Changing Your Name After Marriage

Once the big day is behind you and you begin your life as husband and wife, there is this process that us wives tend to procrastinate on: changing our name. In my particular case, finally getting the green card under my married name definitely motivated me to get moving. Here are the steps I took to make “Mrs. Brotherton” official.

Social Security Card

What to bring?

  • Completed application
  • Green card
  • Passport
  • Old social security card
  • Marriage license
  • Driver’s license

What to expect?

  • Go to the office nearest you (no appointment needed.) The waiting line takes longer than the actual name change.
  • She asked for an ID (I gave her my driver’s license and green card) and the marriage certificate. One hour later I was done!
  • You will get a receipt and receive the actual card on the mail (they said it can take up to two weeks but I got it one week later). Once this step is done, you have 60 days to update your driver’s license.

Driver’s License

What to bring?

  • Current Driver’s License
  • Marriage Certificate
  • New Social Security Card
  • Green Card
  • Passport

What to expect?

  • If you’ve been to the DMV before, it is the same overall experience.
  • If your license expiration date is close, you might need to pay for renewing it, otherwise the name change is free.


What to expect?

  • Contact your country’s consulate or embassy in the U.S. before you go. If you are American, you probably just have to go to the post office.
  • In my case, and to my surprise, Costa Rica does not allow name changes. So from now on I’ll be “Valeria M. Arguello Midence” in Costa Rica and “Valeria M. Brotherton” in the U.S. (Great… Just when I thought I was simplifying things by changing my two Spanish last names to an English last name that people can actually pronounce, I will now have to juggle around 3 last names.)

Bank Accounts

What to bring?

  • New social security card
  • New driver’s license
  • Marriage certificate
  • Your spouse (If you have joint accounts)

What to expect?

  • Same overall experience as when you open an account.
  • I asked them to update all of my accounts, including my credit and debit cards. Later I noticed a $5 charge on my bank account statement per new debit card, which I was not expecting. I called, complained, and they were removed.


What to send?

  • Copy of your green card
  • Copy of new social security card
  • Updated tax forms

What to expect?

  • I simply emailed all the copies and forms.
  • If your insurance is through your employer, those will get updated by your employer.


  • Car Insurance: I just updated my name on my online profile .
  • Phone: Haven’t updated that one yet and wasn’t able to do it online.
  • Utility Bills: Those are under my husband’s name, but I think you can simply update them online too.

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