Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Changing Your Name in the US

I recently got married and had to get through the process of changing my last name. Like everyone else, I googled and found pretty good information. But the sequence does matter, and here's what I have learned.

  1. Expedite your national marriage certificate and have it sent here to the US.  In my home country, it normally takes six months to claim one's marriage certificate from the National Statistics Office. I asked our wedding coordinator to file for an expedited process and it took 3 months.
  2. Go to Social Security to change your name. Bring original document from #1. Wait a week to receive new Social Security card.
  3. Use #2 to update your name in your employer's file. In my case, they asked for a photocopy of my new Social Security card. Because of this change, your records at the IRS, payroll provider (if any), and health insurance will change as well. Eventually, you will receive an updated health insurance card. And ofcourse, show the updated health insurance card to your health practitioner or hospital to also update their own records.
  4. Use #1 and #2 to change your name at the DMV. In my state, we get the new card instantly.
  5. Use your new DMV card as proof of name change to your banks. Some banks can be more strict, and some asked for my marriage certificate.
  6. Use your new DMV card to renew your passport, yes it is a renewal in my Consulate.  It takes 8 to 12 weeks to get the new passport, so avoid making plans to travel overseas until you get the new passport.
I hope this helps, good luck!