If you have recently gotten married, divorced or would like to change your given name for any reason, you might be wondering how to legally change your name. In order to legally change your given name, you must apply for a new Social Security card with your new name, provide the necessary identifying documentation, and then you can change over other forms of ID that reflect your new name.
First, you will need to fill out an application for a new Social Security card. You can access this form (SS-5) on the Social Security Administration’s website or by going to your local Social Security office.
Once you have filled out your application seeking a new Social Security card, you will need to provide the SSA with legal identification documentation reflecting your name change status. Acceptable legal documents include a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, a court order proving your name change, or a certificate of Naturalization with your new name. You can take your application and documentation to a local Social Security office for processing, or you can mail in your application along with your identity document. The SSA will only accept original documentation, so a photocopy will not do. As an alternative you can submit a copy of your identity document certified by the issuing agency. But don’t worry; all documents that are mailed in are returned to you.
Once you have obtained a new Social Security card that reflects your new name, you can apply for other forms of ID with your new name. The Department of Motor Vehicles will only allow you to change your name on your driver’s license once you have changed your name on your Social Security card. Next you can change your name on your credit cards.