Changing your name is a legal puzzle that will take time. But don’t worry—it’s not really as overwhelming as you might think. First, consider your options:
The steps will vary depending on the choice you make, but should you decide to take your new partner's name or change your surname in any way, then you'll want to consider timing, especially when planning your honeymoon. If you’ll be honeymooning immediately following the wedding, we suggest making your travel reservations (airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc.) in your maiden name, as you won’t have time to change your name on all of your required travel documents, particularly your passport. Applying for a new passport will take several weeks, and depending on whether your most recent passport was issued within the last year or more than a year ago, the time for processing will vary.
If the honeymoon won’t happen for several weeks—or better yet, months—after the wedding, you might have time to change your most important documents before traveling. Just make sure you absolutely will have time to complete the switch, especially if you’ve made reservations in your new name.
When all else fails and the time comes to head to the airport, bring a folder with you full of every document you can possibly think of—an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, your birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, and all necessary travel documents (boarding passes, reservation receipts, etc.). This will help prove your identity as well as your recent marriage.
Finally, happy travels!
When you’re ready, here are the steps to the name change game.
Places to notify:
After getting through all the important updates, it will be a matter of changing your name as you come across miscellaneous accounts and subscriptions.
How long after my wedding do I have to change my name? There’s no time limit. Your marriage certificate is good for as long as you are married. Some organizations (like benefits and insurance companies), however, will require you to change your name within a certain time, so make sure to look into that.
What if my marriage certificate does not show the name I want to use? In many areas it’s normal for the marriage certificate to show just the couple’s previous names, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
What records should I change first? Changing your name with the Social Security Administration is the most important step. After that, update your government (like driver’s licenses) and financial records (like banking accounts).
How long will it take to update my records? After you get the most important records out of the way, it’s up to you. It will take time before everyone gets the message, and you’ll likely get mail addressed to your former name for a while.
Must I change my name on all my records? Apart from situations where an agency or organization requires your official name you may opt to keep some records in your former name if the time and effort involved with changing them outweigh the benefits. Some brides continue using their former names—like, for example, a writer who wishes to keep her byline.
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