Social Security Name Change: A Complete Guide

Social Security Card

You can legally change the name on your social security card after marriage, divorce, or court order through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Getting a new social security card paves the way for other name changes, such as your driver's license and passport.

Your social security number (SSN) will stay the same after changing your name.

Name change requirements

Name change pillars of proof

You can change the name on your social security card by completing the SS-5 application and providing:

  1. Proof of name change
  2. Proof of age
  3. Proof of identity
  4. Proof of citizenship or lawful immigrant status

Any evidence you offer—ID, records, certificates—must be original or certified copies. Photocopies, notarized copies, photos, and receipts are unacceptable.

Does this mean you're obliged to mail your driver's license and unearth your birth certificate? Maybe not. You may only have to satisfy the first condition (explained later).

SSA name change limits. Letters, spaces, hyphens, apostrophes, and suffixes allowed. No titles, nicknames, or abbreviations.

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

Your name may only contain letters, spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes. Suffixes are okay. Omit your personal title, such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Esq., Sister, or Father.

Don't use a nickname or abbreviation, such as Liz for Elizabeth or Deb for Deborah, unless it's your actual legal name.

SS-5 social security name change form

SS-5 Form, Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Card

Use Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) to:

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

The form will ask you to spell out your:

  • Birth name
  • Current name
  • Other names used
  • New name to be shown on card
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Citizenship
  • Parents' names
  • Parents' social security numbers
  • Daytime phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Today's date
  • Signature

Sign your new name on the application. Make it legible. And no initials. You can omit your parent's social security number if you're 18 years old or older.

You can fill out the social security form using our name change kit. Be prepared to download, print, sign, and mail your auto-filled PDF form.

Proof of name change

Proof of name change

There are four unique name change events:

  1. Marriage
  2. Divorce
  3. Court order
  4. Naturalization

Proven by their respective name change documents:

  1. Marriage certificate
  2. Divorce decree
  3. Court order
  4. Certificate of naturalization

Let's unpack each event, starting with the most common…

Marriage name change

Marriage name change using your marriage certificate
Change your name after marriage via your marriage certificate.

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

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

The following map illustrates how most states (representing 70% of the U.S. population) won't ask that you pick out your new name when applying to get married.

U.S. map highlighting the twelve states whose marriage license application asks for your new married name
New name chosen on the marriage application in 13 states.

For the remaining 37 states and D.C., you can "derive" your new name in four ways:

  1. Full last name
  2. Partial last name
  3. Hyphenated last name
  4. Double-barreled last name

These rules apply to same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships too.

1. Full last name

Take your spouse's entire last name, as-is. This is the "traditional" approach.

2. Partial last name

Take one whole part of your spouse's hyphenated or space-separated last name. (Assuming such name exists.)

3. Hyphenated last name

Combine your and your spouse's last names with a hyphen (-), in either order.

4. Double-barreled last name

Join your and your spouse's last names, separated by a space, in either order. Space is mandatory; names can't be flush.

Married name change examples

The following exhibits your choices if your last name were Adams and spouse's Baker.

OptionNew last name
FullBaker
HyphenatedAdams-Baker
HyphenatedBaker-Adams
Double-barreledAdams Baker
Double-barreledBaker Adams

Here's an example using Adams and Baker-Smith

OptionNew last name
FullBaker-Smith
PartialBaker
PartialSmith
HyphenatedAdams-Baker-Smith
HyphenatedBaker-Smith-Adams
Double-barreledAdams Baker-Smith
Double-barreledBaker Smith-Adams

You can't change your first name through marriage; petition the court instead.

Divorce name change

Divorce name change using your divorce decree
Change your name after divorce via your divorce decree.

You can return to your maiden name using your divorce decree. Or any prior legal name. Men and women. Just ask the judge to include the written order.

If your decree has a name restoration order:

  • You can only return to that name.
  • It will be accepted by all government agencies.

If your decree is missing a name restoration order:

  • The SSA can restore your maiden name.
  • The SSA can restore any prior name on file.
  • It might be accepted by other government agencies.

Divorce name change rules apply to similar legal break-ups:

  • Annulment
  • Civil union dissolution
  • Domestic partnership dissolution

You can skip your divorce name change if you plan to switch it later after getting married again. This avoids a redundant, back-to-back name swap.

Court order name change

Court-petitioned name change using your court order

For a court-petitioned name change, you can only transition to the judge-approved name shown on your court order.

A court order is the most powerful name change instrument, permitting unbounded first, middle, and last name revisions. Reach for this tool if all else fails.

Naturalization name change

Naturalization name change using your certificate of naturalization

You can ask the court for a new name during naturalization, then use your certificate of naturalization as proof.

Proof of age

Proof of age

False assumptions on name change and birth certificates merits mentioning that you don't have to prove age to:

  • Change your name.
  • Obtain a duplicate card.
  • Replace a lost or stolen card.

But you must show evidence of age to:

  • Apply for your first card.
  • Correct your date of birth on file.
  • Get a brand new social security number.
  • Make up for forgetting your social security number.

You can confirm your age using a:

Proof of identity

Proof of identity

You must show one form of "primary" photo ID to change your name. If mailing identification alarms you, there may be a surprising workaround. Let's cover this rule first…

U.S. citizens, show your American:

  • Driver's license
  • State-issued ID card, or
  • Passport book or passport card

U.S. lawful immigrants, show your foreign passport and:

  • Green card
  • Arrival/departure record
  • Machine-readable immigrant visa, or
  • Employment authorization document (EAD)

Alternative, secondary ID

Secondary ID options, when primary ID is unavailable

You can show secondary ID if primary ID is unavailable. Unavailable means you can't "easily" access or replace it within ten business days.

The following table shows acceptable alternative IDs, which must contain your photograph, age, or date of birth:

DocumentU.S. citizensNon-citizensAge
U.S. military ID cardYesYesAll
U.S. official passportYesNoAll
U.S. diplomatic passportYesNoAll
U.S. certificate of citizenshipYesNoAll
U.S. certificate of naturalizationYesNoAll
U.S. Indian tribal cardYesNoAll
School record (current year)YesYesAll
Medical recordYesYesAll
Religious recordYesYesBirth to 17
Life insurance policyYesYes6+
Final adoption decreeYesYesBirth to 17
Employee ID card or badgeYesNo18+
Health insurance cardYesYesAll
Medicaid cardYesYesAll
Non-citizen state-issued ID cardNoYesAll
Non-citizen state-issued driver's licenseNoYesAll

The agency that issues your medical, religious, or school records must certify them. Insurance policies and medical cards must be current and active.

To reduce the chance of your paperwork returned asking for nonexistent primary ID, take preemptive action by attaching a note explaining your plight…

Please accept this secondary ID, as I cannot access or obtain primary evidence of ID within 10 business days.

Statement complying with SSA POMS RM 10210.420

Maybe you don't need ID

You may not need ID, use your name change document
You can avoid relinquishing your ID under key criteria.

It may be possible to use your name change document as ID. This offers the convenience of mailing your application without surrendering your driver's license, passport, etc.

This works by making sure your document:

  1. Is recently established
  2. Shows biographical information
  3. Matches your current name on file

Review the primary ID options if your name change document doesn't qualify as ID.

1. Is recently established

You've crossed the biggest hurdle if your name change event took place within the past two years. (It extends to four years if you're below the age of 18.)

There's no name change deadline. But waiting too long increases your burden—mailing ID and awaiting its return. Even then, alternative ID options exist.

2. Shows biographical information

Your name change document must—and should—show biographical data matching your current social security record:

  • Age
  • Date of birth, or
  • Parents' names (one or both)

Any of the above three details work, but nothing else.

3. Matches your current name on file

Your name change document must mention the name on your current social security card. So, were your name Jane Doe before changing, your document must show likewise.

Proof of citizenship

Proof of citizenship

In the unlikely event that the Social Security Administration is unaware of your U.S. citizenship, show your:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. birth certificate
  • KIC-class American Indian card
  • Consular report of birth abroad (CRBA), or
  • U.S. certificate of citizenship or naturalization

The bottom line is that you can skip this step if the SSA issued you a social security card in the past with your citizenship status marked as U.S. citizen.

Proof of lawful immigrant status

Proof of immigrant status

If you're a U.S. lawful immigrant (non-citizen), verify your immigration status with your:

  1. Foreign passport
  2. Work authorization (if applicable), and
  3. Unexpired U.S.-issued immigration document

Student visa holders (F-1 or M-1), show Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). If employed, show a pay stub or employer letter listing your:

  1. Job
  2. Hours
  3. Start date
  4. Supervisor's name
  5. Supervisor's phone number

Exchange visitor visa holders (J-1 or J-2), show Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status). If employed, your sponsor must write a letter that's:

  1. Signed
  2. On their letterhead
  3. Authorizing you to work

Submitting your paperwork

By mail or in person

You'd normally have a big decision to make after preparing your paperwork—submit your application by mail or in person? The in-person experience is was clear-cut:

  1. Visit your local social security office.
  2. Submit your paperwork for review and scanning.
  3. Retrieve your documents: identification, certificates, etc.
  4. Exit with your receipt of services rendered.
  5. Await your new card by mail.

Alas, you must now apply by mail since COVID-19's impact on social security has closed field offices to the public…

SSA prerecorded notice on Coronavirus office closings.

The Social Security Administration is taking steps to protect the public and our employees during the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

Until further notice, offices are open to provide limited, dire need, in person services by appointment only. We will continue offering services by phone and online.

Transcription of prerecorded notice on office closures.

You can't schedule an appointment to change your name; it's not a "dire need" service.

Receiving your new card by mail

Social security name change turnaround time
Real-world name change turnaround times in 2021.

It should take 7 to 14 days to receive your new social security card by mail. But COVID-19-related delays have stretched it out to 2 to 4 weeks. Eight weeks at worst.

Expect two deliveries

Supporting documents you send with your application will arrive earlier from your local office. The "Central Office" near DC and Baltimore will mail your card last.

For instance, if your mailed packet includes your:

  1. Completed SS-5 form
  2. Driver's license (proof of identity)
  3. Marriage certificate (proof of name change)

You'll get mailed two envelopes:

  1. One returning your license and certificate.
  2. Another containing your updated social security card.

It's normal for your card to arrive several weeks after your personal documents.

Securing your social security card

When your new social security card arrives by mail:

  • Sign it in ink.
  • Avoid making photocopies.
  • Seal it in a plastic bag or container.
  • Store it at home instead of your wallet or purse.

Don't laminate your card; it blocks built-in anti-counterfeiting security features.

Changing your name on other credentials

Updating other ID beyond social security

How should you order and space out your name change to-dos beyond social security? Here's the proper sequence:

  1. Green card
  2. Social security card
  3. Driver's license or Real ID
  4. Military ID card
  5. Passport
  6. IRS
  7. Employers
  8. Everything else

Let's explain each in quick succession…

1. Green card

Use Form I-90 to change your green card name. This precedes social security.

2. Social security card

Social security name change makes your new name legal.

3. Driver's license or Real ID

Wait at least 24 hours between your social security and driver's license name change; enough time for the SSA database to refresh before it's queried.

4. Military ID card

Update your military ID via DEERS or an ID card center.

5. Passport

Renew or change your passport name any time.

6. IRS

The SSA will alert the IRS that you've changed your name.

7. Employers

The name on your W-2s must match IRS records for proper social security benefits recording.

8. Everything else

Notify or update the leftovers:

  • Banks
  • Business cards
  • Car title and registration
  • Clubs
  • Credit cards
  • Doctor's offices
  • Government tax assessors
  • Insurance companies (auto, life, health, homeowners)
  • Internet properties (email and website)
  • Landlord
  • Memberships
  • Mortgage company
  • Pharmacists
  • Property deeds, titles, and trusts
  • Retirement plans (401k and IRA)
  • Shopping accounts (Amazon, eBay, PayPal)
  • Social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Utilities (water, electric, cable, phone, internet)
  • Voter registration

Conclusion

Whether you use this guide or our online name change kit to change your name, everything starts with updating your social security card. Good luck to you.

Your questions and comments are welcome below.

Do you plan to change your name?

Our online name change kit makes it easy.

Get Started

911 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
    2. Ashley

      I actually got married in July & put my husband's last name down, but then never changed anything over because he decided shortly after to change back to his surname at birth (took a stepdad's surname) & the court refused to accept my paperwork with my maiden name. According to them, my marriage certificate saying my last name changed to my husband's legally changed my name. I had to redo all my paperwork & it was incredibly inconvenient. The marriage certificate holds the same clout as a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. Laura

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

    Reply
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
    2. Cheryl

      …Apparently in MY state this is an issue, your middle name becomes your legal middle name and they require you to have it legally done in court to keep the maiden in the middle, I was married in 86 and never for a moment thought my MIDDLE name wasn't my choice for SSA — somehow with all my paperwork in hand the SS office saw no problem with sticking the maiden name in it but now in 2018(well actually not officially until 2020) They all of a sudden NEED that legally changed middle name on the driver's license should you wish to fly or go in a federal building. Just doing that in the SS office doesn't seem to be the way to do it in Ohio. I am waiting to see what anyone says I can do further down on this blog. I thank ALL of you responders for this blog, the askers and anwerers.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Just doing that in the SS office doesn't seem to be the way to do it in Ohio.

        Ohio is one of the few remaining states that doesn't recognize replacing the middle name with your maiden name using the marriage certificate. Even though you changed your name in '86, the agencies have to follow today's rules (with some exceptions).

        Reply
  38. 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
      1. Laura A Taylor

        As luck would have it, I went do to the SSA office and I had a certified copy of my marriage license but because it was an electronic certified copy, they would not accept it. They need the original copy that is at the county clerks office. Has anyone else run into that?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          They need the original copy that is at the county clerks office. Has anyone else run into that?

          Present a certified copy that was obtained by mail or in person.

          Reply
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
      1. Sharon

        I notice this an old forum but 7-14 days hmmmm
        I sent in all required documents over a month ago and was told there is nothing in the system. Requested to call local office, they too nothing in the system, a office manager will call me back. A week later I have not received a call. Today wrote 2nd email to Social Security, called the 1-800# and local number and noone can tell me anything. I included the form, ID & legal name change w/ court. Im worried they lost my information

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Sharon. Did you have a tracking # attached to your mail packet? It's possible your paperwork got lost in the mail.

          Reply
          1. Sharon

            Hi Velara I did not have tracking but now wish I had. Before my injury I worked for USPS & understand things can be delayed or returned to sender but its Ridiculous several weeks later nothing.

            Unfortunately Everything since I have been on disability that has been mailed or called into the New Port Richey Social Security office has been lost or ignored.

            I have walked in once, called several times and sent out numerous letters pertaining to different matters and always the same results

          2. Valera

            Hi Sharon. You could resend your paperwork all over again, but this time with tracking and signature confirmation.

          3. Sharon

            They have my SS card and divorce documents, not replaceable.

            I received email suggesting calling 1-800 number, did that, referred me to local office, did that, who said 3 weeks ago supervisor will call me back🙄Patiently waiting for a miracle

  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. Cassie Deeg

    Do I go to my “local social security office” in the area that I reside in? Or the are I was married in? I got married in MN but reside in NE. Thank you!!

    Reply
  52. Margie

    hi everyone, need help about changing surname in SSN, just got married last october 11,2018 and my i94 expires this coming october 23 our marriage cert. is in our hands now….is there any problem if my i94 expired and not able yet to change my surname? or do i need to change my surname to my married name before i94 get expired?..thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Margie. When changing your name with the SSA, you must provide a document verifying your immigration status, such as your I-94. It must be unexpired.

      Reply
  53. kate Middleton

    I was married last year in California with the intentions of not changing my last name. I didn't write it on the marriage license, so it isn't listed on my certificate.

    Can I still take my certificate to the Social Security office to change to my husbands last name? Or do I have to petition through court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still take my certificate to the Social Security office to change to my husbands last name? Or do I have to petition through court?

      You'll have to petition. Your marriage certificate wouldn't be usable in this circumstance.

      Reply
  54. Jannah

    This might be a silly question, but do I sign the application form with my new name or do I use my old signature?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      This might be a silly question, but do I sign the application form with my new name or do I use my old signature?

      Not a silly question at all. You should sign your new name.

      Reply
  55. Dawn Eberhard

    I live in Indiana…southeast corner so I'm closer to the Cincinnati, OH SS office than the one in Indiana. Can I have my name change processed in Cincinnati?…or do I have to go to the State office in which I live?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I have my name change processed in Cincinnati?…or do I have to go to the State office in which I live?

      It doesn't matter which office you go to. It doesn't have to be in your state of residence. If you're going to take a long drive, you may want to consider making an appointment.

      Reply
  56. Carrie Griffin

    Hi there, I have a weird situation. I'll explain. My maiden name is Needham, married last name Griffin. I got married in 2007 and changed my driver's license to Griffin. Never changed my name with SSA. Started a business, license and employer tax accounts are Needham-Griffin. Personal taxes are still filled (jointly with hubby) under Needham.

    I want to get a passport so we can travel abroad next summer. How do I start untangling this mess? I'd like everything to be Needham-Griffin. Thanks for any help you can send me!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carrie. If you want your name to sync across the board, just go to the SSA with a certified copy of your marriage certificate and have it changed. Same with your passport.

      Reply
  57. Kelly wisniewski

    My last name is misspelled. I’d expired and tried to get a valid one. Well…dmv wouldn’t take my ss. So… went to social office and was told need valid Id. Jumped through hooos and still NO card.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kelly. Did you present a birth certificate confirming the correct spelling of your name?

      Reply
  58. Christy Gusloff

    2003 got married and changed DL name to new married name. Never changed SS card with new married name. Now going to apply for a passport. My drivers license has my married name on it an my social security card has old married name on it. Do I need to change it in order to proceed with getting my passport??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to change it in order to proceed with getting my passport??

      No, you do not.

      Reply
  59. 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
  60. 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
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
    2. Megan R Schuldt

      I am in the same boat. I have been waiting almost a month and a half for new social, due to marriage. Extremely frustrated.

      Reply
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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

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