Post # 1
What the title says. I’m an American living in the UK and am a little worried about whether I’ll be able to get the marriage license processed and the certificate issued, and then visit the SS office, DMV, and whatever else before I fly back to London. Is it the marriage certificate that officially changes my name, or can I put off all the changes until the next time I’m back in the States for a while? (I do understand that this may be a more expensive option if my state has a time limit on free marriage-related name changes.)
Post # 2
Your name is not changed until you physically go to the Social Security Administration with your marriage certificate.
Whenever you opt to change it, be sure your passport matches whatever name is on your airline tickets.
Post # 3
Good question! What about in the UK? Anyone know? I asked the registrar when we have notice and she gave me a vague answer that didn’t make much sense. Seemed like it just changed automatically if I want it to?
Post # 4
kooshball5 : The marriage license doesn’t actually change your name. You have to wait until you get the official license (usually two weeks after you get married), take the marriage license to the social security office and there you’ll change your name. Once you do that you’ll have to go to the dmv and then the rest (like credit cards) could be done over the phone. You have up to two years to actually change your name at the social security office and DMV so if you’ll be back within two years I’d probably just wait unless you feel like you can get it all done while you’re still here
Post # 5
kooshball5 : It’s quick, just pop into the SS office as early as they open (I did that and didn’t wait in any lines) and then went straight to the DMV. They mailed my documents to me. Also, you can renew yourpassport through the mail (that’s what I did) so just get it done ASAP instead of later having to go through the court process to change it.
Post # 6
nattybeee : This is super helpful, as we also have the fact we’ll be out of my home state for our “mini moon” for most of the post-wedding time before we fly out. Can you provide a citation for the two year cutoff?
Post # 7
Marriage license first to show what you are changing your name to. Social security office second to change it legally on your SS card and lastly you can go to the DMV and get it changed on your license. You have to do it in that order too.
Post # 8
KellyB262 : In the UK you can legally call yourself any name you like, unless it’s intended to deceive. Most places will want proof of this name change, eg marriage certificate or deed poll. But all you legally have to do is let it be known that you now wish to be known under X name.
Post # 9
kooshball5 : maybe that’s just in my county. That’s what they told us when we were applying but from everything I’ve read online you can change it at any point in time after you get your marriage license so who knows, but our county clerk told us we had two years after getting the license to legally change my name on everything
Post # 10
kooshball5 : I had to wait to get my marriage certificate (that I had to pay for an request) 8 weeks after the wedding. I was in Ontario Canada. Once I had the right documents I was able to change my license same day. I never did officially change my SIN….
Post # 11
In the UK, I had to request new forms of ID (passport and driving licence) to show that I was now Mrs R… this needed my marriage certificate sent off to be reognised.
Banks wanted ID or the marriage licence
I went on my honeymoon in my maiden name as we booked them in my maiden name as it was only a week after the wedding
Marriage license was free, passport had to be paid for, driving licence was free
Post # 12
It depends on the state. Where I live (Indiana) I had to physically have the new social security card before I could get my driver’s license changed. And it took like 7-10 days for social security to mail it to me. Nothing was done on the spot. Even my drivers license had to be mailed to me after I applied. To get the marriage license itself took a week or two. But I’ve heard that other states are easier.
Honestly, I feel like none of the steps are truly “official.” I was waiting for some big “HERE’S MY OFFICIAL NEW NAME” moment, and really it’s just a bunch of little steps leading up to getting all the paperwork to reflect the same new name. Even though the social security card is usually considered the “official method” no one has asked for it besides the DMV. Banks, credit cards, etc have only asked for the marriage license. Which is strange to me, because nowhere on the marriage license does it say what my new name will be, just my husbands last name and my old one. So it’s not even clear in looking it whether I’m taking his name completely, hyphenating, or doing a double last name.
Really, I’m pretty frustrated by the process. I knew it would have a lot of steps but I feel like it’s unnecessarily complex and ambiguous.
I would not expect to have it all done before you go back to the UK. I’ve also never heard of the 2 year time limit. I know people who have been married for years and then decided to change their name (in Pennsylvania). I also know some married women who go by their married name socially but have their maiden name on their drivers license and other “official” paperwork.
Have you looked into whether you can get the documents while you’re out of the country? You can mail in the social security application, so theoretically you could do that from anywhere. DMV would probably have to wait until you’re back in the US, but it might be worth looking into. They must have expats change their name often.
Post # 13
kooshball5 : I agree w/ nattybeee : about the process. What makes it legal is the change at the SSA office. Once that’s done you can change everything else. I have also heard the 2 year rule to change after marriage Without a Fee. You can do it anytime but after that ‘newly married’ period you have to pay for it.
You will be able to travel after your married as long as you aren’t midway through the name change process so not all the documents match. I would wait to file until you can be here for a while because once that SSA filing goes thorugh, your name is legally changed- you just won’t have a picture ID to proves it until you go through the DMV and all that fun stuff.
Post # 14
Honestly, I think you need to check your county/state’s specific rules. I went to the SS office and changed it and they told me I needed to wait 3-5 days before going to the DMV and tag agency to get a driver’s license with my new name. My name was legally changed sometime in those 3-5 days but I didn’t have any identification until I went to the tag agency.
Post # 15
To echo PPs, it definitely depends on your state/county as to how long it would take. I took the signed marriage license to the court house myself after the wedding, so I didn’t have to wait weeks to get the certified copy mailed to me and then I went straight to the SS office. They made me wait 48 hours after that to go to get a new drivers license (all I needed was the confirmation letter from the SS office, I didn’t get the actual card for a couple weeks). Everything else was online or by mail. So yeah, it took me three days to change my name. This was Florida.