If you had to spell out 11 letters of your last name to a phone rep just one time, you would want to change your last name too. Changing my name after I got married was supposed to be an “easy” choice. But convenience aside, it was a sad moment when it actually happened.We just celebrated our first wedding anniversary and it took me about the same amount of time to change my maiden name. It was not an easy process for me and that is probably why it took me almost a year to actually start the process
The day that my social security card arrived in the mail was a bitter-sweet moment. I sat there staring at my new name in silence. I was experiencing a highly emotional loss of identity. For months before I changed my name, I found myself wondering whose last name my future child (should God be so gracious) would take if I chose to keep my maiden name? I came to the conclusion that my Ghanaian maiden name would not be a part of my child’s heritage except maybe as a password security question. Lawd have mercy. It is such a socially accepted occurrence for a woman to change her last name that many people barely think about it. Of course, women are progressive enough to keep their last names these days if they choose to. But I still, feel like every married man should appreciate his wife for her willingness to accept his family name as her own. It is a BIG deal!
But I digress. I came here to share the steps you will need to complete should you need to change your name legally in the United States. Here we go:
- Change your name with the social security office – This has to be your first step. Nowadays your other documents are tied to your social security number so you need this first. You will need to fill out this form first. Here is a list of documents you will need for your application. You can either send certified copies in the mail to the SS office (they only take originals or certified copies) or you can show up to the office like I did. Surprisingly, the line wasn’t very long. I guess people aren’t about that social security office life anymore.
- Change your driver’s license name/ vehicle registration or title- When you get your SS card in the mail, you will need to present that at the DMV to get a new card. Unfortunately, you have to pay for this. The NY DMV will mail your new driver’s license/ID and vehicle registration and title within 10 days. You need to fill out this form and take it to the DMV. For voter registration – you can do this at the DMV (don’t forget; it is election year!).
- Change your passport name – you can apply online for this. WARNING: If you have a trip coming up shortly after your name change (think honeymoon), consider completing this step AFTER your trip. The old passport may be disabled while you await the new one. You can find more information here.
- Change your bank account/ credit card names- You will have to go to the local branch of your bank and present your new drivers license, and social security number in order to change the name associated with your accounts. I still haven’t done this. I mean, who actually goes into a bank anymore? Ugh
- Change your name at work- this part was a royal pain in the butt. Had to request the change, get new login credentials and change my password. Just be prepared to deal with your IT department…with patience. Yal, I initiated this process last year. They screwed up the spelling of my name 3 times. I still haven’t gotten this resolved all the way.
- If your old name is on any utility bills, you are going to want to change that to match your new credentials.
And if you are busy and ain’t got time for all of that. You can explore online services like Hitchswitch or missnowmrs which will do the work for you after filling out a form. Or at least that is what they say on their websites. I haven’t used either service because I’m super paranoid about official things and so I chose to do it myself.
Full Disclosure; I still havent changed my name on any of my ID’s, my bank account, my passport or any other official form of identification. Between travel and blogger brain, I just havent gotten around to it. I would love to hear your story and any suggestions you have for getting this done. Who knew it was such a load of work !?!