Wedding Tips

How To Name Change in Texas After Marriage

Tattooed bride and groom in navy suit smiling while holding signed marriage license at table in Stoney Ridge Villa wedding venue

Ah, the adventure of changing your last name after saying “I do” – it’s a journey many brides embark on with a mix of excitement and, let’s be honest, a tad bit of apprehension. I had already had experience going through the name change process in Texas when my stepdad adopted me as an adult in my early 20s. And I’ll spare you the details, but, it was a legitimate nightmare. Needless to say, I was very hesitant to have to go through the process again. And it took me over a year after my wedding to finally muster up enough courage to start the process over.

Having said that, I am very happy to report that going through the name change process a second time, due to marriage, was a whole lot simpler. And has been an absolute breeze!

So, if you’re feeling a bit nervous about diving into the process or overwhelmed by how and where to even start. I’ve got you! I’m here to guide you through how to legally change your name in Texas with zero stress. Let’s turn this task into a memorable part of your wedding journey, shall we?

FAQ: Navigating Your Name Change Journey

To kick things off, let’s start with a quick FAQ regarding how to change names in Texas after marriage:

When can I start my name change? You can start the process of name change in Texas as soon as you have your marriage certificate in hand. Typically, it takes a few weeks after your wedding to receive this document. Once you have it, you’re all set to begin the journey of updating your name across all official and personal records.

How long do I have to change my name after getting married? There’s no official deadline for changing your name. However, it’s typically easier to complete the process sooner rather than later, especially when it comes to updating your legal and financial documents. Delaying the process can sometimes complicate matters, especially if you need to prove your identity or marital status.

What type of name changes are allowed with my marriage certificate? Your marriage certificate allows you to take your spouse’s last name, hyphenate your two last names, or, create a double last name without a hyphen. That’s it. The Marriage Certificate, by Texas law, is more limited in scope. So you cannot use it for any of the following: change your first or middle name, alter the spelling of a name, alter the order of your names (ie: making your last name your new middle name – there is a way, but it requires more steps) or create a brand-new last name (ie: Pena marries Vega, new last name of “PenaVega”. Although you should be able to do “Pena-Vega” or “Pena Vega” – as mentioned above).

Can I update my passport or license at the same time as my social security card? What should I update first? While you might be eager to update everything at once, these processes are a bit of a sequential dance. First, you’ll need to update your name with the Social Security Administration. Once you receive your new Social Security card, you can then proceed to update your driver’s license and your passport.

With that said, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide, shall we!?

Officiant signing Texas Marriage License on wooden table

The Definitive Guide to Changing Your Last Name After Marriage

1. Social Security Administration (SSA)

  • First things first: Your name change in Texas begins here. Before you change your name anywhere else – you need to first update your name with your local SSA. Find a local SSA office HERE.
  • How: Go in person to your local Social Security Administration office. Find a local SSA office here.
  • What you’ll need: To apply for a Social Security Card name change in Texas, you’ll need 3 main things:
    • 1. Your (original, no copies) marriage certificate.
    • 2. An application form for a new Social Security card (the SS-5 FORM).
    • 3. A valid (unexpired) form of identification (either a driver’s license, state ID and/or passport).
    • Optional: You can also bring your current Social Security card (but it wasn’t necessary for me – they will just inform you that it’s no longer valid.)
  • Fees: This service is free.
  • In-Person: You can get a headstart on your visit – and save time – by filling out THIS APPLICATION before your appointment. (Simply click the “Answer a few questions” button and complete the short intake form.) This will then lead you to the official Online Social Security Number Application and will walk you through all your options and necessary steps. Or you can fill and print out the SS-5 FORM and bring it with you (along with the rest of the required documentation listed above.)
  • Advice: Wait 30 days after your marriage before you request a name change (SSA recommendation). When signing the SS-5 form, make sure you sign it with your (new) married name. Try scheduling your visit to your local SSA office between Wed-Fri later in the month – avoiding any long weekends – for the shortest lines.
  • Processing Time: Once the SSA has received all of your information, you should receive your new card within 2-4 weeks at most. Once you have your new card in hand, you can then move on to the next steps.

2. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

  • Next up: Once you have your new Social Security card, head to the DMV to update your driver’s license.
  • How: Make an appointment at your local DMV here.
  • What you’ll need: For a Driver’s License name change in Texas, you’ll need the following:
    • Your new Social Security card
    • Your current Driver’s License
    • Your Marriage Certificate (original, no photocopies)
    • Your Birth Certificate and/or a valid non-expired Passport (if you have one)
    • You will also need two documents of TX residency (eg: license with current address, utility bill, pay stub, bank/credit card statement, etc.)
    • Lastly, you’ll also need to fill out the DL-14A form (using INK – they say not to fill it out online – print the form first and fill it out by hand) and have that with you as well.
  • Fees: You will have to pay a small fee for the name change (between $10-$15 in my experience.)
  • Advice: Be prepared to take a new driver’s license photo! That will be required as well. If you don’t already have a Real ID, it’s recommended that you apply for one. After May 2025 it will be mandatory to use it to board all domestic flights – so, might as well jump in now.
  • Voter Registration: Changing your name means you’ll need to update your voter registration as well. You can easily update your voter registration at the same time you update your driver’s license.
  • Processing Time: Expect to receive your new ID within 2-3 weeks of visiting the DMV. But they will give you the most accurate and up-to-date timing during your appointment.

3. U.S. Passport

  • Next: Time to update your passport! You can update your ID and passport book at the same time – so no need to wait for your new license to arrive first.
  • How: This process can look different for everyone, based on your unique circumstances. So, start by determining whether you are eligible to update your passport by mail (the easiest option). View their checklist here to help you determine that for yourself. If so, follow this link to fill out the appropriate form. If you are not eligible to renew your passport by mail, go to their Apply in Person page to learn the steps for how to apply. (There are too many variations to cover everything in this blog – but as most are eligible by mail, that’s what we’ll be focusing on here.)
  • What you’ll need: To apply for a passport name change in Texas, you’ll need:
    • The appropriate form (either the DS-11, DS-82, or DS-5504, depending on your situation – the links above will help you determine which is right for you.)
    • Your current Passport
    • A new Passport Photo (affixed to your filled-out form)
    • Your original Marriage Certificate (again, no photocopies)
    • A Check or Money Order (more on the amount below)
  • Fees: If your passport was issued less than a year ago, there’s no fee to change your name. However, for everyone else, fees are based on the processing time you’d prefer – read on to learn more.
  • Advice: It is strongly advised that you mail via USPS ONLY – and by way of trackable mail. Also, if you have a trip coming up, you might want to wait to change your passport, as the process can take some time (more info below). Note that the documents you mail to the State Department will be returned to you. However, they sometimes mail them back separately – so don’t be concerned if you receive your passport first and alone. Rest assured, the rest of your documents are on their way!
  • Processing Time + Fees: Processing time begins the day the State Department receives your application – not the day it was mailed. And you have two options: Routine Processing and Expedited Processing.
    • Routine processing can take up to 8-12 weeks and costs $130.
    • Expedited processing can take up to 5-7 weeks and costs $190 total (the standard $130 for routine processing + $60 extra for expedited.) *Please write “Expedite” on the outer envelope when mailing in this case.
    • Lastly, you have the option of a 1-2 Day Delivery Fee for an additional $19.53. (Information updated as of 2024.)
    • Regardless of your choice, make your check or money order payable to the “US Department of State”.
  • Mail to: The address is different depending on the State you live in. This is for Texas residents:
    • For ROUTINE processing (again, as a TEXAS resident), you’ll mail to: National Passport Processing Center at PO Box 640155, Irving, TX 75064-0155.
    • For EXPEDITED processing, you’ll mail to: National Passport Processing Center at PO Box 90955, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955
  • Personal Note: I had an international trip planned 6.5 weeks from the time that I submitted my passport name change. I was nervous that I wouldn’t receive my passport back in time, so I paid for all the expedition possible ($209.53 total) and received my passport back within 2 weeks. So, times can vary drastically! Give yourself plenty of time or be willing to pay to expedite (including the 1-2 day delivery to be safe) – those would be my personal recommendations.

4. Vehicle Titles & Registration

  • Next up: If you own a vehicle(s), you’ll need to update the title and registration with your new name. If not, you can skip right past this section.
  • How: You’ll need to visit your local Texas County Tax Office (find one at that link <) in person. No appointment is required.
  • What you’ll need: For a vehicle title and registration name change in Texas, you’ll need to bring the following with you:
    • The printed and completed Title & Registration application form
    • Your updated Driver’s License
    • Your original Marriage License
    • Your original Vehicle Title
    • Proof of Insurance
    • The required Fee
  • Fees: there are fees, but they are subject to change.
  • Processing Time: Typically 2-3 weeks.
  • Advice: Consider the timing, if your vehicle registration is due for renewal, you might be able to handle both tasks in one visit to the county tax office.

5. Global Entry (TSA Pre-Check)

  • Next: If you have either Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, this is a good one to get a jumpstart on. Especially if you have upcoming travels.
  • How: You will need to go into a local Global Entry Enrollment Center in person. (Walk-ins are welcome, though wait times vary. Wednesday and Thursday tend to have shorter wait times.)
  • What you’ll need: To apply for a Global Entry name change in Texas, you’ll need to bring the following things with you:
    • Your current Global Entry ID card
    • Your original Marriage Certificate
      Your new Passport
    • Your new Driver’s License
    • 2 documents proving your Residency (e.g., utility bill, pay stub, bank/credit card statement, mortgage statement etc.)
  • During Your Appointment: An officer will review your documents to approve the name change. Your Global Entry and, consequently, your TSA PreCheck names will be updated to reflect your new name.
  • Processing Time: Typically updated within 45 days.
  • Advice: After your name change, update your airline frequent flyer profiles to ensure they match your new Global Entry and TSA PreCheck details.

6. Bank Accounts

  • Next Up: The last big and important one is your bank(s)!
  • How: You can try and change it online. However, you’ll likely need to visit your bank in person. Each bank’s process might differ slightly, so call ahead to see what they require.
  • What You’ll Need: For a bank name change in Texas, you’ll bare minimum need the following:
    • Your new Driver’s License
    • Your Marriage Certificate
  • Advice: Consider ordering new checks with your new name to avoid any confusion or issues with checks written in your maiden name.

7. Everywhere Else

As you move through life with your new name, you’ll encounter many places that need updating. Here’s a checklist to help get you started and to keep track of where you’ve been and where you need to go:

  • Employer (for payroll purposes)
  • Insurance Policies (health, car, home, life, business)
  • Doctors’ Offices
  • Utility Companies
  • Credit Cards (should be mostly taken care of when updating your name with your banks – but if you have any standalone or travel cards, don’t forget those as well)
  • Investment Accounts and Retirement Plans
  • Legal Documents (wills, POAs)
  • Social Media and Online Profiles
  • Memberships and Subscriptions (including streaming platforms)
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Business Cards
  • Email (and email signature)
  • any other Marketing Materials

Additional Tips for a Smooth Name Change Transition

  • Stay Organized: Keep a folder with all your important documents, applications, and a checklist of places you need to update.
  • Patience is Key: Some changes will happen quickly, while others may take a bit more time. Keep a record of who you’ve contacted and when, in case you need to follow up.
  • Use a Name Change Service: If the process feels overwhelming, there are services available that can help streamline the process for a fee. But, I hope this guide will be helpful enough!

Changing your name is a significant step in your new journey together. It’s about so much more than just paperwork; it’s a celebration of unity and love. This guide was designed to help you navigate the process with ease, allowing you to focus on the joy of your new beginning!

I’d love to hear about your experiences or any additional tips you might have discovered along the way. Drop a comment below or reach out directly if you need a bit more guidance or just want to share your story. Or if you have any DFW wedding photography related questions, I’d love to connect!

Here’s to making every step of this journey a memorable part of your love story!


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