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Before you can do much to change your name, you need to get your name changed with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Your social security card and nine-digit social security number (SSN) is the key to getting through other name changes—DMV, your bank, etc—with ease.

To update, replace, correct, or get an original or new social security card you must prove four things:

  1. Age
  2. Identity
  3. Citizenship or immigration status
  4. Name change (if you're changing)

Before you do anything else, you must complete the SS-5 application (available from the SSA). Your social security card name change begins at this document.

Now What?

If you'd like to change your name online, you may use our name change application to complete the social security form, among others.

Your legal name is your first and last name only. The SSA doesn't consider your middle name or suffix (e.g., Junior, Senior, II) as part of your legal name.

The SSA will still print your middle name and suffix on your social security card if enough space is available.

Space limitations

Your first name (a.k.a. given name) and last name (a.k.a. surname or family name) will appear stacked on your social security card.

Line 1 has 26 spaces for your first and middle name. Line 2 has 26 spaces for your last name and suffix. Whatever doesn't fit gets clipped.

If your entire middle name or suffix won't fit on your card, they'll get converted into an initial or dropped from the printout.

Character limitations

Your name may only contain letters, spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes. Omit personal and religious titles, such as Ms., Mrs., Dr., Sister, or Father.

You can't use a nickname or abbreviated name, such as Liz for Elizabeth or Deb for Deborah, unless it's your legal name.

Name change events

You must show proof of a new name with a name change document, arising from a name change event.

For example, marriage and divorce are name change events. A marriage certificate and divorce decree are name change documents.

Prior name vs. new name

Your name change document should reference your prior name (what's on file with the SSA) and the new name (even if only by inference).

Prior name, current name, and old name refer to the same thing: the active name on your most recent SSA record.

Prior name mismatch

If your name change document doesn't match what the SSA has on file, document the missing links. You may have to daisy chain multiple documents.

For example, you may have to show a specific divorce decree or marriage certificate to bridge the gap and link one name transition to another.

Marriage name change

If your marriage certificate specifies a new name after marriage, the SSA will only let you change to that name.

If a new married name isn't spelled out on your marriage certificate, derive it from you and your spouse's last names as shown on the certificate.

Bottom line, your marriage certificate must show your old and new name, whether explicit or derived.

The SSA allows the following four options for a derived last name:

Entire
Take spouse/partner's full last name.
Partial
Take one part of other's hyphenated or space-separated last name.
Hyphenated
Combine last names with a hyphen, in either order.
Double-barreled
Combine last names with a space, in either order.

For example, let's say your last name is Adams and your spouse's is Baker. Here are your new last name choices:

Option New last name
Entire Baker
Hyphenated Adams-Baker
Hyphenated Baker-Adams
Double-barreled Adams Baker
Double-barreled Baker Adams

Here's an example with your spouse's last name hyphenated Baker-Smith:

Option New last name
Entire Baker-Smith
Partial Baker
Partial Smith
Hyphenated Adams-Baker-Smith
Hyphenated Baker-Smith-Adams
Double-barreled Adams Baker-Smith
Double-barreled Baker-Smith Adams

Unless your marriage certificate says otherwise, you can't combine last names without a hyphen or space, nor can you make up a brand new last name.

Marriage license vs certificate

What's the difference between a marriage license and marriage certificate? A marriage license allows marriage. A marriage certificate proves marriage.

In various states, the marriage license becomes a marriage certificate after marriage. It's the same document. Only the status changes.

The SSA needs whichever certified document "recorded" your marriage: license, certificate, or abstract.

State-specific marriage name change

Twelve states allow you to choose a new name when applying for a marriage license, which shows up on your marriage certificate:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon

The SSA defaults to the derived naming method for the remaining 38 states and DC, asking your current legal name when applying for a marriage license.

Civil union name change

Civil union name change rules are the same as marriage. Use your civil union certificate as proof of name change.

Same-sex marriage name change

Same-sex marriage name change rules are the same as any other marriage.

Domestic partnership name change

Domestic partnership name change rules are the same as marriage. Use your certificate of domestic partnership as proof of name change.

Divorce, annulment, or dissolution name change

You can change your name with an annulment or divorce decree, or order of dissolution of a civil union or domestic partnership.

If your decree or dissolution specifies a new name, the SSA must use it. If it's omitted, you can revert to any prior name they have on file.

Returning to a name that's not on file requires proof, such as a birth certificate for maiden name or marriage certificate for a prior married name.

Naturalization name change

You can ask the court for a new name during naturalization. Your U.S. certificate of naturalization will serve as proof.

Court order name change

For a court petitioned name change, you may only switch to the new name shown on your approved court order. This includes name change through adoption.

Other name change

Changing your name in a way your state doesn't recognize as part of marriage or divorce requires petitioning the court.

For example, changing your first name requires a court order, granted by a judge.

Name corrections

Unlike a name change, a name correction doesn't originate from a name change event. It's a rare isolated action.

You may correct your name if it's wrong or because you regret your former name change and want a do-over.

Exercise caution

Correcting your name with the SSA doesn't guarantee other institutions will change it using the same rationale.

Name corrections can be useful if the SSA is the sole entity you've updated or you're sure others won't pose a problem.

Marriage name correction

If you've changed your name because of marriage and want to change it again within the same marriage, that's a name correction, not a name change.

Your marriage certificate must either show your new last name or have it derived from the certificate, same as a routine marriage name change.

Change to single name

You can change your hyphenated or space-separated married last name to either's single last name.

For example, if your married surname is Clark-Lopez, prior surname is Clark, and spouse's surname is Lopez, you can change to Clark or Lopez.

Change to partial name

You can change your married last name to one part of your spouse's hyphenated or space-separated last name.

For example, if your married surname is Brown-Lopez, prior surname is Clark, and spouse's surname is Brown-Lopez, you can change to Brown or Lopez.

Change to hyphenated name

You can change from your spouse's single last name to a hyphenated last name, in either order.

For example, if your married surname is Lopez, prior surname is Clark, and spouse's surname is Lopez, you can hyphenate to Clark-Lopez or Lopez-Clark.

Change to double-barreled name

You can change from your spouse's single last name to a space-separated, double-barreled, or double surname, in either order.

For example, if your married surname is Lopez, prior surname is Clark, and spouse's surname is Lopez, you can combine to Clark Lopez or Lopez Clark.

Change to prior name

You can change from your spouse's last name to your prior last name.

For example, if your married surname is Lopez, prior surname is Clark, and spouse's surname is Lopez, you can change back to Clark.

Change to any previous name

If you're widowed, you can change from your late spouse's last name to your maiden name or any prior last name.

For example, if your married surname is Lopez, prior surname is Clark, maiden name is Young, and late spouse's surname is Lopez, you can change back to Clark or Young.

SS-5 application

Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) can be used to:

  • Change your name.
  • Correct your SSA record.
  • Get a new social security number.
  • Get a replacement social security card.

Form fields

Below is what you must fill out:

  • Name
    • Required
    • First, middle, last
    • Must match signature
    • Name to be printed on card
    • Specify new name if changing
  • Birth name
    • Required
    • First, middle, last
  • Other names used
    • Optional
    • List all prior names
  • Current name on file
    • Required
    • First, middle, last
    • Specify prior name if changing
  • Social security number
    • Required if established
    • Show proof of age if unknown
  • Place of birth
    • Required
    • Show proof if correcting
    • City and state or foreign country
  • Date of birth
    • Required
    • Show proof if correcting
  • Sex
    • Required
    • Male or female
  • Race
    • Optional
    • Is kept private
    • Collected for statistical purposes
    • Choose one or more:
      • Alaska Native
      • American Indian
      • Asian
      • Black or African American
      • Native Hawaiian
      • Other Pacific Islander
      • White
  • Ethnicity
    • Optional
    • Is kept private
    • Are you Hispanic/Latino?
    • Collected for statistical purposes
  • Citizenship
    • Required
    • Choose one:
      • U.S. citizen
      • Legal alien allowed to work
      • Legal alien not allowed to work
      • Other
  • Parents' names
    • Required
    • Father's name
    • Mother's maiden name
    • Show at least one parent's name
  • Parents' social security numbers
    • Required for minors
  • Daytime phone number
    • Optional
    • In case of problems
  • Mailing address
    • Required
    • PO Box is okay
    • U.S., foreign, or military
    • New card will be mailed here
  • Signature
    • Required
    • Must match name
    • Sign new name if changing
    • Signed under penalty of perjury

Your signature

Sign your new name. The name you want shown on your card. You may exclude your middle name or suffix. Don't use abbreviations, nicknames, or initials.

The SSA won't reject your application for signing a prior name, maiden name, or obvious nickname, such as Kate for Katherine.

Filing your application

Okay, you've got your form filled out and in front of you. Now you must choose how to register your new name.

You can submit your application by mail or in person at any local social security office. A third-party can even drop it off on your behalf as a mailed application.

However, you must apply in person to get interviewed if this will be your first original social security card or number.

If going in office, save time by trying to book an appointment. You can even ask to meet with a specific employee.

Evidence

Let's discuss document benchmarks. What's admissible or suspect?

Good

Any ID, certificate, record, or evidence you submit must either be the original document or a certified copy of the original.

The SSA accepts most documents at face value as long as they appear genuine and aren't prone to fraud. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued documents will always undergo authentication.

Rejected

Photocopies, notarized copies, and receipts showing you applied for a document are unacceptable, as is electronic proof, such as a cell phone photo or digital file.

Translations

The SSA may send non-English documents you offer to get translated. French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish documents get translated in-house. Third-party contract translators get the rest.

In-house translations take around two working days to complete, but could widen to 21 days during busy times. Outsourced translations take around 25 business days.

Document return

Apply by mail and the SSA will mail back your evidentiary documents. Apply in person and you'll get them back before leaving the office.

Your social security card and returned documents will turn up in separate envelopes. It could take up to two weeks for your card to show up after your documents.

Prove age

You don't have to show proof of age to change your name or replace your social security card as-is.

But, you must prove age to correct your date of birth, apply for your first card, get a brand new social security number, or because you forgot your SSN.

Use your birth certificate to prove age. Otherwise, use an identity or citizenship document showing age or date of birth.

The SSA will verify a U.S. birth certificate with the issuing vital statistics office. You can't use alternative proof of age if a U.S. birth certificate is attainable.

Prove identity

Your must show proof of identity that matches your current social security record. ID requirements differ between U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants.

Name change ID exception

The SSA can use your name change document as primary ID if it's recent, has bio data, and shows your prior name.

This provides the convenience of name change by mail without the inconvenience of mailing out your real ID.

Define "recent"

Recent is within the past two years (four years if you're below 18 years of age).

Define "bio data"

Biographical data is age, date of birth, or parents' names. It must agree with your current SSA record.

Define "prior name"

Prior name is what the SSA knows you as now. For example, if their records say Jane Doe, your name change document must mention it too.

What if I don't qualify?

You must show separate ID if your name change document doesn't meet the recent, bio data, and prior name conditions.

Which documents qualify?

Marriage certificates, divorce decrees, naturalization certificates, and court orders qualify as a primary ID for name change purposes.

ID in prior name

Present ID in your prior name matching what's on file with the SSA. Expired ID in your prior name is only acceptable when changing your name.

ID in new name only

Present unexpired ID in your new name if you don't have ID in your prior name. Biographical data must match your current SSA record.

Primary ID for U.S. citizens

A driver's license, state-issued ID card, and passport are the primary forms of ID for U.S. citizens accepted by the SSA.

U.S. driver's license

Your U.S. driver's license is the SSA's preferred form of ID for U.S. citizens aged 18 or older. A revoked, suspended, or temporary license is unacceptable.

U.S. state-issued ID card

Your U.S. state-issued ID card, also known as a non-driver identification card, must not be interim or temporary.

U.S. passport or passport card

Your U.S. passport booklet must have the regular navy or dark blue cover, not brown (official) or black (diplomatic). A U.S. passport card is acceptable too.

Primary ID for U.S. lawful immigrants

Show your unexpired foreign passport with any of the following five U.S. immigration documents, all of which prove immigration status too.

Green card

Your green card, also known as Form I-551 or permanent resident card, must be unexpired. However, an expired green card is acceptable with Form I-797 "Notice of Action" approval document.

Machine-readable immigrant visa

Your machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV), also known as temporary I-551, must be unexpired. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must stamp your accompanying unexpired foreign passport.

Employment authorization document

Your employment authorization document (EAD) card, also known as Form I-766 or work permit, must be unexpired.

Arrival/departure record

Your arrival/departure record, also known as Form I-94, must be unexpired.

American Indian card

Your American Indian Card, also known as Form I-872, is valid even without a foreign passport. This only applies to the Texas Kickapoo Tribe.

Secondary ID

Show alternative secondary ID if primary ID is unavailable. For U.S. citizens, "unavailable" means you can't easily access or replace it within 10 business days.

For example, if you apply in person with school ID, but leave your driver's license at home, SSA staff will ask you to get it.

Secondary ID must contain a photograph, issue date, or expiration date. Following is a list of 15 equally acceptable secondary IDs:

Marriage document

Ages
18+
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Shows age or date of birth
Only valid for name change purposes

U.S. military ID card

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Active duty, retired, National Guard, or dependents

U.S. official passport

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
"OFFICIAL" printed on brown cover

U.S. diplomatic passport

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
"DIPLOMATIC" printed on black cover

U.S. certificate of citizenship

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Form N-560 or N-561

U.S. certificate of naturalization

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Form N-550 or N-570

U.S. Indian tribal card

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Shows date of birth or photo

School record

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Current or prior year
Shows date of birth or photo
School ID, records, or transcripts

Medical record

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Certified copy or extract
Shows age or date of birth
Clinic, doctor, or hospital records

Religious record

Ages
Birth to 17
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Shows age, date of birth, or parents' names
Baptismal records, cradle rolls, or naming and bris certificates

Life insurance policy

Ages
6+
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Is current and active
Shows age or date of birth

Final adoption decree

Ages
Birth to 17
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Issued by court of adoption
Shows date of birth or adopting parents' names

Employee ID card or badge

Ages
18+
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Shows date of birth or photo
Government or civilian ID accepted

Health insurance or Medicaid card

Ages
All
Applies to
U.S. citizens
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Is current and active
Shows date of birth or parents' names

Noncitizen U.S. driver's license or state-issued ID card

Ages
All
Applies to
Non-U.S. citizens
Document criteria
Not revoked, suspended, or temporary

What if you don't have ID?

The SSA will handle your application on a case-by-case basis if you lack primary or secondary ID. Bring whatever you can to prove identity.

You can't use your birth certificate, old social security card, social security award letter, or Medicare card for ID.

The SSA may contact you to ask for better ID if you mail insufficient ID with your application.

Prove citizenship

You don't have to prove U.S. citizenship for a name change or card replacement if your current SSA record confirms it.

Proof of U.S. citizenship varies by birth. U.S.-born means you became a citizen at birth. If not, you're foreign-born.

Citizenship proof (level 1)

If you can't get level 1 citizenship proof in 10 working days, see level 2.

U.S. birth certificate

Origin
U.S.-born
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Created before age 5
U.S. states, territories, or DC

U.S. passport

Origin
U.S.-born
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Passport booklets and cards
No limited or emergency passports

Birth abroad report

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Form FS-240, FS-545, or DS-1350

American Indian card

Origin
U.S.-born
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Form I-872 with "KIC" class code

Northern Mariana card

Origin
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Form I-873 (from 1988 to 1990)

U.S. citizen identification card

Origin
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Form I-179 (from 1960 to 1974)
Form I-197 (from 1974 to 1983)

Certificate of citizenship or naturalization

Origin
U.S.-born
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Form N-550, -570, -560, or -561

Citizenship proof (level 2)

If you can't get level 1 or 2 citizenship proof in 10 working days, see level 3.

U.S. school record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Shows age or date of birth
Shows date of school admission
Shows parents' names and birthdates

U.S. military record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy

U.S. religious record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Shows age or date of birth
Created within 3 months of birth

U.S. final adoption decree

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace

Civil service employment record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
U.S. government-issued
Employment before June 1, 1976

Parent's certificate of citizenship or naturalization

Origin
Foreign-born
Document criteria
Shows your name
Shows your parent's name
Form N-550, -570, -560, or -561

Citizenship proof (level 3)

If you can't get level 1, 2, or 3 citizenship proof in 10 working days, see level 4.

U.S. medical record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows issue date
Shows U.S. birthplace
Clinic, hospital, physician, or midwife

U.S. insurance record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows issue date
Shows U.S. birthplace
Life, health, accident, etc
Issued 5+ years ago for adults
Issued near time of birth for minors

U.S. hospital birth record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows issue date
Shows U.S. birthplace
Created at time of birth
No heirlooms or keepsakes

U.S. institutional admission record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Nursing homes, nursing facilities, etc

Citizenship proof (level 4)

Amended U.S. birth certificate

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Amended after age 5
U.S. states, territories, or DC

Census record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows age or date of birth
Shows U.S. birthplace or citizenship
Federal or state census (1910 to 1950)

Indian tribal census record

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Dated at least 5 years ago
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Seneca, or Navajo census

Physician or midwife statement

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Dated at least 5 years ago
Physician or midwife signature

U.S. notification of birth registration

Origin
U.S.-born
Document criteria
Shows U.S. birthplace
Dated at least 5 years ago

Prove immigration status

Show your unexpired U.S.-issued immigration document and a foreign passport if you're not a U.S. citizen. If authorized to work, show proof.

Student visa

If you have an F-1 or M-1 student visa, show Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If working, show a recent pay stub or employer letter detailing your job, hours, start date, and supervisor's name and phone number.

Exchange visitor visa

If you have a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor visa, show Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).

If working, have your sponsor compose a signed letter on their letterhead permitting your employment.

Timing

How should you order and space out your name change? What do you update first? Which document depends on another?

Driver's license

You don't have to wait to receive your updated social security card in the mail before updating your driver's license.

It's smart to wait at least 24 hours to change the name on your driver's license after updating your social security card.

The 24-hour delay allows time for the SSA database to refresh before the DMV queries it for a name match.

Green card

Change the name on your green card with USCIS Form I-90 before updating your social security card.

Passport

You can renew your passport or change the name on your passport before or after updating your social security card.

Employers

Tell your employers of your name change for proper wage and tax reporting, and social security benefits recording.

Credit bureaus

Credit bureaus TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian will often discover your name change without your intervention.

If needed, alert the credit bureaus of your name change in writing. Include your old and new name, social security number, and name change proof.

Expiration

Your social security card will never expire. Your social security number will never change, except in rare cases (e.g., identity theft, abuse, stalking).

Turnaround time

Your new or replacement social security card will arrive by mail within two weeks after the SSA completes your application.

Your application isn't "complete" until the SSA verifies your documents. While they review most documents at a glance, others can take days or weeks longer, such as DHS-issued and foreign-language paperwork.

Local SSA offices don't print or mail social security cards. The central office in Baltimore, Maryland will ship your card.

Remember, the SSA is a huge organization managing a multitude of issues, of which name change is a part. Waiting is unavoidable.

Securing your SSN

When your new social security card arrives by mail, sign it in ink without delay. Store it at home in a safe place instead of your wallet or purse. Avoid making photocopies.

Don't laminate your card, as it blocks the built-in security features. Instead, seal it in a plastic bag to keep it in good condition.

If a government agency asks for your social security number, they must tell you why, if it's mandatory, and what happens if you refuse. If a third-party asks, it's your decision to show or withhold it.

Maximum replacements

You're allowed three replacement social security cards per year and 10 per lifetime. Don't worry, this limit doesn't apply to legal name changes.

The yearly or lifetime cap also doesn't apply to immigration or citizenship status changes, or cards that never arrived, arrived damaged, or had clerical errors.

Tips for applying in person

If you apply in office instead of mailing your application, the following tips will help make the most of your visit.

Grab a folder

Save time: put your paperwork in a folder. Sounds trivial, but consider this: do you want to be the person who gets up to the window panicked and unprepared?

Do you want to dig through your belongings for the necessities, with half buried or lost or, worse, left in the car (or even worse—at home)?

Your folder serves as the catchall for what you must show: forms you've printed or picked up and supporting documentation.

Find your office

Use the handy Social Security office locator that'll pinpoint where you must go based upon your zip code.

If you live outside of the United States, consult a foreign Social Security office within a U.S. embassy.

Be prepared to wait

Wait times are unpredictable. SSA offices are like other government agencies: traffic ebbs and flows.

Busy times

Busiest times are lunchtime, first thing in the morning, and right before closing. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are quietest. Midweek is a good bet.

Pay attention

It's a good idea to bring a book or magazine to read, as most SSA offices frown on people using their cell phones or handheld gaming devices.

Getting distracted with loud earbuds, phone calls, or text messages could cause you to miss your turn.

Make an appointment

SSA appointments exist for various services, but a name change may not be a good enough reason to schedule you.

You could try phoning in advance to find out if appointments are available. Mention any health-related problem or disability as rationale.

Exercise calm and patience

Lumbering lines at the SSA isn't usually the workers' fault. Many offices are understaffed. Restless crowds stress out employees too.

You'll spend more time waiting than working with someone. Your interaction may only last a few minutes.

Your case worker will verify your documents, enter the information, and print out your temporary card or receipt.

Closing thoughts

Do you have a great or awful social security story? Share it in the comments section. Questions are welcome. We're here to help.

Good luck. And happy name changing.

866 Comments

  1. Lacie

    Hello,
    I am in college and about to fill out federal aid info so I am changing my name prior to avoid complications. If I go to office in person is it an instant thing? Where I can fill my federal paperwork out with my new name within a day or two of visiting the SS Offoce? Or is there a time length that will need to be exceeded prior to filling out aid forms?
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I go to office in person is it an instant thing?

      You'll have to contact your local office to determine their processing times.

      Where I can fill my federal paperwork out with my new name within a day or two of visiting the SS Offoce? Or is there a time length that will need to be exceeded prior to filling out aid forms?

      One day afterward should be sufficient.`

      Reply
  2. Neri

    Hi, I wanted to know can I send my husband with all documents required to change my name after marriage, to the social security office? will they process the change and give him back my original documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Neri. You'll have to go as well. If you don't have time to go in person, you can mail your paperwork in.

      Reply
  3. brenda

    I got married a month ago and was wondering do I need my birth certificate to get my name changed on my s.s. card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need my birth certificate to get my name changed on my s.s. card?

      No, you don't need to update your birth certificate.

      Reply
  4. Kerri

    I went to the SS office to get my name changed and they told me I had to go to a different SS office closer to my house. Is this correrct? Also if I mail my application instead do I have to send my passport with it? Do I get it back when I get the new card? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I had to go to a different SS office closer to my house. Is this correrct?

      Any office should be capable of handling your case. Unless they provided documentation justifying this, I can't say why you were redirected.

      Also if I mail my application instead do I have to send my passport with it?

      You can use your passport as an identity document, but certain other forms government-issued ID would also be sufficient.

      Do I get it back when I get the new card?

      Yes, it will be returned to you along with your updated card.

      Reply
  5. Cheryl

    Geesh, I don't know if this could be a first time answering this for you but I am rife with anxiety over this since trying to get a compliant driver's license.

    Years ago I got married and went to Social Security to get a different card Well, I wanted to put my maiden name in the middle and asked could that be done there, presenting Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate and filling out forms, they responded YES,

    I did so with no complication however have found out — you guessed it, that is not a LEGAL name change, I was unaware the middle name even mattered to a court. Well it does on the Driver's license…….

    here's the issue, I have everything in that maiden name in the middle now as it shows on my SS card. (which for some reason nobody there pointed out did not take place as (I guess) required to be done legally as in court for a middle name!!

    So here I am wondering do I have huge problems with this name all over and will have to do a legal name change now — OR is this so simple as just getting another Social Security Card with the old middle name Since apparently it matters that name matches Birth Certificate (minus paperwork from court it is a change).

    I can't tell you how glad I was to see this blog where you *might* be able to answer this. I already know should I get the old middle name back on one I have to change wherever the middle name is wrong so that's one thing but now changing it legally is giving me major anxiety. Thank you in advance for an answer.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I did so with no complication however have found out — you guessed it, that is not a LEGAL name change, I was unaware the middle name even mattered to a court. Well it does on the Driver's license.

      The SSA's federal while the DMV is state. What's recognized in one isn't assured will be recognized in the other. That doesn't necessarily invalidate your name change with with the first. It can just make it a hassle to get the latter to match.

      I assume you're facing trouble trying to get a driver's license in your preferred name?

      here's the issue, I have everything in that maiden name in the middle now as it shows on my SS card. (which for some reason nobody there pointed out did not take place as (I guess) required to be done legally as in court for a middle name!!

      The DMV may require a court order, but that doesn't mean other federal institutions do.

      So here I am wondering do I have huge problems with this name all over and will have to do a legal name change now — OR is this so simple as just getting another Social Security Card with the old middle name

      The social security office already changed it. To change it again, they'll need to see a court order.

      I already know should I get the old middle name back on one I have to change wherever the middle name is wrong so that's one thing but now changing it legally is giving me major anxiety.

      It looks like you may just have to petition the court for a legal name change, which would just be an affirmation of your current name. This would satisfy the driver's license office.

      Yes, it's a burden to have to go through this step to satisfy one office, but that may be what you're left with.

      Reply
  6. Nashalie Cortes

    I got married on 2016 and went to the social security office to get my last name to my husbands. I thought that I would only had to take on 1 of his last name not on both. (We are Hispanics so we have 2 last names each) All my family have been married on the states and when the Bride takes on the Groom's last name they are given 1, so I don't know why the ladie said i had to get both or get a court order to only take on one. Can that be changed? Can I go back and only have 1 last name. Everyone that I tell, says they should only have given me 1 last name. That given me 2 is like being his Sister.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nashalie. The last name you're permitted to change to varies by state. Some are more flexible than others. At this point, getting your name changed a second time would require a court order.

      Reply
  7. Maria Williams

    I have a stupid question. I recently got married and requested to take my husbands last name on the marriage license and certificate. I obtained my new social security card the way the marriage license shows. I have now changed my mind and don't wish to change my name at all. Do I have to move forward and change my driver's license to match to my new social security card? or can I just leave it alone.
    Or do I need to show divorce papers to get my maiden name back?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have a stupid question.

      This is actually quite a common question.

      I obtained my new social security card the way the marriage license shows. I have now changed my mind and don't wish to change my name at all. Do I have to move forward and change my driver's license to match to my new social security card?

      Some states do have laws on the books that says the DMV must be notified of name changes and address changes within X number of days. The penalties for not doing so ranges from nonexistent to obscure to a minuscule penalty fee upon license renewal.

      Even if you don't update it now, when it comes time to renew you may have to update it then. See, many DMV will query the SSA system for your name. If it finds a discrepancy, you'll face a roadblock. They'll want your names to match.

      Or do I need to show divorce papers to get my maiden name back?

      You don't have to get divorced. You can just submit a general adult name change request with the proper court in your jurisdiction.

      Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lara. A certified copy of your marriage certificate is what you'll use to authorize the name change.

      Reply
  8. Iuliia

    Hi, I got married in 2016. I had to apply for marriage based green card. My fist name in my foreign passport is Iuliia. On the paperwork for green card I put Julia (as it’s what I go by) and my husband’s last name.

    Fast forward a few month I got my SSN and drivers license under Julia with new last name. Once I went for the green card interview the officer told me they could not locate any proof of name change from Iuliia to Julia, so they had to keep my old name Iuliia on the green card with my husband’s last name.

    Now I have a green card under Iuliia and SS card under Julia (both with my new last name).

    Do I need a court order to change my first name or can I just bring my marriage license, passport and green card asa proof of my first name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need a court order to change my first name or can I just bring my marriage license, passport and green card asa proof of my first name?

      You can inquire if they'll accept your current identity documents in your new first name as sufficient, but it's unlikely. If it's not accepted, you'll have to go the court order route.

      Reply
  9. Michelle D.

    I updated my name on my Social Security card at the end of August with my married name. I received my card in the mail about 2 weeks later. However, any time I do something that requires my social security number it says that my new name does not correspond with the social. (For example buying vape products online where I need to use my Social to verify my age and with my new online business I started). How long will it take for it to updated? It is starting to get annoying that I have to call and explain everytime I try to do something why my social doesn't align with my legal name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. If you received your new card, that means it's been updated with the SSA. Your social security number may be queried against a third-party database that's going off one of the three credit bureaus. You may want to write the three bureaus to make sure your name on file is up-to-date rather than waiting for them to automatically catch up.

      Reply
  10. Brandi

    I received my official marriage certificate but it does not include my married name, just my previous legal name. Is this going to be an issue with changing my name to my Husband's last name on SSN card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brandi. Not all states will show a new last name on your marriage certificate. If the option to choose a new married name wasn't presented on the marriage application, then it won't be presented on the marriage certificate. In those instances, it's a non-issue and wouldn't prevent you from changing your name.

      Reply
  11. Maria

    If I choose to mail in the documents, what do I need to mail in original form?

    – I am a naturalized U.S. citizen (do I need to mail in my passport?)
    – Do I mail my original drivers license?

    Also, my marriage took place 10 years ago. Does that change the requirements??

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Also, my marriage took place 10 years ago. Does that change the requirements?

      Send in an identity document in your old name (even if expired). If you don't have one in your old name, send one in your new name. Of course, also send in a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Passport or driver's license is fine as an identity document.

      Reply
  12. Ivana

    I went into the SS office with my marriage certificate to change my last name. My old card was not taken and I was not given a temp but its been 8 weeks and there is no sign of my new card in the mail. Does it usually take over 2 months to receive the new one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does it usually take over 2 months to receive the new one?

      It usually takes no longer than one to two weeks. You can contact your local office to find out where things stand.

      Reply
  13. Thuy

    I went to the SS office and changed my name after marriage in January of 2017 and just realized I never received my new card (with my new name) in the mail. I received a temp copy and used that to change everything i.e., DL, credit cards, bank accounts. Can I apply for a copy online or should I go into the office? Just wondering since it's technically not a copy as I never received it.

    Reply
  14. C Carter

    Is there a penalty in TX if I change my last name on my SS card but have not made it to the DMV to change my last name within 30 days?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carter. I'm not aware of any penalty fee from Texas DPS for not updating your license within 30 days of your social. I've found no reference on their website or Texas statutes.

      Reply
  15. Karolina

    Does the number change when I update my name? Or the number stays the same?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karolina. Your social security number will stay the same after you change your name.

      Reply
  16. Jessica

    Hello,

    I just got married in November and change my name a week ago. I went in wanting to drop my middle name and keep my last name as my middle name and add my marriage last name. I was told I had to keep my middle name and drop my last name. What were my options?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. Your remaining option would be to obtain a court order from a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Belginy. The SSA doesn't charge a fee. For passport renewals, it depends on how old your passport is or if you're a first time applicant. DMV's vary as well. If you need to petition the court for a name change, you'll have to contact the courthouse for their fees.

      Reply
  17. Roberson

    I just went to the social security office and the lady knew what she was doing but didn't give me a temporary card ? I didn't know I was supposed to get one actually

    Reply
  18. claire

    Can I change signature or, does it matter if my signature here in Social Security doesn't match to the signatures of my other records like my passports and etc.?

    Reply
  19. Kodi Prather

    I recently got married but I haven’t applied for a new social security card yet. On my marriage certificate I hyphenated my last name. Now I only want to take my husband’s last name instead of hyphenate. When I apply for my new social security card, can I only take my husband’s last name? Or do I have to hyphenate my last name because that’s what is on the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kodi. It depends on the state and how the agent you deal with interprets the standards. You may be able to achieve flexibility with the SSA, but the DMV is another animal altogether.

      Reply
  20. Rachael

    Went last week to SS office to change my name after getting married. All paperwork is submitted and just waiting on the physical card to arrive. Please note I do NOT have my original social security card (I've moved too many times and it has disappeared along with way).

    My question is: Can I change my name at the DMV without have a physical social security card or am I better off waiting until the new one comes in the mail? Also, just for background, my current DL is not expired, I have a current passport and proof of residence, etc. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my name at the DMV without have a physical social security card or am I better off waiting until the new one comes in the mail?

      You don't need to wait for your updated social security card to arrive.

      Reply
  21. Gina

    I was wondering if you could go to any social security office to change your last name or do you have to go to the office the locator tells you to go to. Its telling me to go to the one in Riverside but I'd rather go to the office in San Marcos. Is that okay?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gina. You can go to any office. It's just telling what's closest to your zip code. For convenience.

      Reply
  22. Stephanie

    I live in Georgia. I got married in June, I have only gotten new SS Card with my married name. Am I required to change it everywhere else? Credit cards, dmv, insurance, bank etc?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Stephanie. The Georgia DMV wants you to update your driver's license name within 60 days of a name change. The Georgia name change article details this along with other Georgia-specific name change items.

      Reply
  23. Lee McDaniels

    Due to being transgender I had changed my name legally and sent it to my birth state however I already changed my name legally on my social security card but my new name is not showing up anywhere and it has been about a year now. It still shows up with the old name yet it is not legal anymore and I have my documents changed. What could be the meaning of this? It is preventing me from getting a job, getting a bank account, and moving on with my life.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I already changed my name legally on my social security card but my new name is not showing up anywhere

      What do you mean by it's not showing up anywhere? Where are you not seeing it updated?

      Reply
  24. Roky H Thompson

    My wife is a Filipino citizen. She traveled to the US as a child, as a dependent of her US Navy Step-father. She received her permanent residency ID and an active Social Security Number and Card with her birth name.

    By the time she reached maturity her parents had returned to the Philippines to retire and they not filed follow-up papers to make her a citizen. Upon reaching maturity, because she was in the Philippines, her status reverted to Filipino citizen. But, she still has an active Social Security Card under her madien name. What must we do, to have her name changed to her new legal married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Roky. She'd use the marriage certificate and provide proof of her active immigration status.

      Reply
  25. Alexandria Hickman

    Hello, went Thursday February 8th to SSA office in Lima Ohio and had my name changed to my husband's last name. Trying to file my taxes and it says the name and SS number dont match up. She said it would be by midnight Thursday night and I'd be fine. Why is it not matching up? Why is my new last name not registered yet?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alexandria. The SSA automatically notifies the IRS of name changes, but it can take a little bit of time for updates to fully propagate and for the IRS' database to catch up and synchronize.

      Reply
  26. Lineth

    Hello, I am a legal permanent resident. I don't know why my green card was issued under my maiden name only. I've been married for 37 years, the time in which I always used my husband's last name.

    The thing is that now I have medical and even though I explained that in this country I just had my maiden name. My medical was issued under my husband last name.

    Now, I have issues with the IRS because my taxes are under my maiden name and the form 1095 B (Health Insurance) is under my husband last name.

    Is it possible to add my husband last name to my social security card? My marriage was held in my country, but I have the certificate and also it is marked in my birth certificate too, as well as in my passport. Thank you for your reply.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to add my husband last name to my social security card?

      Yes, after you update the name on your green card.

      Reply
  27. Vicky

    Hello,

    My fiancé and I are getting married in 2 months. I want to take his last name, but I don’t want to change it on my social security card yet. Is there a time frame for how long you have to change your last name to what it is on the marriage certificate in the state of Pennsylvania?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time frame for how long you have to change your last name to what it is on the marriage certificate in the state of Pennsylvania?

      There is no time limit.

      Reply
  28. Kay Smith

    US citizen born and raised. Got married in Vegas and on my certificate it shows my birth/maiden name on the document. It has his name and my name. Not my first name with husbands last name. Can I still send this in with my identification to get my name changed on my ss card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still send this in with my identification to get my name changed on my ss card?

      Yes, that's precisely what you'll need to send in. Your marriage certificate is properly formatted. It's not missing anything.

      Reply
  29. Christine

    I kept my last name after marriage, however I am now having a MAJOR issue getting perscription filled because of it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christine. That suggests a name mismatch exists. If the problem is with your insurance company, you'll have to contact them to correct their records.

      Reply
  30. Mairaliz

    I got married in Florida on Feb. 145, 2019. My marriage certificate was mailed to us with the raised seal and stamped. It looks like it is a combination of our application, license and certificate all on one form.

    I need to change my last name but there wasn't an option to fill out beforehand what my new last name will be. I just mailed in my s.s. card application providing the certificate, my license, birth certificate etc. and on the s.s. form is asks how I want my name to appear on the card, so I did put there how I would like it to read, which would my maiden name and his last name after.

    Would this be sufficient to change my last name? and since I mailed it in and will take longer can I still jus go to an office to apply for it in person?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I need to change my last name but there wasn't an option to fill out beforehand what my new last name will be.

      As with most states, Florida's marriage license application doesn't provide spaces to choose a new name after marriage.

      You can read the married name not on marriage certificate article which explains why this isn't a problem.

      Would this be sufficient to change my last name?

      Yes, you're good to go.

      and since I mailed it in and will take longer can I still jus go to an office to apply for it in person?

      As soon as your application is received, the turnaround time to process it is the same.

      Reply
  31. Phillip Rayson

    Hello,

    I'm hoping I can get some help with this. I am going to get married next week in Las Vegas, Nevada. My fiancée and I do not want to keep our legal last names and would like to take on my mother's maiden name which was also part of my last name when I was born. To try and clarify this, I was born in Peru and at the time of my birth my mother's last name was documented on my birth certificate but also my father's name, which is the name I no longer wish to have– in Hispanic countries the child usually takes on both the mother's maiden name and father's last name.

    My question is, because legally, at birth, I had my mother's maiden name, will I be able to provide my certified birth certificate from Peru and show that as evidence that I did hold her maiden name and thus being able to change my last name and fiancée's last name to JUST my mother's maiden name?

    I am a U.S citizen. I was naturalized when I was a child but in my naturalization certificate I have my father's last name and my mother's maiden name never shows up, my driver's license and social security card all have just my father's last name, will this be a problem? I called the clerk down in Las Vegas and they stated that since my birth certificate has both my father's and mother's last name, that they have to honor what is said on there and won't be able to make just my mother's maiden name, our new legal last name when requesting to change it. Is this true? Regardless I'm going to try in person and see if I get lucky with the clerk.

    On the same note, the clerk over the phone stated that I can go to the social security office with my marriage certificate and get my last name changed there and that the social security office offers more options to change it to what I desire, which is my mother's maiden name, is this also true? Will the SS office give me trouble and insist on keeping my father's last name? My fiancée and I live in two different states, she in Nevada and me in Florida, will this also be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      and thus being able to change my last name and fiancée's last name to JUST my mother's maiden name?

      Both you and your partner could change to your last name at birth, but it would have to be the entire last name, not a portion.

      I called the clerk down in Las Vegas and they stated that since my birth certificate has both my father's and mother's last name, that they have to honor what is said on there and won't be able to make just my mother's maiden name, our new legal last name when requesting to change it. Is this true?

      That is correct.

      You can view the Nevada name change statutes that spells out exactly what you may and may not change to.

      On the same note, the clerk over the phone stated that I can go to the social security office with my marriage certificate and get my last name changed there and that the social security office offers more options to change it to what I desire, which is my mother's maiden name, is this also true?

      The Social Security Administration will go by Nevada's laws.

      Will the SS office give me trouble and insist on keeping my father's last name?

      They have to follow your state's guidelines.

      My fiancée and I live in two different states, she in Nevada and me in Florida, will this also be a problem?

      You'll likely face the same resistance in both states.

      Reply
  32. Dale Charrette

    hi, ssa.gov made a mistake on my wifes file somewhere along the line, and had her birth date as 9/9/57 rather than 5/9/57, so when she applied online for her retirement they made her come into the ssa office in palm springs, ca and prove when she was born. we did that , and her application online still shows in process or initial. how long does this take to be fixed and then her application approved. she is due benefits by 7/10/19, and we need to know what to do.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      her application online still shows in process or initial. how long does this take to be fixed and then her application approved.

      If you're asking how long it takes to process the retirement application, it can be up to six weeks. If you're asking how long it takes for a correction, you'll have to contact the SSA to inquire.

      Reply
  33. Nikki LW

    On my marriage certificate, I decided to go with a hyphenated oldname-newname. I waited a couple of years to legally change my name and by then decided the hyphenated name was long to write out and decided instead to use my old name as my middle name. The social security office did this with no comment. The DMV however said they MUST do the hyphenated name because it's on the marriage certificate. Now my social security and driver's license won't match (and yes, it went through at the DMV). Is this an issue? I'll fix it eventually but I'm reaching the end of my patience for waiting at offices.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this an issue? I'll fix it eventually but I'm reaching the end of my patience for waiting at offices.

      It's not an issue, but more of a personal annoyance. The SSA and DMV operate on their own rules.

      Reply
  34. Kathie

    I went to the Social Security office in Georgetown SC…..it was the most uncomplicated easiest 5 minutes of my day that I have ever encountered!! My experience with their customer service was helpful and friendly and quick!

    Between the Social Security office and SC motor vehicle office in Georgetown SC…they are the almost best to deal with….cheers and keep up the great customer service at both facilities…u will be blessed that u will still have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of ur day!!

    Reply
  35. Benjamin

    My wife and I got married in June of last year and are just coming around to officially changing her last name to mine. We requested certified marriage certificates and upon receiving it we noticed that her fathers first name is spelled incorrectly. Is this going to prevent us from filing with the ss office? I’ve heard that getting the marriage certificate amended is a pain and I’m hoping that since my wife and my information is correct we won’t have to worry about it. Please help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We requested certified marriage certificates and upon receiving it we noticed that her fathers first name is spelled incorrectly. Is this going to prevent us from filing with the ss office?

      This shouldn't pose a problem.

      I’ve heard that getting the marriage certificate amended is a pain and I’m hoping that since my wife and my information is correct we won’t have to worry about it.

      It's a good idea to make sure your vital records are correct. Amendments aren't usually that involved. The office that recorded your marriage certificate can provide you with a correction form, which can be mailed.

      Reply
  36. Sheila Robinson

    I recently married June 16th, 2018-
    I signed my marriage license State of New York with only my first name and new surname-
    I would like to apply for my name change and new social security card and DMV license with my previously married name hyphen new surname is this a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sheila. It could be a problem, since it deviates from what's on your marriage certificate. You have nothing to lose by trying.

      Reply
  37. Jordan A.

    I was able to change my last name on my social security card but when I went to the DMV to change my name on my drivers license they would not take my marriage license (it is not a certified copy).

    So I have been just living with my maiden name on my IDs and my new last name on my social. We plan on going back to Colorado (where we got married) to get the original/certified copy in a few months.

    Will I get into any kind of trouble for not changing all identification right away?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jordan. Some states may impose a minor fine for not updating your driver's license within X-days. You could always request such a fee be waived.

      Reply
  38. Samantha

    I got married in Texas in June of 2018. I haven't changed my name yet, but I want to add my maiden name as a 2nd middle name & take my husband's last name as mine. Is this allowed?

    Reply
  39. Brenda

    I am widowed and now remarried. I never had my name changed the first time around but want to do it now. However, I want to add my first husbands name as my middle name. Will this be allowed seeing that I got remarried?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this be allowed seeing that I got remarried?

      No, this wouldn't be allowed through marriage.

      Reply
  40. Stacy G

    I was married in 2006. Changed my SS card to my married name. I was divorced in 2015. Never changed my name back to my maiden name. I have been remarried (to a new person) April 2019. Will I need my divorce decree and first marriage certificate to change my name this second time?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I need my divorce decree and first marriage certificate to change my name this second time?

      No, those two old documents are now irrelevant for name change purposes. Use the marriage certificate from your 2019 marriage ceremony to change your name anew.

      Reply
  41. Charice Torrens

    So I did just get married and want to change my last name, that's the easy part. However, while I'm at it I want to switch my first and middle names.

    Although I love the names my parents gave me, I've always gone by my middle name and it has been surprisingly annoying in my life. I feel that my life has only really just begun with my marriage so I want to set this straight and move on.

    Above it said that I would need to go to court to change my first name, but I'm not changing it to "Bubbles".

    Is there any easier way? If not, then how exactly do I go about this whole court thing? It's a scary idea and I have no idea what to expect, please help me out with the details. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Charice. You'd have to go to court to change your first name. Even by one letter. Which court you have to petition varies by state. Here's an article about the court petition process.

      Reply
  42. Jeremy

    Hello —

    I sent my daughters information in (we adopted her) along with her new (not a copy) birth certificate showing her new last name, it was received by the SS office here in MPLS on 3/7/19. It's now 5/30/19 and I haven't received anything back or any communication regarding this.

    The birth certificates are quite expensive and we are concerned about the last name change with the circumstances surrounding the birth family. How do I check into this? Is this a normal time frame? Reading the above it said 6 weeks, 6 weeks was 6 weeks ago now! So I'm sitting at double the time frame now. Please help/email me!

    Reply
  43. Elizabeth

    I went to the social security office April 8th 2019 to apply for my new social security card (recently got married). I waited the 14 days did not receive anything in the mail. Went back to the office April 26th and resubmitted the information. Its now May 30th and have yet to receive my card in the mail. I even went to the post office to see if i needed to let them know of my name change and they said whatever address is put on the mail it will be delivered regardless of the name.

    I've called the hotline and they see my new name in the system (since April 26th) and that i should have received a new card in the mail (well that clearly didn't happen).

    I'm worried that someone has my new card. Is there a way I can get a card printed in person. (the headquarters maybe)

    I've been to the DMV and they will not accept the receipt from the SSA. They will only accept the actual card.

    What else can i do. I feel helpless.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elizabeth. You'll have to give the local office another try. If you're concerned that someone has stolen your social security card or social security number, you may want to monitor your credit report.

      Reply
  44. Ryan

    My wife and i just married in ohio where she lived previously (last year). We live in michigan. Were waiting for our marriage certification before going to sec of state. Once we go to sec of state, it technically is a DMV in michigan, will we be able to issue a new SSC and change her license and residence to michigan at the same visit?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ryan. Once your marriage certificate arrives, your wife should get her name changed with the social security administration first. The Secretary of State should be dealt with next. It's probably a good idea to wait 24 hours between the SSA and SoS.

      Reply
  45. Kimberly

    I was curious is there a limit of time that after changing name at Social Security office that I must go to DMV?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kimberly. Some states require that your name be updated on your driver's license within X days of changing your name. The penalty for failing to do so ranges from a minor fine to unspecified to unenforced.

      Reply
  46. Donna Quinn

    I had mine updated in 1983 after being married. But it was not sent back and now I have to pay to find the original even though my SSN and license were updated. Is there any way to resolve this without forking out more money?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Donna. Just submit form SS-5 by mail or in person to get a replacement social security card.

      Reply
  47. Cheri T.

    Hello!
    I went to the social security office on Wed morning (6/26/19) 30 min before they opened. There was at least 50 ppl before me and security guards were letting them check in. I used the kiosk to check in (didn’t have an appt). At 9am they started calling the #s (which were different letters/numbers depending on what you needed). At 9:10am I was called to one of the 30 windows they had staffed. I had pre-filled out the application and had my documents. I was there for about 10 min & was given a receipt. I was told I should get it in about 7-10 business days & if I don’t get it in 2 weeks… come back. I JUST got it in the mail TODAY! 7/1/19 wow!!!! I was pleasantly surprised by the whole process!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cheri. Thanks for reporting your how your name change went in office vs doing it by mail.

      Reply
  48. Jade

    What if I was married over 2 years ago? I lived abroad and got married abroad so never got to change my name. Also, can I bring in the original marriage certificate to the office instead of a certified copy?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What if I was married over 2 years ago?

      The name change process is the same, but you'll have to make sure you provide an identity document in addition to your marriage certificate.

      Also, can I bring in the original marriage certificate to the office instead of a certified copy?

      The original or a certified copy would be equally acceptable.

      Reply
        1. Valera

          What type of identity document? My birth certificate?

          Your birth certificate cannot be used to verify your identity. Provide a driver's license, passport, or state-issued ID card.

          Reply
  49. Tatlyn Thompson-Henry

    Hi,can i drop my last name even if i had an miss spelling on my green card ?are will i have to go through a different procedure before i can get my name change

    Reply
  50. Alissia Arnold

    If the city you were born in is incorrect on the marriage certificate will I be unable to change my name?

    Reply
  51. Newlywed

    Hello,
    My parents hyphenated their last names when they were married, so I was born with a hyphenated last name.
    Now I am married and getting rid of the hyphenated last name. On the form it asks for “Parent/Mother’s Name at her Birth” but just asks for “Parent/Father’s Name”.
    Do I provide my Father’s name at birth or his married name?
    Thanks,
    Newlywed

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I provide my Father’s name at birth or his married name?

      It doesn't really matter for a number of reasons: 1) if you're at least 18 years old, these fields aren't even required, and 2) whichever name you apply the SSA will be able to reference. They keep a history of prior names, so they'll be able to perform a match whether you specify a birth name or current name.

      Having said that, the form is asking for your father's name. If it wanted his birth name, it would have said father's birth name. But, still, they'll be able to handle it either way.

      Reply
  52. Lauren

    Hi,

    I am recently married, and my husband has a hyphenated last name (M-K). We would both like to change our last names to the first half of his hyphenated last name only (M) – so he will be dropping the second portion. Does this require a court order for either of us? Or is a certified marriage certificate acceptable since it is technically part of his given last name? We were married in VT and live in CA.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  53. mimi

    Hello! I was married in 2005 and never changed my name on my Social Security card to reflect that I had taken my husband's last name. Do I need supporting documentation beyond our marriage license from 2005 (which shows my maiden name)?
    I also have a passport and drivers license that show my married name.
    Thank you for the help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need supporting documentation beyond our marriage license from 2005 (which shows my maiden name)?

      A certified copy of your marriage certificate acts as your name change event. Your married name could be pulled from your certificate, so that part's a done deal. That's the first thing you'll need.

      I also have a passport and drivers license that show my married name.

      Since your marriage took place over two years ago, you'll need to supply an identity document. Your driver's license or passport showing your married name is perfectly acceptable.

      Reply
  54. Alex Fogg

    Hello I am trying to find out some info for my wife she went online and paid 40$ for the whole name change process but on the form it’s requesting her parents SS# as well and that doesn't seem correct and feels fishy. We are trying to research how we can make the whole process as painless and legally legitimate as possible any help from those who have done this would be appreciated thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      on the form it’s requesting her parents SS# as well and that doesn't seem correct and feels fishy.

      If your wife is 18 years old or older, her parents' SSN fields can be left blank. The fields are used when a parent is requesting a new or replacement social security card for their child. It's meant to link their records.

      Reply
  55. Lauren

    I'm in NC. I have had my name changed multiple times in my life.

    Example:

    Lauren Likes Waffles

    I was adopted at 8 years old and my name was changed to Lauren Likes Loves.

    I was then married and took my husbands last name, Lauren Likes Chicken.

    I was named after someone I do not care for so when I needed a replacement SS card I asked if I could change my middle name to my maiden name and they said yes. I was in and out within a few minutes making my name now Lauren Loves Chicken.

    My question is, in NC is this a valid name change? He said I will not need to go to court but after looking online I'm still wondering.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is, in NC is this a valid name change? He said I will not need to go to court but after looking online I'm still wondering.

      Yes, replacing your middle name with your maiden name is a typical change.

      Reply
  56. Liv

    Hi, I went to SS to have my name changed a week ago, got a receipt for the process. So I went to DMV after 7 days to have my DL change as well, and they still can not find my name in the system. Not sure what to do. Is it normal to take this long for system info to update?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Not sure what to do. Is it normal to take this long for system info to update?

      In many cases, the DMV only lags behind the SSA for 24 hours. It's possible your application hasn't been fully processed.

      Turnaround time can take up to two weeks. But, that includes the time to receive your updated social security card. It can take longer if certain documents require translation into English.

      You can contact your local social security office to get a status update.

      Reply
  57. Sheryl

    I went to the social security office to change my name to my married name today. Upon completing the process with the agent I asked for a printout to take to the Dmv and she told me I couldn't get one because my ss#had been changed. Why did my number get changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      she told me I couldn't get one because my ss#had been changed. Why did my number get changed?

      That's probably a miscommunication. Social security card changes are also referred to as SSN card changes. Your social security number doesn't change when you change your name. It's only changed for significant reasons, such as identity theft, or avoiding a stalker.

      Reply
  58. Kiki

    Hi,
    I live in MA and am considering changing my middle name to my maiden name. I am already married and have not yet changed my last name. I understand that I need to separately petition the court to change my middle name.

    My question is, what order should this be done in? Is there a way to prevent changing everything everywhere twice (i.e. changing last name with SS, RMV, Passport and then changing middle name with SS, RMV, Passport)? For instance, should the petition process be done first and then social security approached with documentation for both new middle and last names? I've tried researching whether both processes can be done at the same time but I'm not finding the information I'm looking for.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I understand that I need to separately petition the court to change my middle name.

      If you're only changing your middle name, then petition the court. If you're changing your married name and middle name, just use your marriage certificate for both.

      Is there a way to prevent changing everything everywhere twice

      If you're certain you'll have to petition the court, then you can have them change both your middle name and last name simultaneously. Then use your court order to go through the name change once with SS, MA RMV, etc.

      Reply
  59. Kai

    Hi! So i did change my name on my ssn with no problem. Until recently, i found out that the marriage certificate that i passed has error in the name of my husband. What should i do now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      i found out that the marriage certificate that i passed has error in the name of my husband. What should i do now?

      You may contact the office that recorded your marriage license for a correction, amendment, and reissue.

      Reply
  60. Reyna

    I changed my last name due to marriage. But we are now filing for divorce and I want my maiden name back as soon as possible. Can I change my last name back with my birth certificate or do I have to wait until the divorce is final ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Reyna. Unless you're getting a court order, you'll have to wait until you're divorced.

      Reply
  61. Cayla

    On my marriage license I hyphenated my last name to include maiden-married. When I go to social security can I just choose to go with my
    Married name and not hyphenate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I go to social security can I just choose to go with my Married name and not hyphenate?

      No, if a new name is specified on your marriage certificate, it must be taken verbatim.

      Reply
  62. Jojo

    Hello,
    I've been married for 33 years and need to change my maiden name on my SS card to my married one. I read somewhere that I need to show documentation in my maiden and married name. I don't have nothing in my maiden name (married at age 17) but have 33 year's worth on my married name.

    I'm a U.S. citizen, have my birth certificate, my marriage license, my original worn out SS card…..so what can I take or what is acceptable for me to show me in my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm a U.S. citizen

      You don't have to prove citizenship if it's already on file with the SSA.

      have my birth certificate

      You can bring it to bolster your case.

      my marriage license

      This is a must. Make sure it's an original or certified copy.

      my original worn out SS card

      Not a valid form of ID, but you can still bring it to strengthen your case.

      …..so what can I take or what is acceptable for me to show me in my maiden name?

      Since you don't have ID in the prior name as shown on your current social security record, the SSA will have to push through your name change using your new name.

      Bottom line, show ID in your new name. A driver's license, state-issued ID card, or passport would work. It must show biographical info (e.g., age, DOB) that matches your existing SS record.

      Reply
      1. Jojo

        Thank you for getting back to me. I appreciate it! I forgot to add to my first question that my DL is expired which is why I need to change my name on SS card cause I believe they'll ask for it and it's in my maiden name. I do have the expired one (DL) and 2 other ones with both my maiden and married name on it.

        As I was going thru papers looking for something/anything with my maiden name I came across a receipt/letter from 2000 stating that I applied for a SS card. I guess I did apply for it but I had forgotten about it cause I don't have the new card and don't remember if it ever came thru or not. So is there a way that I can find out if I did the name change back in 2000?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I forgot to add to my first question that my DL is expired which is why I need to change my name on SS card cause I believe they'll ask for it and it's in my maiden name. I do have the expired one (DL) and 2 other ones with both my maiden and married name on it.

          I'll circle back to this at the end.

          So is there a way that I can find out if I did the name change back in 2000?

          You'll have to contact your local social security office.

          Let's consider two possibilities:

          1. Your current social security record has your married name:

          In this case, you're done. You changed your name, but forgot about it. If necessary, you can just apply for a replacement card.

          2. Your current social security record has your maiden name:

          In this case, submitting expired ID in your maiden name is acceptable. Alternatively, you can submit an unexpired identity document in your new name as long as your marriage certificate displays your maiden name.

          Reply
          1. Jojo

            Thank you so much Valera! I really and truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. You were awesome! :) And I'll be going will all the info I have, current and expired, to the SS office tomorrow. Thanks again!

          2. Valera

            Thank you so much Valera!

            You're welcome.

            And I'll be going will all the info I have, current and expired, to the SS office tomorrow.

            Smart.

  63. Christina

    Hello,

    Thank you for taking the time out to answer everyones questions. This is very helpful.

    I am currently living in CA (born in NY) and living with a CA drivers license. I am getting married in two weeks, and can't decide if I want to change my last name or not. From my understanding, it seems there is no risk is changing my last name on my marriage license, and then not submitting with SSA or DMV. I am correct?

    It seems if I don't take the opportunity now to change my last name on my marriage license, I risk having to petition the court later (+$500).

    Are there any consequences to this that can be predicted?

    Thank you for your support.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      From my understanding, it seems there is no risk is changing my last name on my marriage license, and then not submitting with SSA or DMV. I am correct?

      That's right. There's no obligation to follow through.

      It seems if I don't take the opportunity now to change my last name on my marriage license, I risk having to petition the court later

      Correct.

      Are there any consequences to this that can be predicted?

      If you leave the new name choice blank, you're precluded from changing your name through marriage using the marriage certificate.

      Reply
  64. Judy

    The SS was fast but they did not accept the translation for my marriage certificate. I was married overseas and have the original, apostilled and certified document but they did not accept either translations – even though it was done at a court approved translator per the country and also through a translation service here.

    I was lucky because the lady who helped me went the extra mile and found her co-worker who spoke and read Arabic and they got me my name change same day. I'm just waiting for my new ss card.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The SS was fast but they did not accept the translation for my marriage certificate.

      That's standard operating procedure. Translations have to be done in-house.

      Reply
  65. Angella

    If you change your name at the Social Security office and they don't give you a temporary card, what do you use to change your name at the DMV? I don't want to wait two weeks to get my new license and all of my other accounts, is the marriage certificate enough with my old license? Social Security had me sign up for an online account while I was there, is there a way to get proof off of there? I didn't see anyway but could have missed it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angella. You don't have to wait 24 hours if the name change has been processed in the SSA system. Your DMV will likely query their system electronically for a name match. Assuming your documents don't have to be verified or translated, you may be able to update your driver's license the same day or the next day.

      Reply
  66. Melissa

    If my marriage certificate lists my name both before and after marriage as well as my birth date, does that prove my identity, or do I still need to send in my passport with it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. Your marriage certificate as described is sufficient to serve as an identity document as long as the marriage took place within the past two years.

      Reply
  67. MacKenzie Ricks

    Silly question but do I need to send another envelope with postage on it along with the required information for them to send back my documents. I plan on doing the mail in option.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Silly question but do I need to send another envelope with postage on it along with the required information for them to send back my documents.

      No, you do not. The SSA will pay for the return postage.

      Reply
  68. Michelle

    I got remarried several years ago, over 2, and my DL has my new married name. I just never thought about changing my ss card, and it hasn't really created any issues until now with a background check. I have my birth cert, 1st marriage license, divorce decree and second marriage license (name on it matches ss card) is this sufficient even though it has been more than 2 years

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. You just need your current driver's license with your new name and your most recent marriage license.

      Reply
  69. Gabrielle Wasner (Elwood)

    Hello, I am an Oregon resident, born and raised, and just got married. I got my name changed on everything but my social security card (saving it for last). When I went it the wait wasn’t long and the security guard stoke up a little conversation to pass the time.

    But then it was my turn. I brought my new license, marriage license, a piece if mail (for address change), my birth certificate, and my old social security card. I began answering their security questions. He asked what my mother’s maiden name was. I answered and he just looked at me, I answered again Incase he didn’t hear me. I told him I was adopted but my adopted mother’s name is on my birth certificate so her maiden name is the one I was giving him. He said that was wrong. I handed him my birth certificate and he went to ask someone else what to do.

    He came back and said I need proof or adoption. I called my mom and she doesn’t have it. I called the courthouse and there are three different countries I could have been adopted in. So now I am on a good chase because I can’t find the legal paper work to prove I was adopted.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gabrielle. You needn't bring your birth certificate or old social security card. Your marriage certificate is enough for ID, as long as it can identity you in your old and new name.

      It appears that your mother's name as shown on your social security record is not her maiden name. Could she have registered your social security number under a different name (e.g., married name at the time)? If so, you'd have to reference that if 1) you didn't specify your mother's SSN and 2) your mother's own social security record doesn't reference her maiden name.

      Reply
  70. Julia

    I went on my birthday o renew my drivers licence in CA. I was told theycouldnt process because my SSN and name didn't match. I was married 20 years ago. I have filed taxes, paid into Social security through work and my DoD retirement pension, held a valid CaRL in my married name for 20 years. When I went to change name at Sea they would not accept my ID because it expired the day before 1day. I had to travel 3 hours to ssa office. They told me to get a valid id. How? I don't know how to correct this and need my license to work

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julia. If you don't have unexpired primary ID (e.g., driver's license, passport), then show unexpired secondary ID, such as a medical record, school record, or life insurance policy.

      Reply
  71. kaira lee

    Hi I got married in August and received my marriage certificate in the mail a few weeks ago. I want to take one day off of work and I didn't request additional copies of my marriage certificate.

    If I go down to the SS office to change my name, will I get it back to be able to bring it to the DMV? And will SS office give me something showing that my name has changed on my SS card too?

    I just want to do everything in one day so I can mail in the certificate to renew and change my passport as well.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I go down to the SS office to change my name, will I get it back to be able to bring it to the DMV?

      Yes, you'll get your marriage certificate and ID back before leaving.

      And will SS office give me something showing that my name has changed on my SS card too?

      You can request a receipt, but the DMV won't use it to change your name.

      I just want to do everything in one day so I can mail in the certificate to renew and change my passport as well.

      It could take a day for the SSA database to refresh before the DMV electronically queries it. Getting it done in the same day might be possible, but isn't assured. You may have to space it out at least 24 hours.

      Reply
  72. Kimberly Smith

    Hello,

    I have legally changed my name, only with the SSA, after my marriage in May of 2019. I have not changed my driver’s license or my passport to my new married name.

    I have planned a trip to England in early 2020 with my previous name, which is currently displayed on my DL and passport.

    I plan on changing everything to my married name after the trip, but want to make sure it’s safe to keep it for now, as the flight and all arrangements were booked in my former name.

    Will I incur any issues at the airports if my SS name is different than what’s on my DL and passport?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I plan on changing everything to my married name after the trip, but want to make sure it’s safe to keep it for now, as the flight and all arrangements were booked in my former name.

      Waiting to change your maiden name after traveling makes sense.

      Will I incur any issues at the airports if my SS name is different than what’s on my DL and passport?

      No, but it doesn't hurt to keep a certified copy of your marriage record with you to explain any name discrepancy.

      Reply
  73. Lisa Perrillo

    I married my Husband who is here on a K1 in May 2019. We are in the AOS process and I would like to change my last name. It is his culture for the wife to take both his first and last name as her full last name. Social Security refuses to do this without a court order stating that it is protocol for the wife to only take the husband's last name not both his first and last name as her full last name.

    I've done my research and to get a court order is extensive in that after all is said and done, after full state bureau investigation, background check, finger prints (all which I'm fine with actually), my birth certificate would change as if I were born with that name (which I'm not fine with).

    This cannot be the first time a woman wants to choose her last name based on culture and incorporate her husband's full name? I'm baffled because the rep at social security could not tell me why he couldn't issue me a new SS card with the name I chose besides saying "that's protocol"!?! No cite to law or anything. 

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my birth certificate would change as if I were born with that name (which I'm not fine with).

      You wouldn't have to update your birth certificate following a court-petitioned name change. That's optional.

      No cite to law or anything.

      The rep was following the SSA's Program Operations Manual System, which lays out what's allowed for name changes. What you're seeking isn't possible without a court order.

      Reply
  74. Timothy McElfresh

    Does it cost anything with the ss office to change your last name after getting married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does it cost anything with the ss office to change your last name

      There is no cost.

      Reply
  75. Misti Piserelle

    I applied for my new SS card on Oct 14th with my new married name and still haven't gotten my card yet and wanted find out what I should do if I don't receive it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Misti. Assuming no document required extra validation or translation, turnaround time is about two weeks. You're a little bit beyond that, so you can contact your local SS office where you applied or mailed your paperwork to.

      Reply
  76. Francine

    It's been 10 days and I haven't gotten my card back yet. Should I be worried?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Francine. You're still within the window of potential processing. It could take up to two weeks. When did you mail it? Or did you apply in person?

      Reply
      1. Francine

        I mailed it 10 days ago. I dropped it off at the post office. They're like one mile from the ss building. What happens after two weeks and I don't get it? I need do my driver's license and it's holding me up.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          If you don't get your card within two weeks, you may want to call your local office. It's possible your name has already been processed and new card incoming. If that's the case, you can go and get your driver's license updated now. You don't have to wait until your card arrives.

          Reply
          1. Francine

            Thanks. I'll wait a few more days but if I don't get it by then I'll go to the office to see if/when they mailed it. It's not far from my house so it shouldn't take that long to mail me my stuff.

          2. Valera

            It's not far from my house so it shouldn't take that long to mail me my stuff.

            FYI, your local SSA offices doesn't print and mail cards. The central office in Baltimore, Maryland is responsible for that.

  77. Chelsea

    Hello! I updated my name on my social security card – but have not updated my drivers license or passport yet. I am planning a trip out of the country in the next couple months. Is it okay if I wait to finish updating my other documents or is that an issue?

    Reply

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