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Your marriage certificate will serve as your primary legal document for changing your name.  After you get married, you will file your marriage license with the county court house, and then you should receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate by mail in about two weeks.  If you don’t have a copy of your marriage certificate, you can use the Marriage Certificate Request Letter. If you don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, you can use the Birth Certificate Request Letter. Both take only minutes to complete on Rocket Lawyer.

Although your marriage certificate grants you the legal documentation to change your name, you will need to notify the appropriate government agencies of your new name.  Some of the most common offices requiring notification are the Social Security Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles. To save time, you may fill out Social Security form SS-5 in advance. Take the form to your local Social Security Office. The staff there will verify your personal documents and give you a certificate showing that the Social Security Office has approved your name change. Alternatively, mail your completed form SS-5 to your local Social Security Office with a certified copy of your proof of identification, marriage certificate, and proof of age and your documents will be returned to you with your new social security card by mail.

Once you have the certificate approving your name change from the Social Security Office, you can take it to the Department of Motor Vehicles to change your name on your driver’s license while you wait for your new social security card. You have to do this step in person at your nearest New York Driver License office. Your new license and Social Security Card should be mailed to you within six weeks. These new forms of identification and the certificate from the Social Security Office may be used to change other legal identification, like your passport.


This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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