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Foreign Creatures

Changing Your Last Name

thoughtsJessica4 Comments

I'm happy to say that I am officially a Lee! All my important documents are updated and I thought it would be informative to share with you how to change your last name after you are married or whenever you need to. I know there are plenty of resources out there that will tell you how to change your last name and they probably do it better but if you happen to be living in California, this might be helpful for you. I also found resources online that will change your last name for you for about $50 but I wouldn't do it. I thought about it to save time but I figured it be safer to do it myself.

The timeframe mentioned below is how long it took me to receive the necessary documents. It may vary depending on your location. Also, make sure you read the instructions on the website.

1. Marriage License. Get your marriage license with your new last name (on the bottom of the paper). If you didn't ask for one when you applied for your marriage license (before you got married), then you will have to fill out a form from the county you got married at (downloadable on their website). You will also need it notarized, which means you will have to go find someone who is notarized or go to a nearby location that can do that for you. I hear that some post offices can do that for you. Just check beforehand. The fee for it being notarized is around $10. Once you mail your form, you should receive it within 2 weeks. I encourage you to request 2-3 marriage licenses so you don't have to go through this process again or in case you lose it.

2. Social Security Number. You will now need to update your SSN. Find your nearest social security office (lines will be long!) and bring in this completed form, your driver's license or passport (if not from USA) and your marriage license. You should receive your new SSN in the mail in about 10 days.

3. DMV. Set up an appointment at a local DMV and bring your driver's license, marriage license, your new social security card and the DMV form. If you live in CA, you can request the form here. You will receive the form in a couple of days in the mail. They don't allow you to download the form online because they put a specific barcode on the form for you.

4. Passport. I did this by mail. I think if you do it in person you will have to pay an extra fee. Fill out a form and send in the completed form, your marriage license, your old passport (if you had one), a new passport picture and the fee. I received my new passport in about 3 weeks. And I received my old passport and marriage license 3 weeks after that. If you are renewing your passport that is more than 1 year old, you will need to use this form and include a check for $110 paid to the "US State Department" if you are submitting it by mail.

5. Bank Accounts. My bank only required me to bring my driver's license. But you should bring your marriage license anyway. They also helped me change my last name on my credit card. Normally you would have to fill out a form but my bank just helped me on the spot.

6. Work. Let your HR at your job know that your name changed. My work requested my driver's license and marriage license.

7. Credit Cards. Go to your necessary credit card website and find where you can change your name. Credit card company's have different ways of doing it.

8. Everything else. I haven't changed my last name everywhere yet but will probably do it when necessary. So don't forget about AAA, post office, utility companies, schools, mortgage company, insurance companies, doctor's offices and investment accounts.

It took me awhile to change my last name because I was so lazy but I hope this breakdown helps you through it all! I hope I didn't miss any important information!

(Passport section updated June 20, 2016 thanks to Shannon)