668 Comments

Before you can do much to change your name, you need to get your name changed with the Social Security Administration. That social security card is the key to getting through other name changes (like at the DMV, your bank, etc) smoothly and with as little hassle as possible. So how do you ensure that changing your name with social security is as painless as possible?

Before You Do Anything Else

You'll need to complete the SS-5 application, which is a form made available from the Social Security Administration. A 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.

Updating your social security card through the mail

Okay, you've got your form filled out and in front of you. Now what do you do?

This is where you make a very important choice. See—you can easily drop your form and supporting paperwork (marriage certificate, etc) into an envelope and mail it off. Then you just sit back and wait for your new social security card to show up. The Social Security Administration will mail you your new card as well as your supporting documents back to you… in about two to six weeks, or so. Yes, how long it takes for your name to change can vary a considerable amount, depending on how heavy their queue or backlog is.

Remember, the Social Security Administration is a huge, sprawling organization that deals with a multitude of issues, of which name change is just a part. If you don't mind waiting up to six weeks to really dig in to changing your name, this is the way to go.

Changing your name, in person, at your local Social Security office

If you don't want to wait that long and would rather (for lack of better terminology) bang it all out in a day or two, there is another route you can take: you can actually gather up your forms and pay a visit to your Social Security Administration Office. You'll get a temporary card that you can then take with you to the bank, the DMV, etc.

But isn't the Social Security office a nightmare?

You probably have visions of Joe-vs-The-Volcano like lines of people all trudging forward an inch at a time to take care of their business. This is certainly the stereotype and, if you've been down the Social Security Google rabbit hole, you've undoubtedly read a few horror stories about what visiting the office was like.

Here's some good news: it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, if you approach it well, the entire process shouldn't take much time at all.

Here is how to ensure that your visit to the SSA goes smoothly and is incident free.

1. Make sure you have all of the proper forms filled out

The primary form the SSA provides (Application for a Social Security Card) is there specifically to have your name changed with social security. Use that. This way you won't have to worry that you've found an old form or, worse, a totally wrong form. Also, don't sign nor date the form just yet. If you're going in person, it's better for you to apply your signature when you're in front of the clerk who's working on your application, so that he/she can witness the act.

2. Get all of your supporting documentation together

You are going to need to have the following documents with you:

Legal documents proving your name change: This is almost always going to be your marriage certificate (or divorce decree). This point requires repeating—you need your marriage certificate. Specifically, a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and not your marriage license.

Marriage license or Marriage certificate? What's the difference?

There's been a longtime point of confusion, that's been going on forever, regarding these two documents. The Internet is littered with various articles, Q&A help sections, and forums conflating the two by telling folks a marriage license is an acceptable document to serve as proof of name change. That's false. A marriage license is the document you receive before you get married, which provides you legal authorization to get married. The marriage certificate is a document you receive after you are married, and it's what the Social Security Administration is expecting in order to change your name after marriage.

You'll also want to make sure it's a certified copy. Whether you're mailing in your name change forms or doing it in person, if you end up bringing in a photocopy of your marriage certificate made on your home office copy machine, you'll be laughed right out of the building. Well, you may not face ridicule, but you'll be politely told to supply an authentic, certified copy before you're sent packing.

You lie! I used my marriage license to change my name

Ok, you're right, and you're wrong. And it's not what you think. There are some counties and states where the marriage license and marriage certificate are actually one and the same. The heading's the same. Whoever officiates the marriage will file it with the county recorder's office. The only difference is, the status changes. Once you're married, the document is now considered your marriage certificate. Like a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

But I got a certified copy of my marriage license?

Ok, we're getting deep into the rabbit hole, but there is such a thing as a certified copy of a marriage license. It's typically referred to as a marriage record, which isn't the same thing as a marriage certificate. Marriage records (photocopy and certified) are typically issued by a county clerk's office (where you apply for a marriage license), while a certified copy of a marriage certificate is gotten from the county recorder's office.

Just get a certified copy of your marriage certificate and all will be well. Moving on…

Non-marriage-related name change, for you other folks

If you're changing your name for reasons that aren't marital, you'll need the paperwork from the court that approved your name change. If you want to change your name in a way that your state doesn't recognize as part of the marriage name changing process, you'll need to petition the court. For instance, if you want to also change your first name, you'll have to get a court order granted by a judge.

Identity documents—Are you who you say you are?

Your current driver's license, state ID or passport should be sufficient.

Still, not everyone has a driver's license or state ID or passport. If that's who you are, don't fret, the door isn't going to close on you. The SSA will work with you by asking for alternative, secondary documents, such as a health insurance card or Medicaid card. Or even a school ID or employee badge.

Sometimes military IDs and other forms of identification will work, but before you visit the office it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure they will accept what you want to use.

Your citizenship

This can be your birth certificate or your passport.

If you aren't a citizen, you'll need to provide proof of your immigration status.

3. Grab a folder

This will help you save time. No, really—it sounds stupid but think about it: do you want to be the person who finally gets up to the window only to have to dig through her bag for a half an hour because she didn't keep all of the things she needed together and half of them have been buried or lost or, worse, left in the car (or even worse—at home)? Nobody wants to be that woman. Or guy… everything we're talking about works for you too, if you're changing your name.

The folder will serve as the catch all location for all of the things you'll need to provide when you want to change your name: the forms you've printed or picked up and the supporting documentation you've gathered. Keeping everything in one location saves everybody time.

Put all of your forms and the supporting documentation mentioned above in the folder. Put the folder in your bag (or your briefcase—which is totally gender neutral, btw).

4. Visit your local Social Security Administration office

Yes, this is a silly bullet point with a microscopic accompanying paragraph, but it's one of the most important, because it give us the opportunity to point to the handy Social Security office locator that'll pinpoint exactly where you'll need to go.

5. Be prepared to wait

Sadly there is no real way to help you avoid a long wait. The SSA office is like most other places: traffic ebbs and flows. It's a good idea, though, to avoid going at lunch time, first thing in the morning or right before the end of the business day. Mid morning and mid afternoons are typically the best time to go. Mid week is also a good bet.

It's a good idea to bring a book or magazine with you to read as most SSA offices frown on people using their cell phones or using handheld gaming devices (as these can be loud and wearing earbuds could cause you to miss your turn).

You could try to phone them in advance to determine if you can make an appointment. The SSA does provide appointments for various services, but name change may not be a sufficient enough rationale for them to allocate you an appointment spot. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask, especially if there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., health-related, disability).

6. Access your reservoir of patience

Remember that the line at the Social Security office is not usually the fault of the people working behind the window. Many offices are understaffed these days and the employees are just as stressed out about the number of people who are waiting as the people waiting themselves. The calmer you are, the less irritating your visit is going to be.

You can be sure that you will spend more time waiting than you will actually working with someone. The time you spend in front of an employee will probably only be a few minutes. Your case worker needs to only verify the authenticity of your documents, enter in the new information and then print out your temporary card. If you have everything prepared ahead of time, you shouldn't have to worry too much about the process taking an extended period of time.

7. Take your "temporary card", thank the person who worked with you and go!

You are now all set up to change your name everywhere else… which, if you stick with in person visits, should only take the rest of the day (maybe part of the second if the wait at the SSA office was extraordinarily long)!

You'll get your real card in the mail about a week after you visit the office. Sign it and store it somewhere safe!

Next stop: Changing your name at the DMV

Going to the driver's license office right after getting your name changed with the Social Security office is the typical, next go-to route for most folks. You may want to do yourself a favor and wait 24 hours before doing so. Reason being, the DMV may query the SSA database to confirm your name change, and if there's a name mismatch (due to the SSA database not having been updated yet) they may not be able to process it… yet. It's a quirk of timing, but something to keep in mind for the impatient amongst you.

If you've got a great, or awful, social security story, share it in the comments section. If you've got any questions or need some help making heads or tails of name change, feel free to ask. We're here to help.

Good luck. And happy name changing.

668 Comments

  1. Christine

    I'm currently in the process of changing my last name to my new married last name. I'm also trying to apply for a credit card and I'm wondering, would applying for a credit card, during the name changing process, affect my chances of getting accepted for the credit card? So far, I've only submitted my application to the SSA (I was not given a temp SS card, I was given a receipt of my application) and I have not changed my name anywhere else or on anything else. The bank I am currently trying to apply for a credit card at is a bank that I am currently a member of. Do you have any insight on this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christine. It's a good idea to wait until the SSA has updated your name in their records before applying for new credit. The bank, or any financial institution for that matter, will want the name you submit to match what's on your social security record.

      If you'll be interfacing directly with your bank, they may be willing to accommodate you, but it's up to each bank to decide how flexible they'll be.

      Reply
  2. Dan

    Hi.
    My wife's green card was approved and been mailed to our US address just fine. However, we didn't realize she could have put her name with my last name on the green card application. E.g., she is Hanako Yamamoto. My last name is Doe. She wanted to change her name for life in the US to Hanako Doe, but we didn't realize we were just supposed to write that on the green card application, so now she is still Hanako Yamamoto.

    To do a green card name change, you have to fill out the form and pay the fees (I-90). One of the required documentation is evidence of legal name change. But we have only the Japanese official document as documentation indicating our marriage, and her name, as legally required in Japan, retains her last name, not mine. OUR QUESTION: should this marriage certificate be enough for the name change of the social security card? how about for getting her CA drivers license – can she just put her desired name eg., Hanako Doe and show her marriage certificate as justification for this? or will the DMV just look at her green card or social and simply put her name as written on those cards?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, we didn't realize she could have put her name with my last name on the green card application. E.g., she is Hanako Yamamoto.

      You can have the green card renewed, but USCIS does charge a fee.

      should this marriage certificate be enough for the name change of the social security card?

      The name on her green card and social security card should match.

      how about for getting her CA drivers license – can she just put her desired name eg., Hanako Doe and show her marriage certificate as justification for this?

      This likely wouldn't work, as the DMV may query the SSA database to confirm her surname matches.

      or will the DMV just look at her green card or social and simply put her name as written on those cards?

      That's likely.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    Hi – recently married in CA and when we filled out form for marrige certificate I hyphenated my current last name and my new one. Now I wish I had just made my old last name part of my middle name. Am I stuck now that I've done that at Social Secuirity and DMV or can I process differenlty there? Can't seem to find an answer anywhere.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I wish I had just made my old last name part of my middle name. Am I stuck now that I've done that at Social Secuirity and DMV or can I process differenlty there? Can't seem to find an answer anywhere.

      Yes, you're stuck. To change your name again you'll have to file a change of name request with the Superior Court as if you were do a typical adult name change.

      Even if you hadn't changed your name with SSA or the DMV you'd still have to go the court route as California county clerk offices are unwilling to modify or amend recorded and issued marriage certificates unless there are errors or a court orders it be done. Wanting to change the name on a certificate wouldn't be an acceptable reason.

      Reply
  4. Judes

    Had my folder with my birth certificate and marriage license. Got a copy of my birth certificate from the county clerk’s office to avoid being forestalled by SSA. Completed the SS-5 (the clerk said I didn’t have to but it’s faster to input the information in the computer if it’s already completed). Came in 3:30pm. Office closed at 4pm. Was out of the office in a little under 20min. Great experience at SSA. Super fast and the staff were surprisingly pleasant.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Judes. Thanks for sharing your experience of changing your name in person rather than through the mail. You must have gotten in on a good day or hour.

      Reply
  5. Rose

    I want to hyphenate my last name with my spouse's, but I heard that social security cards replace hyphens with spaces and I do not want to end up having two last names. How can I make sure that my new legal name is hyphenated?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rose. Although the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) may not like hyphens or special characters, that doesn't necessarily prevent a hyphenated name change from being accepted and stored properly. However, it's possible your card may be printed with only alphabetic characters.

      Reply
  6. Sue

    If I already sent in an application for a name change because of marriage and its taking longer than I thought, can I go in now with all my documents and try to change it that way? Or will that cause more confusion now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sue. If you mailed in your documents, you can still go into your local SSA office to determine what's causing the delay. Their systems are synced.

      Reply
  7. Kerilee

    15 years ago when I married I went to SS office and combined my first and middle name and took my maiden name as my middle. Was the ok to do? Was I supposed to have a legal name change document besides a marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kerilee. They were either more flexible back in the day or you got a malleable agent to handle your case. Either way, your name change request was accepted and it's done. Nowadays, such a first name change request wouldn't likely be accepted without a court order.

      Reply
  8. Mary

    On my marriage license it shows Surname After Marriage as my fiance's last name only. Would I still be able to hyphen it with my last name when I go to the SSA to change my name or is it too late?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. It can vary by state and how flexible an SSA clerk you come across.

      Reply
  9. Brenda Krajewski

    I went in to my local social security office to do a name change due to marriage. I had the application filled out except I didn't sign it yet, I read that it is best to sign it in person, but the lady never asked me to sign it, and I completely forgot also…so what will happen with my card. She gave me a receipt for it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brenda. Unless your application is returned to you with a signature request, you're fine.

      Reply
  10. Martini B

    Hi, Do you think they approve my SSN I applied last 5 weeks? What happened is my Indonesian passport still on my name without my husband last name. But my Green Card and my marriage certificate with my husband last name.
    First they said not guaranteed because my passport and my Green card different name, than they said wait for 2- 4 weeks to make SSN. Tomorrow will be 6 weeks. I’m so frustrated about it, do you think they will rejected because my passport not same name as my Green Card\marriage certificate?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Martini. You'll have to contact a local social security office to determine the status of your application. If there'a problem with on of your supporting documents, there's usually substitutions that can be made.

      Reply
      1. Martini B

        Thank you so very much for your adviced, I called the local security office they said the Homelands Security office didn’t have verified yet my documents and they told me to call them back another 2 weeks. Just wondering where is Social Security Card process? In Homelands Security office or Social Security Administration office
        Thank you

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Just wondering where is Social Security Card process? In Homelands Security office or Social Security Administration office

          Processing is done through the SSA.

          Reply
          1. Martini B

            Thank you and much appreciate for all your information

  11. Jordan

    Hi. My husband and I are planning on going together to get everything settle at the social security office . Would they be able to just get everything out of the way for both of us at once? ( stupid question , I know , but I thought I’d ask.)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would they be able to just get everything out of the way for both of us at once?

      Yes, you can take care of business together.

      Reply
  12. Karen

    I will be getting married in a few months. I plan on hyphenating my last name but I wasn't planning on making the change until a month or 2 after the wedding & honeymoon. Due to hotel reservations and flights that are already booked using my maiden name I don't want to change my name right away.

    I was wondering how long can I go before changing my SSN and CA DL with new hyphenated last name? As I understand in CA you can apply for your marriage license 90 days prior to your wedding and you must place your name how you will have it after you are married or else you have to have a court order to change it later on. I don't want to go through that but I didn't know if there was a specific time frame on when you have to have the name updated through SS office. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was wondering how long can I go before changing my SSN and CA DL with new hyphenated last name?

      There's no time frame to abide by.

      As I understand in CA you can apply for your marriage license 90 days prior to your wedding

      You don't have to apply for a marriage license 90 days before your wedding. The license can be applied for the same day as your wedding. It's just that the license expired 90 days after issuance.

      and you must place your name how you will have it after you are married or else you have to have a court order to change it later on.

      Correct.

      I don't want to go through that but I didn't know if there was a specific time frame on when you have to have the name updated through SS office.

      There is no time frame.

      Reply
  13. Dreux

    Hi, I legally changed my first and middle name 3 years ago, so my question is, why do I get mail with my old name and also when my social security number is put in sometimes my old name still comes up, I also had a background check ran on me about a month ago and they kept referring me by my old name, any help?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      why do I get mail with my old name

      Changing your name with the SSA only changes it with the SSA. For everyone else, you have to notify them of the name change so that their records can be updated as well.

      and also when my social security number is put in sometimes my old name still comes up

      The SSA maintains a history of changes to your social security record.

      I also had a background check ran on me about a month ago and they kept referring me by my old name, any help?

      SSA and credit bureaus maintain name histories. Nothing out of the ordinary.

      If there's an organization in particular you're concerned about, you can write them a letter notifying them of your name change.

      Reply
  14. Brittney

    Hi there! I live in NY state and I got married July 22nd of 2017 and am just now getting around to changing my name on my SS card. I am just wanting to make sure I understand this correctly…

    after filling out the appropriate document I need to mail it in with my marriage certificate, but I also have to include my drivers id and birth certificate? My marriage cert. shows proof of my name change, shouldn't that be enough?

    I only question this because I have already went ahead and changed my DL to my married name since it was coming up expired they were able to change my name right then with my marriage certificate present. So sending in my DL now won't show SS my maiden name…

    HELP am I looking to far into this or do I really need all those documents when mailing this in?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brittney. If 1) your marriage certificate contains your old and new name and has sufficient information for the SSA to identity you in their existing records and 2) your marriage took place less than two years ago and 3) you're older than 18 years old, then you may be able to get by with just the marriage certificate and not another identity document.

      If you know for sure that you can walk this line, that's fine, but for most people simply sending an identity document as supporting identification is a safe option.

      Reply
  15. Jazmin

    I recently just noticed that I have a middle name on my SS card but not on my birth certificate. On my son's birth certicate I'm listed on there with all 3 names. I recently got married and don't know if it would be a problem to drop the middle name and hyphen my last name on my SS card.

    Would I still be able to apply for his passport and not have problems in showing proof I'm him mother? I live in Texas. Also is it possible to hyphen my last name on my SS and license? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I recently got married and don't know if it would be a problem to drop the middle name and hyphen my last name on my SS card.

      You can't drop your middle name when changing your name through marriage.

      Would I still be able to apply for his passport and not have problems in showing proof I'm him mother?

      Yes, that shouldn't be a problem.

      I live in Texas. Also is it possible to hyphen my last name on my SS and license?

      Yes, you can hyphenate on your SS card and driver's license.

      Reply
  16. John

    Hi! I am currently on the process of changin my name through court order. I have my SSA card on my old name. And will plan to change my name on it after the court will release court order. I don't have yet a state id nor a drivers' license. Granting that my petition for change of name is approved and then my name on SS is also changed, what documents will I present to DMV to apply for state id or DL on my NEW NAME? I have with me my foreign passport and Green card under my old name. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi John. Your court order will suffice. You may also be asked to provide an identity document under your old name, so your passport could be used.

      Reply
      1. John

        So, it is okay that i don't have a record of my old name at DMV? When I apply for state ID, I would tell the officer that I underwent change of name and I want my state ID ( 1st time application) under my new name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          When I apply for state ID, I would tell the officer that I underwent change of name and I want my state ID ( 1st time application) under my new name?

          Yes, although it's possible they may request to see an identity document under your old name.

          Reply
          1. John

            Yes. I have my foreign passport and Green card with me under my old name. Since it would take a long time before the USCIS can change my name on my green card, I would like to have a govt issued ID, in this case, State ID, under my new name.

  17. M

    Hi, I am at a loss for what to do and need some advice. I just got married last month and want to hyphenate my spouse's last name with mine. However, my maiden name was already hyphenated (mother's name-father's name). I went to SSA yesterday with my application and marriage certificate, and I was told that they could not process the change as my new last name is too many characters to fit. This seems incredibly unfair, I don't see why there should be any restrictions on what my name can be. I do not want to abbreviate anything or add any part of my last name to my middle name. Is there anything I can do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi M. There's not much you can do other than appealing to someone higher up. This is a software and storage limitation.

      Reply
  18. Linda

    How long do I have after I get married to change my name on my ss card to update my last name? Trying to get off work to do so?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How long do I have after I get married to change my name on my ss card to update my last name?

      There is no time limit.

      Reply
  19. Tiffany

    Hi,

    Is there a specific time frame that I have to report the name change to SSA from the day I get married? For example, if I get married and change my last name in July, can I wait till October or November to change my name with the SSA?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a specific time frame that I have to report the name change to SSA from the day I get married?

      There is no reporting time frame. Change your name when it's most convenient for you.

      Reply
  20. Leslie

    It says you must go to your “local office” when I do the lookup it pulls up one located in my county. However, I know there are two other offices closer to my home. The closest is across state lines. Does it matter which office I go into?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I know there are two other offices closer to my home. The closest is across state lines. Does it matter which office I go into?

      It doesn't matter which office you go to.

      Reply
  21. Ira

    Hey, I know u r probably tired of time frame questions. lol I see there isn't a time frame for name change with SS but is there a time frame to change it at Ga DMV. I got married almost 5 yrs ago n plan on goin to SS next week.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ira. The Georgia DMV requires notification of name changes within 60 days.

      Reply
  22. Wendy

    Hi. I’m a permanent resident holding a ten year greencard. I recently got divorced and I petitioned for my name change which was approved and mentioned on the divorce decree.

    I already had my ssn, driver’s license, bank accounts, etc changed back to my maiden name except my greencard. I am eligible for citizenship on February 2019 since I will meet the 5year rule by May 2019.

    Should I change my greencard name now using form I-90 and pay almost $500 or should I just wait until I apply fof citizenship next year? I called an immigration office and was advised to wait for naturalization for my name change and that all my other id’s can be changed since I have a divorce decree stating that I can change it.

    Would there be any issues if I wait to change ng greencard name until I apply for naturalization? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Wendy. You can wait to make the change later. It shouldn't give you any trouble.

      Reply
  23. Virginia

    Hi! I need to get a replacement for my Social Security card, but I can't recall if it's in my maiden name or my married name (well, I'm divorced now, but that's beside the point I think). Can I find out online if my Social Security card is in my maiden name or married name?

    Also, I have just begun a part time position at a church and the secretary insists she must make a copy of my Social Security card. I thought I could have her make a copy of my drivers license and other documents in its place (birth certificate, utility bill with my name on it, perhaps paystub from my full-time job, etc.). I work full-time at a college and would have documentation there as well. Is she correct, MUST I have my Social Security card? Sorry this is so long and thank you for your assistance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I need to get a replacement for my Social Security card, but I can't recall if it's in my maiden name or my married name

      You can phone or visit a local social security office to inquire.

      Is she correct, MUST I have my Social Security card?

      This is up to the lady at your church. Perhaps she'll accept another document containing your social security number, such as a pay stub or tax return?

      Reply
  24. Tessa

    Hi! I got divorced a year ago and want to change all documents. I still have my maiden name SS Card. Can I use that, as I'm going back to my maiden name or do I need to get a new SS Card with my maiden name on it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I still have my maiden name SS Card. Can I use that, as I'm going back to my maiden name or do I need to get a new SS Card with my maiden name on it?

      I'm assuming your social security card history went from maiden name to married name, but you still have an old card in your maiden name. In that case, you still need to notify the SSA of your intention to return to your maiden name so that their records may be updated.

      Reply
  25. Catherine

    Is it normal for the SS office to take your original SS card when applying for a name change? I now have no SS card (I see here I could have got a temporary one but this was not offered to me and I did not know this until now) until the new one comes in the mail and the office now has my original document and did not let me know if they would be shredding this document. Is this normal or do I have a reason to be concerned?

    Reply
  26. tiffany davis

    hi i just got married april 7,2018 and i wont to know when i get to the social security office to change my last name and get a new social secuirty card i was told by family and friends thats i will get a new social security number

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tiffany. Your social security number will stay the same.

      Reply
  27. Jane

    Hello Valera,

    My SS card has my first and middle name backward like Doe Jane Teresa Smith and it should be Jane Doe Teresa Smith. I have 2 middle names (Doe Teresa). I went to the SSA office and got my name corrected but never received it in the mail.

    So I went back to the office and the service agent James said the Department of Homeland Security has me under a different name (Doe Doe Teresa Smith), which completely left out my first name (Jane). My green card has my name correct by the way. He suggested that I visit DHS to have my name corrected there, then come back to SSA because as it stands the name doesn't match the DHS database so he couldn't help me. At my first visit, service agent Rose also had difficulty matching my name with DHS, she just didn't say what name but was able to figure it out together with her colleague. Unfortunately I never got the replacement in the mail.

    I was under the assumption that my second visit to SSA they would resend the replacement after seeing all the proof of identity (my green card, foreign immigration passport, DL all have my in the correct order). Not sure why James wanted me to go to DHS first. Do you think it is neccessary because Rose was able to correct my name without having me go to DHS.

    I will come back to SSA office next week but wanted to hear your thought. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. If you never got your updated card back, it's not clear that it was processed or even reached its destination. If there was a problem with your application, you would have gotten a letter about it. You can phone the SSA to determine if your paperwork arrived and its status.

      Reply
      1. Jane

        Hi Valera,

        I went back to the SSA office and got my updated card in the mail a couple days ago. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, including a 20-minute wait time. I didn't have to go to DHS as suggested by the last officer. I guess it was a matter of getting someone who knows what they are doing.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, including a 20-minute wait time.

          I'm glad you were finally able to get your card.

          Reply
  28. Courtney

    Hello!
    I just left he SSA after changing my name and realized I dropped my last name but I really wanted to keep it!

    I am now at the DMV and they told me they can put my old last name as my middle name if that’s what I wanted.

    I am suppose to receive a new social next week.

    Do you know if I can change my name on my social Tom or would I have to wait for the incorrect name to be mailed to me then go back to the SSA and change again?!?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Courtney. Since you've already changed it, you'll have to obtain a court order to change it again.

      Reply
  29. Gabrielle

    Hi!
    I went to the DMV to replace my DL after my wallet was stolen last month. I've used one name on my DL and bank accounts, school papers, etc my whole life, but that name is not what's on my Birth Cert. Mom never liked the name my father gave me, and I use my stepfathers surname. Now that they're introducing the Real ID thing, I can't get my replacement until I adjust my SS card. Do you know what kind of documents I'll need to provide? Any tips? I just wanna make this as smooth as possible.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gabrielle. In order to get your name changed with the SSA you'll need a document that authorizes the change, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order. Of course, you'll also need one or more identity documents to go along with it.

      Reply
  30. Myrika Faulk

    Do a person get a different social security number when they change their name for religious reasons? For example Moor?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do a person get a different social security number when they change their name for religious reasons?

      Your social security number will stay the same when you change your name.

      Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Helen. The SSA charges no fee. The DMV may or may not charge a renewal/reissue fee. The passport office (State Department) may or may not charge a fee depending on your passport age. Permanent resident card through USCIS has a $455 filing fee with a potential $85 biometric fee tacked on.

      Reply
  31. Ben McLeskey

    My wife and I were married a little over a year ago, and are currently expecting our first child.

    We didn't see a need to rush to change her name when we were first married, but with the baby on the way she'd like to change her last name to mine. Unfortunately her schedule sync's up perfectly with the local SSA office and she works across town so it's more of an issue for her to get there. I, on the other hand, drive by the office twice a day and work about 5 minutes away.

    Is there any way that I can drop off all of her information and any necessary forms and get her temporary card, or does she need to be there?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way that I can drop off all of her information and any necessary forms and get her temporary card, or does she need to be there?

      She'd have to be there to get a temporary card.

      Reply
  32. Catherine

    I have legally changed my last name back to my maiden name, 23 years after my divorce, so I did it through the courts. I spent half a day at my local SSA office and the clerk told me it would take a week to 10 days to get the actual card in the mail. It'll be 3 weeks in a couple days and I'm still waiting. The beginning of this blog says it can take 2-6 weeks, but another part of the blog says that if you do it in person at the local SSA office, you should receive your card in about a week. Which is it? I'm starting to get a little concerned. My driver's license and bank info have been updated, but I can't change my name at work because they need the actual SS card,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Catherine. Six weeks is at the far end. In most cases, turnaround time is 7-14 days. At this point, you may want to call your local SSA office to determine the status of your application and when your new social security card was mailed out to you.

      Reply
  33. Barbara Gianni

    Hello i am asking about my child. I had put an extra last name ( 2 last names ) and was able to change her birth certificate but now am having trouble doing her social. And I had started a process for her passport and was wondering does her number change her social number? Or can i still u use it and wait for a new one wit her correct last name ? Or when taking off that last name change her whole social security #?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Barbara. Your child's social security number will not change when you change her last name.

      Reply
  34. Ericka

    Hi, I have gone to SSA to change my last name to husband's last name but failed to hypenated my maiden name and his last name on the ss card Is it possible to have them change it again to reflect both my maiden name and his last name or would it cause problems if I left it and just hyphenated on everything else?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to have them change it again to reflect both my maiden name and his last name

      You'll need to present a court order for it to be changed again.

      or would it cause problems if I left it and just hyphenated on everything else?

      You'd have a name mismatch, which could cause problems down the road. You may have trouble getting your driver's license or state-issued ID under a name that doesn't match the SSA's records.

      Reply
  35. Marie

    Hi! I am changing my last name in person (was just married). I am always worried that paperwork gets lost, and this might seem like a silly question! I have the certified copy of the marriage certificate to bring to the office in person. Do they hold onto it until the official card is mailed out, or will they look at it and give it right back to me? If they hold onto it, I want to go get another official copy before letting go of that one. That's what I would have done if mailing it in. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do they hold onto it until the official card is mailed out, or will they look at it and give it right back to me?

      They'll give it back to you before you leave.

      Reply
  36. Ms mmae

    I was married (or so I thought) in 2012. Turns out my "husband" never dropped off the paperwork and the marriage certificate was never signed. Not realizing this, I was somehow still able to use this marriage certificate at the DOL in New Mexico to change my name to my husband's last name.

    Fast forward six years later we are now separated and in the process of trying to get a divorce I find out that we were never legally married. Now the state wants a divorce record which there is not one because there was no legal marriage.

    My social security card was also never changed and still holds my maiden name. So my social security card has my maiden name. My driver's license has my non-husband's last name. It seems like I'm stuck. I have no divorce certificate. How can I either: go back to my maiden name, or change my social security card to match my driver's license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Fast forward six years later we are now separated and in the process of trying to get a divorce I find out that we were never legally married.

      Are you certain of this? Have you confirmed with the county clerk's office that no record of your marriage exists?

      Typically the officiant returns the marriage license for recording, but New Mexico law does allow the couple to do so as well.

      It seems like I'm stuck. I have no divorce certificate.

      In cases where a marriage was never properly recorded, there are procedures in place to recognize and register them after the fact. It usually comes in the form of an affidavit and sometimes witness statements.

      In your case, you may need to contact the county clerk that issued your marriage license for guidance or seek the advice of an attorney to help you navigate through your predicament.

      How can I either: go back to my maiden name, or change my social security card to match my driver's license?

      You have to decide which name you want to go with. The SSA would need a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name there, but no such document exists. Whatever "certificate" you have in your possession doesn't appear to be certified.

      Reply
  37. Kelly

    I am getting married in the UK, but we live in the US. We are being issued a marriage certificate, but do I need to do anything extra for it to be recognized in the states? We already had to apply for our marriage license in the UK at the home security office, where our application is being posted for 28 days. Is there anything I need to do differently, other than bring my marriage certificate, my passport (that holds my marriage-visitor visa), and driver's license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am getting married in the UK, but we live in the US. We are being issued a marriage certificate, but do I need to do anything extra for it to be recognized in the states?

      No.

      Is there anything I need to do differently, other than bring my marriage certificate, my passport (that holds my marriage-visitor visa), and driver's license?

      Bring it where? For what purpose?

      Reply
  38. Amairani

    Hello, I got married in July and took my husbands last name due to me being nervous, initially I wanted to add his last name and keep my own. Is my name legally changed? Or can I keep my last name on my documents for example SS, drivers lisence, etc. Or would I have to change it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is my name legally changed? Or can I keep my last name on my documents for example SS, drivers lisence, etc.

      If you haven't changed your name on any official document, then your name hasn't legally changed.

      Or would I have to change it?

      You don't have to change anything.

      Reply
  39. Sydney

    Hi so I have a question!
    I changed my name almost a month ago and I still haven’t gotten my card in yet. What should I do? Keep waiting or go apply again? 😞😞😞

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sydney. You can contact your local office to get an update on the status of your application. You'll want to try this before resubmitting.

      Reply
  40. Deborah

    I filled out the SSN form for a new card with my maiden name hyphenated with my wife's last name. Mine came back with a space, hers came back with a hyphen. When i called they said they don't do hyphens, but clearly they do. So now my HR department says it has to have the hyphen if that is how i want my pay check to be paid and the DMV, will they accept it??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Deborah. It's possible two different clerks processed it. You can go to your local office and ask for a correction.

      Reply
  41. Shannon

    hi I was married about 3 weeks ago. I applied for myHi I was married about 3 weeks ago. I applied for my new social security card on July 30th. It's now August The 12 and I still haven't received my new card. I applied in person and all they gave me was a letter saying I replied. I desperately need new my new card for work I started a new job and I can't get paid until I have it. I called Social Security office and they said they no longer issue temporary cards this is true?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I applied for my new social security card on July 30th. It's now August The 12 and I still haven't received my new card.

      It usually takes no longer than 14 days.

      I desperately need new my new card for work I started a new job and I can't get paid until I have it.

      If your employer needs to verify your name and social security number, they can query the social security number verification service instead of waiting on your card.

      I called Social Security office and they said they no longer issue temporary cards this is true?

      Yes, it's true. You'll be given a receipt. You can contact the phone number on your receipt to get a status update on your application.

      Reply
  42. Valerie

    Hello,
    I got married in June and applied for my new card a couple of weeks later. I received the new card but never got a receipt. My job is saying they need a letter saying my name has been changed. How can I get this letter and why can’t they use my new card. I live in Georgia but got married in Pennsylvania if that matters.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My job is saying they need a letter saying my name has been changed. How can I get this letter

      You can request a receipt from your local SSA office.

      and why can’t they use my new card.

      Are they willing to accept the card along with additional supporting data, such as an identity document in your old name, one in your new name, and a certified copy of your marriage certificate?

      Reply
  43. Samantha

    Hello!

    First, thank you for writing a great article that helps with the name change process.

    I have a silly question, am I required to fill out 10A & 10B on the form that requests parents' name & social security #? Or is this only required for minors?

    Second question, is there any way to expedite this process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have a silly question, am I required to fill out 10A & 10B on the form that requests parents' name & social security #? Or is this only required for minors?

      Parental information is required for minors, but there's no harm in adults filling it out. If an adult applicant leaves it blank, it wouldn't prevent the application from being processed.

      Second question, is there any way to expedite this process?

      You could submit your name change in person instead of doing it by mail. Or mail out your forms with the fastest possible shipping. Considering there are many local SSA offices, expedited shipping is probably unnecessary and a waste of money.

      Reply
  44. Kate

    I went to gather my documents and have realized I lost my original SS card in a move. Will I need to request a new copy of my original card before I go in for a corrected one after marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I need to request a new copy of my original card before I go in for a corrected one after marriage?

      No.

      Reply
  45. Casey

    Hi! I got married last month and am applying to my husband’s health insurance and soon the SSA/DMC. As i was gathering the info for the health insurance, i noticed that while the certified copy of my married license (signed/stamped/certified) is correct in all name spelling, on my marriage “record,” my full name (first, middle, last maiden), is spelled correctly, the additional box that specifies my “maiden name” is spelled incorrectly – there is an additional letter at the end of the name that does not belong. Since my license and the first box that specifies my full name match and are correct, will I have issues at the SSA office because of the other “maiden name” box?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Casey. What's the difference between the certified copy of your marriage license and marriage record? The terms license, certificate, and record represent different things in different states. If you could specify the state your marriage took place, we could focus on the proper document.

      Having said all that, if there's an error on your marriage license/certificate/record, you can request a correction and amendment from the office that recorded it. They should issue you a corrected version free of charge.

      Reply
      1. Casey

        Hi Valera. We were married in PA. When I picked up my certified copy, I received two documents: one was a photocopy of the certificate that my officiant sent in to Philadelphia once he married us. My name is correct there. Below the copy is a certified note from the county office. The second document was a copy of the Marriage Record on file with philadelphia, with our addresses/parental info/jobs/etc., which my name is spelled correctly in one place (full name which appears on the first certified document), and then my maiden name is incorrect in a different box.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Casey. You'll want to contact the Clerk of the Orphan's Court to request a typographical correction of your record.

          Reply
  46. Leilah

    I got married in Hawaii and was issued a temporary marriage certificate. I went in to our local SS office and was told I need to wait until the original marriage certificate comes in. Is this true? I was able to get my name changed on my driver's license with the temporary certificate. I need to get everything done within 30 days of my marriage date and I don't see that happening if I have to wait up to 30 days for my original marriage certificate to come in. Please advise..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I went in to our local SS office and was told I need to wait until the original marriage certificate comes in. Is this true?

      Yes, you'll have to wait for the final certificate.

      I need to get everything done within 30 days of my marriage date and I don't see that happening if I have to wait up to 30 days for my original marriage certificate to come in.

      What's the 30-day countdown based on?

      Reply
  47. Annette

    My ss card is in my maiden name and I just never changed it. My license is due in January and was hoping to get the new fed id. My ss card is laminated so they won’t take it. Do I request a new card in my maiden or married name? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I request a new card in my maiden or married name?

      The social security form (SS-5) you use is the same whether you're looking to update your name or just to get a replacement card with the same name. If you want your name to stay as-is, then don't change the "name to be shown on card" when you fill out the form.

      Reply
  48. Sarah

    Not sure if this has already been addressed. I got married June 2017, and on our marriage license I opted to change my last name to my husbands. It was a decision made in haste, as I did not realize I had to change my name immediately, so was not really ready to make such a huge decision!

    Since then, I have not actually gone through the process of doing a name change social security office, DMV, etc. as I regret the decision of having written that I will drop my maiden name and take on my husbands.

    I would like to keep my maiden name as well as take on my husbands name.

    Will the social security office/DMV allow me to do so even though on my marriage license/certificate it states I intend to change my last name to only his?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will the social security office/DMV allow me to do so even though on my marriage license/certificate it states I intend to change my last name to only his?

      Yes, they'll allow it. Unless you bring it up, they wouldn't be aware of what's on your marriage license anyway.

      Name change is non-binding, regardless of what's on your license. People change their minds all the time, and it's not a big deal if you choose not to change your name later on.

      Reply
  49. Adaire Pomeroy

    I live in PA and just got married can I just go to the SS Administration office and fill out a form there to get a new SS card with my new last name. With my marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I just go to the SS Administration office and fill out a form there to get a new SS card with my new last name. With my marriage certificate

      Yes, of course.

      Reply
  50. Esther

    Hi,
    I was just at both the DMV and SS office twice (each) today. First of all, I didn't change my SS card when I got married. I waited much too long.

    The DMV gave me an override to change my last name on the ID I had at the time but now my ID has expired (since 2017) and I need to renew it. But I can't. Because my SS card was never changed and they can no longer override.

    I went to SS building and they can't change my card because I don't have a valid ID. And that's when the back and forth thing happened.

    I was told that I need to have documentation (ID/Record of "existence"), now she tells me that I need two forms with both my maiden name and married name. She also told me to actually go to the doctor so that I have a record on file.

    Um…no. I don't have health care and don't plan on spending money out of pocket just so I can prove to the government that I exist. Is there anything that I can do to get them moving along on my SS card? She wasn't even clear on what I should do to retrieve these impossible documents. Any advice would be helpful!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Esther. Did you present a certified copy of your marriage certificate to the clerk? Are you able to provide any identity document, such as a driver's license, state ID card, or passport? Even if expired? If you don't have any of those, could you produce a school, employee, health, or military ID card?

      Reply
  51. Christy Martin

    I want to change my full name; last, frist, and middle when I get married. Is this possible in NM (New Mexico). How would apply for a license ( with current name or the new name I want to change to).

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my full name; last, frist, and middle when I get married. Is this possible in NM (New Mexico).

      You would have to petition the court to change your full name.

      How would apply for a license ( with current name or the new name I want to change to).

      The New Mexico marriage license application will only ask you for your current, legal name and not what you might change to.

      Reply
  52. Laura

    When you sign your ss name change application, do you sign with the new name or your birth name?

    Reply
  53. Naomi Guevara

    Hello!
    My husband had two last names. When we were married I took one and he planned on dropping the last name so that we both had matching names. I was initially told no that he couldn’t do that he’d have to go to court and apply for a legal name change but with a little persistence and someone who actually dug deeper to give me a clear reason as to why he couldn’t drop that second last name ….. a manager was able to find that it was allowed. It was approved, we both got our cards, everything’s good.

    We take those to the dmv. They deny his request to update his name stating that the marriage certificate name doesn’t match the NEW social so it can’t be done. (But they just did mine moments before) my new social didn’t match my maiden name on that certificate either, so what gives?? I’m so frustrated. This has been such a battle.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Naomi. Which state did the marriage take place in and which state are you a resident of?

      Reply
  54. Sandra L Zawrotny

    I sent all my belongings in to change my name after marriage and i got my new social quite quickly, but not any of my documents. I'm really worried

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sandra. Supporting identity documents you send in with your forms should be returned to you along with your new card. You may have to phone or mail the SSA to request an inquiry.

      Reply
  55. Kristy-Lee

    I am changing name on SS card after marriage. Other than the marriage certificate to send in do they also require the application for marriage license where it states designated surname?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Other than the marriage certificate to send in do they also require the application for marriage license where it states designated surname?

      No, just the certificate.

      Reply
  56. Iz

    I got married in 2013 but due to only having a green card SS office said I had to use both my new last name and maiden name on my new ss card. Now that Im a citizen do I need to keep my maiden name? Name is way too long and would only like to keep one last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Iz. You don't have to keep your maiden name, but you would have to get a court order to formally drop it.

      Reply
  57. Jen

    Hi will my temporary certificate of marriage be accepted since I'm still waiting for the certified copy to come in the mail? The temporary one does not expire until 11/29/2018

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi will my temporary certificate of marriage be accepted since I'm still waiting for the certified copy to come in the mail?

      No, the temporary certificate wouldn't work. You'll have to wait for the certified copy to arrive.

      Reply
  58. Patty

    I just recently got married. I need to do a name change on my social security card. I live in one state but border another. Its closer to go to the other state vs the one I live in. Can I go to any social security office in any state or do I need to go to the one I live in?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I go to any social security office in any state or do I need to go to the one I live in?

      You can go to any office.

      Reply
  59. Victoria

    Hello, I got divorced in September 2014 and requested the judge for my maiden name back. Come to find out I never got the decree to have my name changed back so I guess he forgot or something and I went to the SSA and changed my name with my Divorce documents back to my maiden name but when I went to the DMV, I showed them my new ssc and they said I needed the court order for name change. I don’t feel that I should pay the name change fee due to the circumstances but I do understand it’s been years now. How can I have the judge amend this so that I can smoothly change my name back with no fee?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don’t feel that I should pay the name change fee due to the circumstances but I do understand it’s been years now. How can I have the judge amend this so that I can smoothly change my name back with no fee?

      You can get in touch with the court and request a corrected divorce decree. They'll explain the procedure.

      Reply
      1. Victoria

        My divorce was done in Broward County and I’m currently in Hillsborough County (4 hours away). The court always redirects family law cases to the website where I cannot find the information I’m looking for and there is no option to speak to a representative. Can I contact the assistant of the judge (who’s number I found on the courts website) or who can I seek to speak to?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Can I contact the assistant of the judge (who’s number I found on the courts website) or who can I seek to speak to?

          You can try. You can also try the clerk of the courts of Broward County.

          Reply
  60. Kateryna

    On my SSN I have my married name and my maiden name, I want to leave only my married name. Do I need to do court order and go through the whole process of court hearing ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to do court order and go through the whole process of court hearing ?

      Yes, changing it again requires a court order.

      Reply
  61. Maria Milford

    If I did not receive a temporary card (just a receipt), can I go to the DMV & still get my new license? Or do I need to wait until I get the new SS card in the mail? I've heard that you're supposed to get the new license within 10 days of changing your name at the SS office, but also that it takes about 10 days for the new card to come in…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maria. You don't need your updated social security card in hand to change your name with the DMV. If you changed your name at a local social security office, it's worth waiting a day before going to the DMV to replace your driver's license. This day wait allows time for the SSA database to refresh. If the DMV decides to query their database for your name change, it'll see the change.

      Reply
  62. Deb

    Hi,
    I was previously married and divorced. Remarried in 2013 and changed my name at that time. I would like to change my name to be a hyphenated version of my previous and current names. Is this possible without a court order? I inquired about a court order and that requires you to change your birth certificate. That is stupid. My name at birth was my name at birth, I am not changing that.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to change my name to be a hyphenated version of my previous and current names. Is this possible without a court order?

      A court order would be required to hyphenate your current and previously married surname.

      Reply
  63. Nicole Daniel

    I got married and changed my name at the SSA office and have the receipt with my new name on it and I can use that to get a new ID, however my employer won't use that receipt? That doesn't make sense if I can get a legal ID but my employer cant change my name??? Is this correct

    Reply
    1. Valera

      however my employer won't use that receipt? That doesn't make sense if I can get a legal ID but my employer cant change my name??? Is this correct

      This is up to your employer. It could also be up to local, state, or federal regulations your employer must abide by. They may simply require your physical social security card reflecting your updated name.

      Reply
  64. Jennifer

    Hi! I just got married in June 2018 and need to go through the process of changing my name. I want to take my maiden name and make it my middle name and take my husbands last name. Is this something I can do by filling out the application and going to the SSA office in person?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. For most states, dropping your middle name for your maiden name is possible. Take a look at the end of the maiden to middle article for a list of states where it's problematic.

      Reply
  65. Laura

    Hi,
    I recently got married and need to change my name. As much as I would love to go down to the SSA office, their hours are not convenient for me due to my work schedule. I plan to mail in docs but I’m concerned about the identity portion. My passport is expired and I really have no idea what I can send in. Help!?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My passport is expired and I really have no idea what I can send in.

      Other identity documents are accepted, such as a state-issued ID card or driver's license. If neither is available or you cannot part with them, you'll need to provide alternative ID, such as a school ID, employee ID, or health insurance card. If you have none of those, you'll have to contact your local office to determine what else they'll accept.

      Reply
  66. Karen

    I was married in 1988. Everything minus my ss is in my married name..passport and DL. The information stated that if it's been more than 2 years I need documents proving my maiden name? Beside the marriage record and my tax returns what else would I need?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Beside the marriage record and my tax returns what else would I need?

      Show an identity document that's in your old name.

      Reply
  67. Lin

    I changed my name on my DL when I got married however never changed my passport or social security card. I am now going through a divorce, however paper work is not finished yet. I need to renew my passport. Do I have to file for name change or can I renew under my maiden name, as I only changed my name on driver's license? Same goes for name change on my license, what documentation do I need to provide for that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to file for name change or can I renew under my maiden name, as I only changed my name on driver's license?

      You can renew under your maiden name.

      Same goes for name change on my license, what documentation do I need to provide for that?

      Either a certified copy of your eventual divorce decree that contains a line restoring your maiden name or a court order.

      Reply
  68. Bekka

    Hi Valera,

    I haven't seen this particular question in the previous comments, so I'll go ahead and post it.

    I was married in VA in 1994. I immediately went to Social Security with my marriage cert and adopted my husband's name, moving my maiden name to my middle name. No problem. I changed all my documents and have used my married name for 24 years.

    Fast-forward to 2018, and I'm living in MA wanting to change my legal name. My VA marriage certificate has my maiden name, and of course my husband's name. There is no statement of my name after marriage. However, Mass marriage licenses have a line for stating post-marriage last name, which is the only legal document they say they can accept.

    The Massachusetts court will not recognize my married name as legal, since they believe a Social Security card is no proof of a legal name. They tell me that by their understanding, my actual legal name is still my birth name. Is there a document I can have certified that states that my 1994 name change at SS was legally binding?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My VA marriage certificate has my maiden name, and of course my husband's name. There is no statement of my name after marriage.

      Not unusual, as Virginia marriage license applications don't ask for new names after marriage. Massachusetts does ask for this.

      Is there a document I can have certified that states that my 1994 name change at SS was legally binding?

      Your marriage certificate is meant to provide proof of your authority to change your name. Did you present a certified copy of your certificate to the agent you spoke with?

      Reply
  69. Johanna Venturoli

    Hi, I recently got married and requested on the marriage license to have my husband's last name added onto mine. However, there was a misunderstanding and the marriage certificate has my last name as my middle name and my husband's last name as my last name. What do I do? Can I just ignore the name on the marriage license and go back to my original name if I don't process a change with SSN and DMV? In other words, I can just pretend I didn't ask for my name to be changed since I'm not planning to change it with DMV and the social security administration?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Johanna.

      1) If the typo is not your fault, you can request a correction and amendment.
      2) Correction or no correction, you are not obligated to change your name with the SSA or DMV.

      So, yes, you can ignore what's on your certificate and your name will stay the same.

      Reply
  70. Nayera

    My parents got married in NJ back in 84. My mom went by her married name back then but never actually got to legally changing it. Her SSN was issued in her married name, but her current passport is in her legal maiden name. Is it possible to fix her SSN to match her maiden name on the passport?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to fix her SSN to match her maiden name on the passport?

      Your mom would have to get a court order. At this point, only the passport could be changed to match her married name.

      Reply
  71. Allie Mcmillin

    I applied for a new card on sept 21st and it’s around October 7th now. I have yet to receive my card which I requested because of a name change. Should I call or just wait it out?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Allie. It wouldn't hurt to call. Processing should take between one and two weeks, which has passed.

      Reply
      1. Allie Mcmillin

        I went there in person with my husband and it was a quick in and out, and it should have went through so I’m concerned that it did not even though they gave me a reciept that it did. Could it have gotten lost in the mail perhaps? It’s social security card they should something a little bit more reliable than the us mail. I’m highly worried about someone out there having my card cause it never got to me so where the heck is it?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Allie. It's possible for any piece of mail to be lost, accidentally destroyed, or delivered to the wrong address. You'll have to contact the SSA to determine the status of your paperwork and when your card was sent out. If delivery tracking was available, was it shown as delivered? If it was marked delivered, then an investigation with the delivery service may have to be initiated.

          Reply
          1. Allie Mcmillin

            They have tracking on your card? Because I personally don’t have any type of tracking but if they can tell me then I’d love to know. Hmm I’ll have to call tomorrow with today being the holiday. Thank you so much for the help. Even if an investigation has to be initiated then well I assume I have to go ahead and try to re get a new card. Thanks though!

          2. Valera

            They have tracking on your card?

            To be clear, I'm not referring to a tracking device embedded within your card but mail delivery tracking, such as a USPS tracking code.

            Even if an investigation has to be initiated then well I assume I have to go ahead and try to re get a new card.

            For mail marked as successfully delivered, the mail carrier may have to retrace his or her steps. Lost mail can also be mail delivered to the wrong address. In such cases, you'd hope the wrong recipient will drop it back in the mailbox.

            If all else fails, you'll have to be reissued a new card, but you'll want to double-check to confirm the return address that's on file is correct.

    1. Valera

      Hi Taylor. The Social Security Administration does not charge a fee to change your name with them. Are you referring to something else? Passport? Court petition?

      Reply
  72. Tay

    How long would the process be if I change my name through the online option?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tay. You should receive your card 7 to 14 days after your forms have been processed.

      Reply
  73. Elysse

    Hi! When you apply change your name on your social security card, is your driver's license still valid with your maiden name until you go to the DMV? I just got married and I am taking a standardized test in a two weeks registered under my maiden name (since that is the name on my diploma) and need a valid government ID, but I want to get the process started with the SSA in the meantime if possible.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elysse. Yes, your driver's license is still valid. However, some states stipulate that your driver's license should be updated within X days of updating your social security card. The penalty for not doing so ranges from the unknown and nonexistent to a minor penalty fee.

      Reply
  74. Patricia

    I just got married end of October and need to change my last name on my card. Which is the best way to do so and exactly what documents do I need? Do I need my social security card to change my name on driver's license? I'm a little confused, I know I need marriage certificate to bring to social security office but not sure what else. How do I get the form to complete name change for social security

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Patricia. You don't need to bring your social security card. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate and photo ID when applying. The form is SS-5, which is available online or can be picked up in office. After you finish with your social security card, wait about 24 hours before going to the DMV to give the SSA database sufficient time to refresh.

      Reply
  75. Jess

    i went in with my ceritified divorce papers. Changed my name and address… never received the card in the mail. I think it was because my name wasn’t on the mailbox because the same thing happened with my license…

    What can I do to get a new one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jess. You'll have to contact the office and have them send you out a new card.

      Reply
  76. Katlyn

    If I want to mail in my social security application to change my name after marriage, can I just send a copy of my passport or do I have to actually send them my passport and drivers license? I know this seems like a dumb question, but it’s not very clear anywhere.

    Reply
  77. Edita

    Hello, I am applying for a name change on my ssc online and I need to send one form of identification plus proof of U.S. citizenship. I already have my sscard. My question is: since I have to submit original documents or notarized copies how will you accept copy of my driving license. I hope they don't expect to send in the envelope my only ID with my married name… Also I do have a Certificate of Citizenship but they gave me one and I don't have any notarized copies…. How can I get them? Thank you for your answer

    Reply
    1. Valera

      since I have to submit original documents or notarized copies how will you accept copy of my driving license.

      Notarized copies will only be accepted if they're certified.

      I hope they don't expect to send in the envelope my only ID with my married name…

      If you don't want to send in your ID, you can choose another credential, such as a passport or state-issued ID card. If you're unable to produce those, they'll ask for something else, such as a school or employee ID card or health insurance card.

      You could also submit your paperwork in a local office where you will only have to show your ID.

      Also I do have a Certificate of Citizenship but they gave me one and I don't have any notarized copies…. How can I get them?

      If you have the original you can present that. If need be, you can also obtain a certified copy of your certificate of naturalization.

      Reply

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