You Went to the Chapel and Now Want to Change Your Name

January 26, 2021

The process to changing your name after a marriage is straightforward, albeit tedious. There is no legal requirement for a name change after marriage, so it is a self-initiated venture. In Illinois, each agency or business you need to change your name with, has their own process and requirements. It also is not free. Below are common steps to take to change your name across the board:

  1. Getting a certified copy of your marriage license - For many of the steps below, you will need a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The marriage certificate is the legal document which gives you the right to change your name. In Illinois, you can obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate at the County Clerk’s office in the county that the marriage occurred. The certificate will generally be available a few weeks after you wed. There is usually a small fee associated with obtaining a copy. Each County Clerk will have their own processes so check on their individual websites for more information.
  2. Changing your name with the Social Security Administration - To change your name with the Social Security Administration, complete the SS-5 form. This will update your name on your Social Security Card. You can either file the social security form in person or by mail. Follow the instructions on the form here: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
  3. Changing your driver’s license/vehicle title – For both these items, you will have to go to the Illinois Secretary of State. However, you want to make sure you have done the prep work and have everything you need. For your new driver’s license, you will need:
  • Social Security card in your new name (optional but recommended)
  • Current driver’s license
  • Certified marriage certificate
  • Proof of residence if address has changed (utility bill or bank statement)
  • Required fee

See website here: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_x173.pdf) for more details. If you have a vehicle, you will need to transfer title as well. Apply for a “Corrected Title” using your new name on the form here: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/vehicles/title_and_registration/pert.html

  1. Updating your passport - To change your name with the US Department of State and update your passport, you will need to complete either the DS-11 (first passport application or replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged passport), DS-82 (for use if you currently hold a valid or recently expired 10- year passport), or DS-5504 (for use to replace a limited validity passport), depending on your current passport status. Follow the instructions on the appropriate form. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/forms.html
  2. Changing your Voter Registration - To update your Illinois Voter Registration Application, check with your local election office. Processes vary by office but generally can be done online.
  3. Personal Accounts with Private Businesses - Notify your personal accounts with individual companies of your name change. This part is relatively simple and varies among the different companies. Some of the most pertinent are:
  • Banks
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Email accounts
  • Employer

There will be many other companies and agencies that are more specific to you. Make your own individual list to check off as you go. Obviously once you start the process, you can’t really stop. In fact, once your name has changed, Illinois requires your driver’s license to change within 10 days of the change. Having you name be different with different government agencies or companies could create problems with your identity likely forcing you to continue what you started. There is not a time limit on when you can change your name after marriage so only begin when you have the time (and a few extra dollars).

Other considerations: Keep in mind that a name change remains a legal process. As fun as it might be to book a honeymoon plane ticket in your new name, you will have to check in with your airline and go through TSA with your current driver’s license/passport or state ID. Rental car agencies and hotels could also require a driver’s license and credit card in the booker’s name. There will likely be a work around for each, but it will be time and a stressor that could be avoided.

If you run into issues or need to change your name for other reasons, feel free to contact us at the number below.