How to Change Your Name

4 Excellent Tips on How to Change Your Name

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Changing your name is not something that is done often so it can be intimidating and daunting when trying to figure out where to start. The key to this process is being prepared. Before you go anywhere to change your name such as the courthouse, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or others, you need to know everything you need to take with you, including documents, paperwork, and any associated fees. Changing your name is already an intricate process, but there is nothing more frustrating than wasted time and being turned away because you don’t have something notarized. 

In this comprehensive article, we aim to provide you with all the answers, to simplify the entire process, and to leave you ready to make the change without any headache. Also note that this article was written as a resource for adult, U.S. citizens navigating the process of changing their name. This is your ultimate and complete guide on how to change your name.

Before we dive into this fully, it’s important to know that you can manually go through this process step-by-step as we outline below, or you can use ChangeMyNames to make the process easy for yourself! Simply fill out your information once on our website, and we’ll email you a pre-populated packet of forms that you can submit to officially update your name change. With that said, let’s dig in!

1. The Basics of Learning How to Change Your Name

The starting point for changing your name is going to be your reason. The reason you are changing your name will change the process that you must go through and the paperwork that you will need. The most common reason for changing your name as an adult is due to marriage or divorce; this also makes this process quite streamlined and relatively easy as far as processing goes. However, this is not the only reason you may be looking into changing your name. 

Other reasons can include, adoption of an adult, changing to a different parent’s surname, misspelling, or perhaps you are simply unhappy with your given name. If you are changing your name due to one of these less common reasons, other steps and paperwork will likely be necessary. As you can see, the reason you are changing your name will set the course for how to change your name.

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How to Change Your Name Due to Marriage

If you just got married, congratulations! Depending on where you got married, it might take a few days to a couple of weeks to receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You’re chomping at the bit to make your wedded bliss known to the world, but you’ll have to wait to receive this before you start the process. If you got married at the courthouse, most of the time you’ll be walking out with your certified marriage certificate in hand – no need to wait! 

It is highly recommended that you get duplicates of the certified copies and use one for the name change process and put one in a safe place with any of your other important documents. If you need a replacement because it gets lost or damaged while taking it to the many places you’ll be going, it can take quite a while to get replaced. Basically, get 4-5 copies of this, as it’s critical. 

Here is some good news, though – you do not need a court order to change your last name due to marriage! The certified marriage certificate serves as the court filed reason to change your surname. Each spouse can change their last name to their spouse’s last name, hyphenate the two last names, or merge the two surnames to make one. All of these are acceptable with just the certified marriage certificate. If you are both changing your surname, make sure to be on the same page as to how it will be spelled, or you may find the honeymoon phase is over quicker than you’d like!

How to Change Your Name Due to Divorce

If you are changing your name due to divorce, the last thing you need is processing and administrative issues during such a mentally taxing time. In the paperwork that is filled out during your dissolution of marriage, there will be a section that will ask you if you would like for your original surname to be restored. If you opted for this, then your certified dissolution of marriage or certified divorce decree will notate this choice and file the name change for you with the court. This means you do not have to apply for a name change order at the courthouse. 

Also keep in mind that the state you live in may affect the process for changing your name. For instance, in some states you will receive court official paperwork stating that you are legally separated from your spouse and must remain so for a certain period before divorce is granted. Unfortunately, these papers will not count as a court-filed name change and you will have to wait for the court’s official dissolution of marriage. 

In some states, if you did not choose to restore your original surname with the dissolution of marriage and have since decided to change it back, there is a different process for how to change your name. Even though the reason is divorce, since the action was not filed during the divorce proceedings, you will need to file a petition for a name change. See the “Dissatisfaction with Name” section below to learn more.

If you want to know how to change your name in other places due to a divorce, you will need your certified copy of your dissolution of marriage or divorce decree (depending on which state you filed in) which shows the restoration of your surname. As previously stated, getting multiple copies of this document is very important, so we highly recommend it!

How to Change Your Name Due to Adoption of an Adult

If you are an adult that is being adopted and you wish to share your surname with your new parent, an adoption petition will have to be filed with the court. You’ll be able to find this paperwork by contacting your local county clerk’s office. 

Both adults (adopter and adoptee) will need to fill out the petition and have the paperwork notarized before filing the petition with the courthouse. The adoptee will notate in the paperwork that they request to share the surname of their adopter. Before filing the petition, make sure that all signatures are notarized that need to be and find out what the filing fee is in your county. Once the petition is granted by the judge, you will receive a certified copy of the official adoption which is the starting point in how to change your name.

Now that the adoption and name change has been filed with the court, you can get the certified copy of adoption to begin the name changing process. As with a marriage certificate, it is highly recommended that you get duplicates of the certified copies and you use one for the name changing process and put one in a safe place with important documents. 

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How to Change Your Name Due to Dissatisfaction with Name

There are many reasons other than those listed above that someone may want to change their name. Perhaps you want to take a different parent’s or grandparent’s surname, or you professionally use a pen name and want to make it official. You can simply change your name if you do not like it. 

Be aware, however, that there are some things that will prevent you from changing your name. You cannot change your name in order to: 

  • Evade the law
  • Escape debt
  • Intentionally mislead (i.e., you can’t change your name to Kevin Bacon unless you can show valid reason other than wanting people to think that you are the Kevin Bacon)
  • Something trademarked or copyrighted unless you have expressed permission
  • Numbers or punctuation marks (however, you may be able to spell out a number for a name such as “Eleven”, but it will depend on the state)
  • Something offensive, threatening, obscene, and/or considered a slur towards race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

If you are not changing your name to something listed above, then here is how to change your name. Your next step is to file a name change petition with your local county clerk. You can get the correct paperwork through their office and many times you can find it online for your state. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your financial and credit status as well as your criminal history. Also, be sure to note the fee for your state. These fees vary widely, but are typically between $100 – $450. 

The state you live in will determine the details of how to change your name so depending on your home, you may be required to make a notice of your petition to change your name in a local newspaper. Be prepared to pay the newspaper classified fee which will vary depending on your location.

This may sound like a strange practice, but it is done to ensure you are not changing your name in a way that may infringe on someone else (identity theft, harassment, etc.). If someone chooses to challenge your new chosen name, you will both have to appear in court in front of a judge to plead your case. You’ll also be on the line for paying the court fees.

Once the judge approves the name change, you will receive a certified copy of your name change which you will use throughout this process. As always, we recommend that you get multiple copies, and store them in a safe location with important paperwork so that you can access them in the future without much trouble. 

2. How to Change Your Name on Critically Important Documents

Assuming that you now have all the certified documents that legally say you have changed your name, what do you do next? This is where most people realize that learning how to change your name can get pretty muddy and complicated. 

Have you ever filled out an application or federal form and it asks you to list any other names that you have used? This is because if you use a name that is commonplace among employers, schools, or even friends, this is a “legal” name. So that nickname that you have been stuck with since middle school is, in actuality, one of your legal names. You can even apply for a Passport with any name, as long as you have two valid witnesses that corroborate that your name is what you say it is.

While the federal government may deem it a legal name, it doesn’t mean that it is the recommended route in how to change your name. It is just not that simple to change everything your name is formally on without a lot of hoops. It can be done, but if you have the certified court order, it is probably your best bet to go through the process below to avoid headaches in the future. 

So, if you need your name changed everywhere, there is a certain order in how to change your name. The first three things that you will need to change (in order) are:

  1. Social Security Card
  2. Driver’s License
  3. U.S. Passport

Once you have your name changed on these three documents, how to change your name on everything after becomes much simpler. Make sure to follow this order as in most states, you cannot get a new driver’s license without your social security card and you cannot get a new Passport without a driver’s license with the current name you are using. Find all the information you need for how to change your name on these three documents below.

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How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card

The first place that you will need to go will be the Social Security Administration office to get a new social security card. Your social security number does not change. The good thing about this application is that the service itself is free. You will either mail in the application or go in person to your local Social Security Administration office. 

If you have the time, it is suggested that you go to the office in person. If you choose to utilize the mail, you will have to mail your certified copies of your reason for a name change. If something happens to go wrong and your package gets lost or damaged, it can take quite a bit of time and money to replace the documents. If mailing is the best option for you, they will return all documents to you once your application is processed.

For this application, you will need:

  • Form SS-5 – The primary Social Security application form
  • Certified copy of the reason for a name change
  • If over two years from name-changing event, you must provide identity documents such as U.S. driver’s license, U.S. government-issued ID card, or U.S. Passport

To find your local Social Security Administration office, click here.

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How to Change Your Name on Your Driver’s License

The next stop is everyone’s favorite place – the DMV! Unfortunately, you will not be able to do this via mail as it must be done in person. The internal groans are happening but at the very least, you can knock a couple of things off the list here. Not only can you get your updated driver’s license, but you can also update your voter registration. There are a few things to note before you head out on this arduous journey, however.

In most cases, you will be applying for a replacement driver’s license with a name change. This will not change the expiration date of your license or any other information. If you do need to change additional information, you will fill out an application for a “new” driver’s license and fees may be higher. Also, if you have not renewed your driver’s license since 2013, the REAL ID Act may require you to re-identify yourself and you will need additional documentation.

For this application, you will need:

  • Filled out and signed application – You can easily find this document in the Change My Names package, or searching online for your state’s specific forms
  • Certified copy of the reason for a name change
  • Fees – Most state fees for a replacement driver’s license range from $10-$20. You can find the fees on your local DMV website
  • Social security card with a new name (some states require this, but not all of them)
  • If you have not renewed your license since 2013, you may need identity documents to include proof of citizenship (birth certificate, Passport), proof of residency (utility bills, lease agreement), and a current driver’s license

Since some of this is very specific, it is recommended that you look up your local requirements before arriving at the DMV. Also, if your DMV has the feature to make appointments online, utilize it. Many of them will also have the feature to check-in online as well. The least busy times are typically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 am-11 am. If you just do not have the time to wait at the DMV, most states have a DMV Express that will charge higher fees but wait times are almost non-existent. 

How to Change Your Name on Your Vehicle Title/Registration

In some states, you will be able to update your vehicle title and registration at the DMV. If you can, it is suggested to do it all in one visit and knock even more off your to-do list. If it is not available at the DMV, please see the Vehicles section below to see other locations you may need to visit in your state. 

Most states make the title transfer application available online. To save time and ensure you have all the documents that you need, it’s suggested to print, fill, and sign before your arrival. 

To do this, you will need:

  • The original title
  • Certified copy of the name change order

If you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce, make sure that your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s name is added or removed from the vehicle title if you want. If you are removing a name, your dissolution of marriage or divorce decree must outline that vehicle is your property in whole (no proceeds from its sale, etc.). If you choose to add a spouse or not remove an ex-spouse, the second person whose name is on the title must be available to sign if you choose to sell the vehicle.

How to Change Your Name on Your Voter Registration

To vote, your government-issued ID must match the name listed on the voter registry. Since you are already changing your name on your driver’s license, you might as well get it done now. Luckily, most states have voter registration on their driver’s license application already built-in with only the need to check a box, so make sure to look for it on the application. If your state is not one of these or you happened to miss it, do not worry. Use this resource to find your state’s application, print, sign, and mail it off.

How to Change Your Name on Your U.S. Passport

After your social security card and driver’s license are updated to reflect your new name, the next step is updating your Passport. If you meet certain criteria, you can do all this online and via mail. If you are a frequent traveler and have been granted a Known Traveler Number or Global Entry Card, there will be instructions on updating this below as the two entities are not directly involved with the Passport Agency, as many people believe.

To change your name on your Passport via mail, you must have a current Passport that:

  • Has not been damaged
  • Has your former name listed
  • Was issued after you were 16 years of age
  • Was issued in the past 15 years
  • Valid – validity has not been limited to due to multiple replacements or other reasons

By Mail – If you meet the criteria above, excellent! There are two different applications below. Pick the one that fits your description and mail it filled and signed with your current Passport, certified name change documents, and a new color Passport photo. You must use USPS as other courier services cannot deliver to the U.S. Passport Agency P.O. Box address. 

  • The current Passport was issued less than a year ago and the name changing event was less than a year ago – use this application for Passport replacement. There are no fees associated with this application unless expedited processing is chosen which will cost $60.
  • The current Passport was issued more than a year ago – use this application for Passport renewal. The fee for a Passport renewal is $110. The fee for a Passport card renewal (land travel only) is $30. The fee for both is $140. If you choose expedited processing, an additional $60 fee is required.

In-Person – If you did not meet the criteria to apply for your Passport via mail, you will need to apply in person at your local U.S. Passport Agency. You can find locations here. To prepare for your visit, you can pre-fill and sign this application and make sure you take the following with you:

  • Proof of citizenship (original & photocopy of front and back)
  • Proof of identity (original & photocopy of front and back)
  • Recent color Passport photo
  • Certified copy of name changing event (if renewing or replacing your Passport – not necessary for first-time application if you already have your new driver’s license)
  • Fees – The fee for a Passport application is $110. The fee for a Passport card application (land travel only) is $30. The fee for both is $140. The processing fee is $35.

If you are changing your name without a court order and changed it by usage only, you will need these additional items:

  • Two (2) Name Changing Affidavits completed by two (2) people who have known you by both prior and current names – click here
  • Three (3) certified or original public records that prove that you have used your new name for at least 5 years or more

While you can take your Passport photos yourself, the agency is quite picky about the photos that they accept including plain white background, hair placement, and even smiles. If you don’t want to wing it, you can have Passport photos taken at your local CVS, Walgreens, UPS, or FedEx store or you can use a website/app such as MyPassportPhotos and take them yourself with a bit of instruction.

3. How to Change Your Name on Everything Else

At this point, you should have the three main documents that you need to change your name everywhere else. From here on out, there is no order that you need to follow. You can triage the list below based on your life and needs. Try not to get overwhelmed looking at the list as there is probably something listed there that you didn’t think of before. Keep in mind, this article is meant to be comprehensive, and may include things you didn’t think of or things you don’t need.

How to Change Your Name on Your Bank Accounts

Money talks but if your name changes and your bank doesn’t know, they may stop talking to you. To ensure that that there are no delays or issues with accessing your hard-earned money, you will have to go to your bank(s) to make the changes on your accounts and cards. Most banks will require you to change your name in person, but many are now allowing you to go through the process online or via mail. 

Double-check with your institution on how to change your name on all your accounts. You may need:

  • New Driver’s License with your new name
  • Certified name-changing event documents

When going through the process, ensure that your name is changed on:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Investment funds
  • Debit cards
  • Credit cards
  • Checks

How to Change Your Name on Your Credit Cards

Many people have credit cards not issued through a bank. Most creditors will have an application to change your name that you can access through your online account. If you cannot locate this, contact the number listed on the back of your card and ask how to change your name on your account. Many will have a form that you will fill out and submit online or via mail along with a copy of your new driver’s license and/or name-changing event documents. Some will even allow you to do this over the phone.

If you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce, make sure that your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s name is added or removed from all accounts if you want. Double-check to ensure that this is done across all the accounts, so you do not have to go back to redo the work or run into issues in the future.

How to Change Your Name on Your Paycheck

You’ll want to change your name with your employer(s) for multiple reasons regarding your income. First, whether they issue paper checks or direct deposit, your bank may not deposit your funds if the correct name is not listed as the recipient. Second, once your name is officially changed through your employer, they will change the information listed on your tax documents which will make tax season a lot smoother. Contact your employer and find out how to change your name for your employee records.

How to Change Your Name on Your Health Insurance

If your health insurance is fulfilled through your employer, make sure that when you change your name with your employer that it is carried through to your insurance policy. In most cases, your employer will handle this. If they do not or you have health insurance outside of your employer, contact your health insurance directly to find out how to change your name for your account.

If you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce and you need to add or remove your spouse or ex-spouse from the health insurance, make sure to ask for enrollment dates and policies so that you can be prepared when the time comes. Sometimes, you can begin the process immediately with certified documents.

How to Change Your Name on Your Transcripts

If you are enrolled in school, you will need to reach out to your administrative office to find out how to change your name for your enrollment. Changing your name with your school is imperative so that there is no interference with:

  • Scholarships
  • School loans
  • Enrollment/Credits

Sometimes, you may have to reach out to different departments to handle loans/scholarships. Your administrator should advise you through this process. Also, make sure you get a new student ID with your updated name; it is great for major perks but sometimes they just won’t work if they don’t match your driver’s license.

 But of course, the main reason you’ll want to change your name is to ensure your diploma is printed with the right name! You didn’t work so hard to have to go back to school after you graduate!

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How to Change Your Name on Your Retirement Accounts

If your employer offers a 401(k) or other retirement plans, make sure that your name is changed across these accounts as well. While your name not being changed on the account would never keep you from gaining access to your money, it can cause delays and unneeded frustrations. 

Some employers utilize a pension fund that is handled by a separate entity. If this is the case, you will need to contact the pension fund agency and change your name directly through them. 

How to Change Your Name on Your Other Investments

These accounts listed here are for your future which is why they may not jump to mind immediately. If you have additional retirement accounts outside of your employer or one that is managed by a pension fund agency, you will need to contact them directly to find out how to change your name through them. If you are already receiving retirement and/or benefits, make sure that your name is updated with the payor so there is no lost time in payments.

If you changed your name with social security already, no need to worry there. However, if you are going by the legal name change by usage process, be aware that when it is time to collect social security, you may run into issues even if you’ve been paying into it with your social security number and taxes. This is not to say that you won’t be able to get your social security, but you may have to prove that you are who you say you are to the social security agency which can be a headache. 

So, when it comes to your future, make sure to the update you name for the following:

  • Pension/Retirement Accounts – Pension, spousal IRA, self-employed IRA, etc.
  • Investment Accounts – All stocks, mutual funds, etc.
  • Life Insurance – If your name change is due to marriage or divorce, this may be an ample time to readjust your life insurance policy accordingly.

When updating your name for any of these accounts, use this as an opportunity to update your beneficiary as well if necessary.

Home

When it comes to your home, there are a few aspects that need to reflect your name change. In this instance, a lot of these entities work together so it is suggested that when you start the name changing process for your home, you change all aspects listed below within a short time so there are no overlapping issues involving the change. 

If you are adding or removing names of individuals from any of the following, begin with the mortgage, as the title and insurance cannot be changed until the mortgage accurately lists individuals on it. 

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How to Change Your Name on Your Mortgage

Contact your mortgage company to find out how to change your name on your mortgage loan. They will advise you of the process and their requirements. 

  • Changing due to marriage: If you are changing your name due to marriage and you want to add your spouse’s name to the mortgage, they will have to go through the process of applying and agreeing to become a co-borrower on the mortgage loan. Your mortgage company will walk you through this process.
  • Changing due to divorce: If you are applying for a name change due to divorce, the divorce decree should indicate which properties will remain with which party. If the dissolution of marriage indicates that the property in whole is to remain with you in whole (no payments of equity or reimbursement from sale), then the name of the ex-spouse can be removed if the following is approved:
    • You can show that you are financially responsible for the mortgage as an individual or;
    • You can provide a new, approved co-borrower as a replacement and;
    • Your mortgage contract allows for the change (a.k.a an assumption)

How to Change Your Name on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Changing your name on your homeowner’s insurance will again be based on their policies. Contact your home insurance to find out how to change your name on the policy. 

  • Changing due to marriage: If you are changing your name due to marriage, you can add your spouse to the insurance policy. In most cases, you do not need the individual to be listed on the mortgage. 
  • Changing due to divorce: If you are changing your name due to divorce and wish to remove you ex-spouse from the insurance, make sure you have done so with the mortgage first as most insurance/mortgage companies require all individuals on the mortgage to be listed on the insurance policy.

How to Change Your Name on Your House Title/Deed

To change your name on your house title or deed, you will need to contact the title company that you used when you purchased the home or the local county clerk’s office to find out how to change your name on your title. There may be a filing fee required depending on the state, but in most cases, this is a free recording service. You will simply need your certified name changing documents.

  • Changing due to marriage: If you are changing your name due to marriage and you want to add your spouse’s name to the title, they will need to already be listed on the mortgage and homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Changing due to divorce: If you are applying for a name change due to divorce, the divorce decree should indicate which properties will remain with which party. If the dissolution of marriage indicates that the property in whole is to remain with you in whole (no payments of equity or reimbursement from sale), then the name of the ex-spouse can be removed if the following is approved.

If your dissolution of marriage or divorce decree will not/does not stipulate the property is to remain with you, your ex-spouse can sign a Quit Claim Deed in front of a notary public and have it notarized which will serve as the necessary documentation to have their name removed from the title.

If you decide to sell, refinance, or take a loan out against your mortgage, your title must be in your correct, legal name before any of these actions can take place. Also, if an ex-spouse is still listed on the title, they will need to sign paperwork to approve any of these actions as well.

How to Change Your Name on Your Utilities

Changing your name on your utilities is not something that seems like a huge deal and most of the time it isn’t. As long as you are paying your bills, they don’t care one way or the other. However, you don’t want to end up in a bind and have the utility company not help you when you have a leak or something disastrous. While this may be an extreme example, you don’t want to run into this issue. 

Contact each utility company and find out how to change your name on your accounts; in most cases, you can send an email to their customer service email address with a generic name change request. This includes the account you have with them, your former name, your new name, and the date. You will also want to include a copy of the certified name change documents.

While you are changing your name, also use this as an opportunity to update your payment method if they changed when you updated your name at your financial institutions. Often, debit cards and credit cards will be declined with an inaccurate name. Also, you may have a new expiration date or CVV code with your newly issued debit/credit cards.

Common Utilities Checklist:

  • Water
  • Electric
  • Trash
  • Gas
  • Cable
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cell Phone

Vehicles

After you have dealt with all the changes for your home, your next big asset is usually your vehicle(s). You will want to make sure that your vehicle title and registration is updated to avoid any issues on the road. 

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How to Change Your Name on Your Vehicle Title/Registration

Changing your name on a vehicle title and registration is different in every state. In some states, you will go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, so you will have already taken care of this. Some other states will allow this change at the county tax assessors or department of revenue. In most cases, there is a recording fee for the change. 

In most states, you will need:

  • New Driver’s License with your new name
  • Certified name-changing event documents
  • Original vehicle title

Most states make the title transfer application available online. To save time and ensure you have all the documents that you need, it is suggested to print, fill, and sign before your arrival. 

If you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce, make sure that your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s name is added or removed from the vehicle title if you want. If you are removing a name, your dissolution of marriage or divorce decree must outline that vehicle is your property in whole (no proceeds from its sale, etc.).

If you choose to add a spouse or not remove an ex-spouse, the second person whose name is on the title must be available to sign if you choose to sell the vehicle.

How to Change Your Name on Your Auto Insurance

Once you have updated the title for your vehicle, you will need to contact your auto insurance company to find out how to change your name on your policy. They will let you know what documents they need from you. If you are changing your name due to marriage or divorce, make sure that your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s name is added or removed from the vehicle policy if you want. 

Travel

Everyone knows that to travel internationally, you must have your Passport. Even to fly within the county, you must have Travel Security Agency approved government identification to get on a flight. That’s why your driver’s license and Passport were in the top things to change when updating your name. But many people who travel a lot might forget to change their names on their frequent flyer accounts. And guess what, they will not let you use your TSA precheck number or your rewards account if the name on your account does not match your ticket. So, make sure you know how to change your name with the following documents/entities:

How to Change Your Name on Your Known Traveler Number

If you have a known traveler number or a Trusted Travel number for TSA Pre-check, you will need to update your name by calling 855-347-8371 Monday-Friday between 8 am-10 pm ET. Or you can fill out the online form here and they will contact you regarding what documentation you need. If you received your Known Traveler Number from Global Entry, proceed below.

How to Change Your Name on Your Global Entry/NEXUS/Sentri/FAST

To change your name for any of these programs, you will need to make an appointment at the enrollment center. You will need:

  • Certified name changing documents
  • Updated Passport

To find the correct program and make an appointment at your local enrollment center, click here.

How to Change Your Name on Your Rewards Programs

Make sure to update your name on all your travel reward programs such as airlines, hotels, and car rentals. These will vary depending on the company, so be sure to check with them individually to understand their processes.

How to Change Your Name on Important Documents

Now, you’re almost done! But there are still some very important documents that you need to change your name before you call it a day. Depending on how your documents have been drafted, you may need to update them in front of a notary or lawyer.

Common documents that may need updating include: 

  • Will
  • Living will
  • Power of Attorney

If you are updating your name due to marriage or divorce, use this time to update the contents and beneficiaries to fit your current life. If you do not have these documents, perhaps now is the time to ensure all the assets you have updated with your new name are protected. 

Talk with your lawyer or estate planner to figure out which of these will need updating.

4. How to Change Your Name – Notify Without Documentation

Finally, there are some places you do not need to provide documentation to change your name, but it is still important that you notify them. You may think you fully understand how to change your name at this point, but these last few will take you from “mostly done” to “comprehensively done”, so give them a read and see which may apply to your situation.

Doctors/Pharmacy

Contact your doctor’s office and pharmacy once your name has been changed on your health insurance. This way there will be no delay in prescriptions or billing issues with your medical providers.

How to Change Your Name 11

Schools

If you have children in school, do not forget to notify the administration of your new name and make sure they update your child’s file. If an emergency happens (and it’s a secure school), there may be issues if your name does not match the parent’s/emergency contacts.

Emergency Contacts

If you know anyone that lists you as an emergency contact, let them know that your name has changed so that they can update their records accordingly.

Subscription Accounts

Subscription accounts often auto-draft your account. With your new debit/credit card, your subscription may be put on hold if you do not update your name and payment information. Make sure to update accounts like:

  • Amazon Prime
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • iTunes

Payment Apps

So many transactions now are done through payment apps. Make sure to update your accounts so that a payment isn’t delayed while you make changes to your account profile. Common payment apps can include: 

  • Apple Pay
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Cash App

How to Change Your Name … Still Need Help?

While this article is quite comprehensive, everyone’s life is unique and there may be places you need your name changed that wasn’t listed. Or perhaps it was but your situation makes it a bit more complicated. Or even yet, you just may be thinking that you need help to get this all done. If that’s the case, find the extra resources to help you through the name changing process.

Lawyer

You can always hire a lawyer that will know your state requirements for changing a name. A local attorney will most likely charge between $1,000-$3,500. Some of the online resources will be significantly cheaper. The attorney will help draft the application to change your name and with obtaining all certified copies of the approved name change order. A lawyer will not change your name on personal accounts or assets for you once your name is changed. 

ChangeMyNames

If the lawyer route is not for you, no worries! We put together ChangeMyNames to make it straightforward to change your name everywhere, with ease. If you like doing things manually, this article is a comprehensive guide on how to change your name. However, if you want to save time, fill out the packet on our website, and get your pre-populated forms emailed right to you. It’s simple and convenient!

A Quick Recap of How to Change Your Name

In summary, here is a rundown of the steps you take when learning how to change your name. 

Begin with the Court

  1. File/petition name change with the court (different depending on reason)
  2. Obtain certified copies of name change documents

Critically Important Documents 

  1. Social security card
  2. Driver’s license
  3. U.S. Passport

Potential Name Change Locations

  • Employer(s)
  • Schools
  • Retirement/Investment Accounts
  • Homeowner Information
  • Vehicle Information
  • Travel Accounts and Rewards
  • Important & Legal Documents
  • Others – voter registration, doctors, pharmacies, payment accounts, etc.

If you’ve made it to the end of this list, congrats! You’ve now done everything that you needed to legally change your name everywhere it counts. Remember, you can manually go through this guide, step by step, and apply everywhere you need to. Or, you can take the headache out of the process, and let ChangeMyNames do the hard work for you. We’ll send you pre-filled documents that you can mail/walk in and submit, and you’ll be all set. Now go and enjoy being the new you!

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