Reply
  27. Kelsey

    This might be a dumb question but the marriage certificate you get in the mail is certified correct?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      the marriage certificate you get in the mail is certified correct?

      Did you pay for a certified copy? It's an extra $10 to $25 in Pennsylvania. If you did pay for it, the only version they'll mail you is a certified copy.

      Reply
      1. Kelsey

        The one that was mailed to me was the one with a raised seal on it on a thicker type beige paper.

        Reply
        1. Kelsey

          I figured out what I have to do to get a certified copy of my marriage certificate. Thank you for all of your help

          Reply
        2. Valera

          Hi Kelsey. That does appear to be the marriage certificate. It should say marriage certificate on the face and have the clerk's signature.

          Reply
  28. Kim Taylor

    Hi. I was married in MD but reside in PA. So I was not able to request a last name change with the marrige license. Do I have to petition the court to change my last name? Very confusing. Who officially changes my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to petition the court to change my last name?

      No, just use a certified copy of your Maryland marriage certificate.

      Who officially changes my last name?

      The SSA, DMV, etc, after you initiate the process. If you don't start the process, your name does not change.

      Reply
  29. Maira

    Hi,
    I am getting married next month and my fiancé and I discuss about which surname we are going to have. He wants to have my last name . So is possible than the groom gets the bride’s last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So is possible than the groom gets the bride’s last name?

      No, he'd have to change his name through the common pleas court.

      Reply
  30. Ashley Sendlock

    I have read mixed results about minors. We are both the biological parents. I have read we can simply fill out the back part of her birth certificate to her father's last name, and pay a fee, and they will send us a new birth certificate with the new last name. Is this true?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have read we can simply fill out the back part of her birth certificate to her father's last name, and pay a fee, and they will send us a new birth certificate with the new last name. Is this true?

      Yes, it's true. Afterward, the modified birth certificate may be used to update your child's social security card.

      Reply
  31. Maria

    I recently changed my name via the SSA office to BirthFirstName MaidenName SpouseLastName. I waited until my new SSN Card arrived. Then I took new SSN card along with marriage certificate to a PA driver's license center to update my license.

    Licensing center updated my driver's license to BirthFirstName BirthMiddleName SpouseLastName. I thought they made a mistake and explained my middle name is my maiden name. They said they don't recognize SSNs for name purposes – that they were only updating my last name based on the marriage cert. In order to change maiden to middle, licensing center told me I needed a passport and another form of government ID (voter registration form, etc.).

    Today I went to get a Passport with social security card and marriage cert, but the US Department of State (office that issues passports) said they won't issue a passport in my new name until I have a driver's license (state ID) that matches the new name.

    Since I can't get a license or Passport, what should I do to obtain photo ID that will match the name on my social security card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maria. Is this your first passport or were you trying to updating an existing passport? If it's an existing passport, how old is it?

      Reply
      1. Maria

        Hi Valera thanks for such a quick response! I have an existing US passport valid for 10 years that expires in a couple years. My passport matches my birth certificate. I can send my existing current passport in as part of the passport renewal, along with my certified marriage license. I was married in WA and there is no place to include a married name on WA marriage license. It only lists my spouse's name and my name (per our birth certs, passports, etc.). If I had listed "First Maiden SpouseLast" as my name on the marriage license, then my marriage wouldn't be valid because that name didn't exist when I got married. The only way I was able to change my name through SSA to "First Maiden SpouseLast" was after I had the marriage certificate.

        On this website above, there's a section about Maiden to Middle and it says if you bring two forms of ID along with Marriage license & updated SSN Card, that PA will now let you change Maiden to Middle name.

        So far I've updated my pay stubs, W-4, and submitted a name change request with my bank to match my updated SSN. Would any of those three be considered a form of ID for the DMV? I also applied for an updated voter ID card. Are there other forms of ID that I would be able to get right now that the DMV will recognize as valid? Thank you again for your help.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I can send my existing current passport in as part of the passport renewal, along with my certified marriage license.

          That should be enough. You could mail in your name change forms. Your married name could be derived from your marriage certificate. You'd have to include another form of valid ID since your driver's license is in your new name.

          You can review the steps on the DOS website. It tells you to provide your marriage certificate and ID, but how you can skip the marriage certificate if your new ID already has your new name. Since your ID doesn't have your proper new name, you'll have to provide your marriage certificate and another form of ID.

          So far I've updated my pay stubs, W-4, and submitted a name change request with my bank to match my updated SSN. Would any of those three be considered a form of ID for the DMV? I also applied for an updated voter ID card.

          Passport and voter registration would work. Not the others, as they're based on your allegation alone. So, your last step is to get your passport updated and then your driver's license.

          The difficulty you're facing is your name change was done out of sequence. Instead of SSA, passport, voter registration, driver's license, you did SSA, voter registration, driver's license, then passport.

          Reply
          1. Maria

            Thanks Valera. If my license was in my birth name, would it have been easier to update my passport? Because I could have used my old license and my marriage certificate? But now that my new license is in this different/weird name, it's creating the extra hassle?

          2. Valera

            If my license was in my birth name, would it have been easier to update my passport?

            Yes.

            But now that my new license is in this different/weird name, it's creating the extra hassle?

            Take a look at the other forms of photo ID that's accepted.

  32. Rachelle Petrancuri

    Good Morning.! My husband and I were married in Vegas 13 years ago. For business purposes, I kept my 1st marriage last name. Now that I'm nearer to retirement and the company I work for, I really don't have to identify as my first married name, I want to change my name to my husband's last name.

    PA site was a bit confusing. From reading here, I should get my name changed first with SS, then DL, then my passport, then the financial institutions, is this correct? I have ordered a certified copy of my marriage license. I also have my birth certificate. Do I need a certified copy of my first marriage license or a divorce decree as well? Please advise. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      PA site was a bit confusing. From reading here, I should get my name changed first with SS, then DL, then my passport, then the financial institutions, is this correct?

      That would work.

      Do I need a certified copy of my first marriage license or a divorce decree as well?

      Just your last marriage certificate.

      Reply
  33. Charon North

    Hello my husbands mother in the course of his life changed his last name from her maiden name to boyfriends last name (north) when we got married he (my husband) last name was North so my last name is now north.

    He hates the north family and his mother and mr north are deceased my husband wants to return to his mothers maiden name, how does he do that? And where does that leave me how do i assume his prior name (his mothers maiden name also)?

    Is it possible, where do we begin. He has expired license with prior name which i call his maiden name. And a current drivers license that has his last name as North.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my husband wants to return to his mothers maiden name, how does he do that?

      He'll have to file a name change petition with the Common Pleas Court that has jurisdiction over his county of residence.

      And where does that leave me how do i assume his prior name (his mothers maiden name also)?

      It doesn't affect you. You'll have to file your own separate petition to match names.

      Is it possible, where do we begin. He has expired license with prior name which i call his maiden name.

      His prior ID doesn't help. He'll just have to get it done through the court system.

      Reply
  34. Genessix Nunez

    Hi
    Please help.. I filed I-485 form adjustment of status.. my husband last name is Nunez Gonzalez and I changed my name when we got married to Genessix Nunez. I didn’t take the Gonzalez… I got my ssc and all my documents under that name but PennDot told me I had to take both of them. Is that true?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Genessix. The Pennsylvania DMV doesn't allow taking one-half of a spouse's hyphenated or space-separated name. The SSA allows it because it's permitted in their guidelines. The federal SSA and state DMV operate on different rules.

      Reply
  35. Vanessa

    Hello. I'm getting married in PA next year and plan to change my last name to my fiancé's. I have a 4 yr old son that was born in FL. His biological father pays court ordered child support that's garnished from his wages, but only sees him once a year and calls MAYBE twice a month.

    He hasn't really established a relationship with my son. My son considers my fiancé his dad, especially since my fiancé has been raising him with me since he was a year old.

    We want to change my son's last name, but his biological father will most likely object. I have sole legal custody and primary physical custody. How would I change my son's name if my ex husband won't agree? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How would I change my son's name if my ex husband won't agree?

      The biological father would have to file an objection in the Common Please Court. The judge will decide.

      Reply
  36. Antoinette

    I'm looking to get married at the courthouse in spring but don't want to legally change my name until I have a reception a year or so later. Is there a time limit on when I can change my last name to my future husbands?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time limit on when I can change my last name to my future husbands?

      There is no time limit to start your name change.

      Reply

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