Deciding to change my last name was a tough decision for me,  it has been such a part of me for so long.  It is a very personal decision and I hope that you have someone that is understanding of whatever it is you decide to do.  In the end, I decided to drop my old middle name and make my maiden name, my new middle name and adopt my husbands last name.  My new last name is definitely something I am getting used to and making the switch takes some time and planning.  I will walk you through the steps of changing your name, I did not opt to pay for a service to do it for me, nor do I think it is necessary.  The hardest part for me was getting to the government offices, since they are only open during my normal work hours.

Guide to Changing Your Last Name

Get Your Marriage License

All states are different, but look at your county clerk’s rules on how long you need to wait to get a original or certified copy of your marriage license.  In California, you need to wait 14 days for it to be filed and then it costs $15 dollars per certified copy.  I mailed in a request for the copies with a check and then the certified copies were mailed to me.

Social Security Card

This is step can be done two ways, by mail or in person.  There is no fee for changing your name on your social security card and your social security card number will remain the same.  First, fill out an application for you name change, look online at what identification you need to provide and take or mail your application and identification to your local social security office.  I went in person and they gave me a temporary form I could take to the DMV to change my driver’s license, if I did not want to wait for the card to come in the mail.  It can take up to 14 days to receive your new card.

Driver’s License

Google your states Department of Motor Vehicles website, where you can typically find an application you can fill out in advance, a long with what documentation you need to bring with you.  Also, you can traditionally make an appointment to minimize wait times.


You want to do this in advance of actually needing it because regular processing takes 4 to 6 weeks, and if you need to rush passport you will incur additional fees.  If you have had your passport for less than one year you will need to fill out the DS-5504 application and mail it in with a new 2×2 photo, as well as your supporting documents.  The supporting documents you need to mail in with your application are: your old passport and a certified copy of your marriage license.  If you have had your passport for less than one year you do not need to pay a fee.

If you have had your passport for more than a year, you need to fill out form DS-82 and submit it along with your old passport, a new 2×2 photo, a certified copy of your marriage license and a fee.  The current fee is $110 dollars (I know it hurts right) and an additional $60 dollars if you need it expedited.  Since, you are mailing such sensitive documents I recommend requesting a return receipt for your package.

Bank and Credit Cards

Each banking or credit institution has their own policies on this, but generally the fastest way is to bring in your driver’s license and certified copy of your marriage license to your local branch.  Be sure to request new cards and checks, some fees may apply.


  • Your employer may require certain documents to change  you name on payroll, insurance, etc.
  • The Post Office
  • Doctors
  • Contact your attorney about changing your legal documents, such as a will.
  • Investment Accounts
  • Mortgage Company
  • Voter Registration
  • Insurance
  • Utility Companies

This process does take time because you have to wait to receive documents from government agencies which rarely have quick turn around times, but that is okay it will just give you more time to adjust to your new name.