How to Change Your Name in New York State After Marriage

marriage image by Mykola Velychko from

Once you’ve said your vows, enjoyed your honeymoon and opened your gifts, a certified copy of your marriage license arrives in the mail – the last detail in officially becoming a married couple. With your marriage license comes the decision as to whether or not you want to change your name. It’s not required that you change your last name to that of your spouse, but the decision does need to be made. If you decide to change your name, you’ll need to keep your certified marriage license copy on hand, as several different institutions need to see it before they will change your name.

Obtain form SS-5 from any New York State Social Security Administration office location or on the Social Security Administration’s website (see Resources). This form allows you to change your name on your social security card, which is the first item you should update when changing your name. Fill out the form and take it or mail it to any NY state SSA office along with a copy of your marriage certificate. The SSA notifies the Internal Revenue Service of your name change within 10 days of receiving your application and issuing your new social security card to you.

Change your name on your driver’s license. Visit any NY state driver’s license office (see Resources). Provide the clerk with a copy of your marriage certificate, your current driver’s license and your social security card. You have the option of taking a new driver’s license photo or using the one already on your license. Your vehicle registration and voter’s registration are automatically changed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Call your financial institutions to inform them of your name change. This is the last step in changing your name, as most of these institutions require proof of your name change via copies of your marriage certificate and driver's license with your new name listed. Financial institutions you need to notify include your banks, your credit card companies, your utility companies, mortgage company, landlord, employer and your insurance agent.