Advice & Planning

A Reminder on How to Change Your Name

Make your name-change process a seamless one by following these five steps:

Obtain Your Marriage Certificate
No more than 30 days prior to your wedding date, visit the county clerk’s office with your future spouse. There, you will apply for a marriage license, which will be signed on the wedding day, then mailed—usually by your officiant—back to the county clerk, who will issue you a marriage certificate recognizing your legal marriage. You must have the certificate in hand to begin the name-change process.

Expert tip: When applying for a license, ask for certified copies in advance. When the clerk’s office mails your marriage certificate, they will also mail two certified copies for your records.

Change Your Social Security Card
Once you have your marriage certificate, the next step is to complete an SS-5 application at ssa.gov, then bring the completed form and the following legal documents to the Dallas Social Security Administration office:

• Proof of citizenship: A valid passport or original or certified birth certificate

• Proof of identity: A valid driver’s license or passport

• Proof of legal name change: Your marriage certificate or a certified copy

• Your current social security card: You will keep your social security number with your new name.

Apply for a New Driver’s License
Once you have your new social security card, bring it—along with your marriage certificate—to any Dallas-area Department of Motor Vehicles. Expert tip: The Garland DMV allows you to check in online and receive a text when it’s time to head in, minimizing wait time. 

Update Bank Accounts with New Name
Visit your local bank branch with your new driver’s license and marriage certificate to update your accounts, checkbooks, and bank-issued credit cards.

Everything Else
Now you’re free to update your passport, payroll and insurance information, voter registration, remaining credit cards and accounts, and home utilities. 

Tip: Already booked your honeymoon tickets? It’s best to wait until after your travel dates to switch to your new last name. Most airlines won’t let you change the name on your ticket, and having different last names on your ticket and identification may compromise your ability to travel, so leave that maiden name be for now. 

This article originally appeared in the Fall / Winter 2019 issue of D Weddings. Purchase yours online .

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