Steps for Changing Your Name

People legally change their names for a variety of reasons.  Once the new name is recorded, there are multiple accounts, identification cards/government documents, and financial accounts that need to be changed should you choose to change your name. This process should begin soon after any name change.  Here’s how:

If the name change is related to a marriage, order official marriage certificates:

  • These can be obtained at the County Register of Deeds.
  • Order multiple copies (about 4 – 5). Some places will require a certified copy and don’t always return it or take a while to send it back.
  • NOTE: A marriage certificate is not the same as a marriage license. The certificate is a record-keeping document, proving the marriage has been completed and registered.

Apply for new Social Security Card:

  • Use the original legal order (not a photocopy), whether that is a marriage certificate or a court order.
  • The Social Security number will remain the same; a new card will be issued with the new name on it.

Apply for a new driver’s license (or state identification card):

  • Use new Social Security card to do so.
  • See list of Driver Licensing Locations to find an office.
  • Call ahead to ensure proper documentation is in hand. Many people get turned away because of a lack of required documents when they arrive.

Update Passport:

  • If the passport is less than a year old updating the name is free. Otherwise, there is a processing fee.
  • Fill out one of the three different forms: DS-82 if the passport was issued more than a year agoDS-5504 if the passport was issued less than a year ago, or DS-11 if the passport has been expired for more than five years.

 Update vehicle title and registration information:

  • Some Department of Motor Vehicles s cover driver’s licenses and vehicle title/registration, but most states have separate departments.
  • Call ahead to ensure proper documentation is in hand. Many people get turned away because of a lack of required documents when they arrive.
  • Typically takes a few weeks to arrive in the mail.
  • If currently leasing or financing a vehicle, contact lienholder and inform them of the name change. They will provide the steps to update title.

 Update voter registration information:

  • Use new Social Security card to do so at the local County Auditor’s Office. page.
  • This can also be done by downloading and mailing in the on the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Register to Vote page.

 Update name with United State Postal Service (USPS):

  • It’s not required to tell the USPS about a name change, but make sure to update the name and address if you are also moving.  Visit usps.com.

 Update bank accounts and creditors:

  • Use the newly obtained ID’s. The bank will explain their process for getting new debit cards and checks.
  • Creditors include auto loan lender, mortgage lender, credit card companies, and student loan lender

Request new credit/debit cards:

  • Start by calling the number on the back of the card, and the company will provide their protocol issuing a new card.
  • Most will want a photocopy of a photo ID (Driver’s License or passport) and a photocopy of the court order or marriage certificate.

Update payroll information:

  • Give HR department necessary paperwork to get your name changed.
  • Check if the tax bracket has changed.  If it has, review withholding amount to see if it should be adjusted.

Update Life insurance and retirement accounts:

  • Contact the companies to find out their protocols for changing your name on all policies and accounts.

Other things to update:

  • Your employer
  • Medical providers
  • Attorney – for any legal documents, such as a trust or a will.

For more information, call or search the 211 database:

  • helplinecenter.org/211database
    • Use the following keyword search terms:
      • Marriage Licenses
      • County Register of Deeds
      • County Auditor Offices
      • Driver Licenses
      • Social Security Numbers
      • Passports
      • Post Offices

Disclaimer: This HelpSheet is developed by the Helpline Center for informational purposes only. HelpSheets provide a brief overview of the designated topic. For more information, call 211 or text your zip code to 898211.

Updated: August 2021