The first weeks of marriage should be a magical, blissful time. But, newlywed frequent travelers might be stressing over the daunting process of a name change after marriage! Fret not, this guide will clearly outline the steps to quickly and efficiently change your name after getting married. There’s no need for an expensive name change kit or service! We’ll cover everything from your passport to your frequent flyer accounts. Yes, those need to be updated too!
*Note: the legal document advice in this guide is intended for American newlyweds. I’m not familiar with other countries’ legal requirements for name changes. The US’s requirements are hard enough to understand!
Changing Your Name on Government Documents
Submitting Your Marriage Certificate
First things first, on the next business day after getting married, submit your marriage license. Depending on your state, you may be able to bring your signed marriage license to the marriage bureau yourself, otherwise you will mail it in. I brought mine to the Miami-Dade Marriage Bureau myself, and within 15 minutes, I had the signed, stamped, officially-certified marriage in my hands. If you mail it, you may have to wait about a week for the certified copy to show up in your mailbox. This document is the key to the name change hoops you’re about to jump through!
Changing Your Name at Social Security
Next step: Social Security. Everyone’s second-to-last favorite place to spend an afternoon (least favorite being the DMV, that comes later) is one of your first stops on your journey to a new name. You’ll need to bring:
- Original, certified marriage certificate (not a copy)
- Your existing social security card (with your old name)
- A form of photo ID (passport, driver’s license) – I brought this, but was never asked for it
A quick chat with the Social Security employee is all you need to do; they’ll change your name in their system and mail you a new Social Security Card. Mine came in 4 business days, but they say to allow two weeks. Oh, and did I mention this change is 100% free?!
Changing Your Name on Your Driver’s License
In order to travel by air throughout the 50 states, you’ll need an updated photo ID with your new name on it. Assuming you booked your tickets with your new name, that is. Changing your name at the DMV, while unpleasant, is a pretty straightforward process once you’ve received your new social security card. Bring the following documents with you:
- Original, certified marriage certificate (not a copy)
- Your current driver’s license (with your old name)
- Your shiny new social security card (with your new name)
- Payment for the name change fee – in Florida, the DMV accepts credit card and it cost $25.
Every state processes new driver’s licenses a little differently. In Florida, I received mine right there at the DMV (after waiting in yet another line), but some states may issue a temporary paper license while you wait for the permanent one to arrive in the mail.
Changing Your Name on Your Passport
Possibly the most exciting (and most important for a newlywed jetsetter) name change after marriage is your passport. It’s your ticket in and out of the US, and for many of us, a treasured memento of past trips. For such an important document, the process is pretty simple.
- Fill out the name change form, which you can do online and then print out here. If your passport is less than a year old, you need the DS-5504 form (the third one). For passports older than one year, you need form DS-82 (the second one).
- Take a passport photo – convenience stores like CVS or Walgreens can do this, but they’re not the most economical. Costco has a great deal on passport photos (4 for about $5), or you can take your own photo against a white background and edit it to the correct proportions. All your passport photo FAQ’s are found here.
- Buy a money order or fill out a check for the total fee amount.
- For passports less than one year old, there is no fee! Woohoo!
- For passports older than one year, the standard fee is $110.
- If you want to expedite your new passport, you can pay an extra $60.
- You can also order overnight delivery of your new passport, which costs $15.45.
- Put the following documents in an envelope (probably a waterproof, 8.5×11 size mailer is best):
- Completed (and signed!) name change form
- Check or money order
- Original, certified marriage license
- Current passport (with your old name) – don’t worry, you’ll get it back!
- Mail all of your documentation via USPS to the Passport Processing Center. The address depends on where you live and whether you want expedited service. I mailed mine overnight with tracking and insurance, which cost about $20. I wasn’t going to mess around with the possibility of losing my documents!
The current processing time is about 6 to 8 weeks, or 2 to 3 weeks if you choose the expedited service. I opted for the expedited service and I mailed my documents out on October 24. I received my new passport on November 1 – so fast! My old passport (containing my treasured Machu Picchu stamp!) and marriage certificate came in a separate envelope about a week later.
In total, changing my name after marriage on my government documents took less than one month! Our wedding was on October 7, and by November 1, I had a new passport in hand.
Changing Your Name on Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Making a name change on Global Entry was a bit confusing for me. I couldn’t find much information online about what you need to do. Well, here’s what you need to do to change your name on Global Entry. Changing your name on Global Entry will also change your name on TSA PreCheck.
- Go to your closest Enrollment Center, no appointment needed
- Bring your Global Entry card and your new passport
- Speak with an officer who will make the name change for you
- That’s it!
This one was surprisingly simple! Since your Global Entry number will actually stay the same, you can keep using your Known Traveler Number as you normally would. You can order a new Global Entry card if you’d like, but it’s not necessary since your number is tied to your new name and passport in their system.
Changing Your Name on Frequent Flyer Programs
Airlines take their frequent flyer miles seriously, and changing your name on these programs isn’t as simple as it sounds! Be prepared to break out the fax machine (do they still exist?) or send over some scans.
Delta SkyMiles Name Change
I first did the easier to find, but much more tedious process that I found on Delta’s website, which involved mailing a copy of my marriage certificate to a PO Box in Atlanta. It didn’t work. TL;DR – do this. Go to this help section on Delta’s website, then select the “Get Technical Assistance” category, the “SkyMiles/Login” subcategory, and “Update SkyMiles Account” as the subcategory #2.
You’ll enter your personal info, SkyMiles number, and hit next. Then, you’ll be able to upload a copy of your marriage certificate and a form of photo ID with your new name. After I submitted this, my new name was on my SkyMiles account in just a couple days.
American AAdvantage Name Change
The best way to change your name on AAdvantage is to call the customer service number (800-882-8880, or your elite status number). Once you get ahold of a human, tell them you need to change your name. They’ll send you an email, and you’ll just reply to that email with a scanned copy of your marriage certificate and a new photo ID. Like with Delta, your account will reflect your new name pretty quickly.
United Mileage Plus Name Change
United also allows you to upload your documentation online, and you can do so through this link. You’ll just need to log in with your Mileage Plus credentials.
JetBlue TrueBlue Name Change
Updating your TrueBlue account just requires a quick phone call to JetBlue’s customer service team. Call 1-800-538-2583.
Related: Check out my tips for surviving a long-haul flight!
Changing Your Name on Other Travel Services
Airlines are the strictest when it comes to name changes. As of yet, no one has asked for any documentation when changing my name on Airbnb, online travel agencies (like Expedia), hotel loyalty programs, or Uber.
Changing Your Name on Priority Pass
If you have a Priority Pass membership, you manage it one of two ways: through a credit card or through Priority Pass directly.
- If your Priority Pass membership is through a credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a quick call to Chase is all you need to do. They’ll arrange for Priority Pass to send you a replacement card. I recommend changing your name on the credit card first to avoid any confusion.
- If your membership is through Priority Pass directly, call their customer service line at 1-800-352-2834 for US, Canada, and Mexico residents. Other customer support numbers are here.
Changing Your Name on Credit Cards
Because things aren’t complicated enough, each credit card company has a slightly different process for changing your name on your credit card. Start by calling the number on the back of your card or going to the Help section in your online account. Some card companies, like Chase, need to speak with you, while some companies, like American Express, allow you to upload your documentation online and they’ll send you a new card.
You’ll definitely want to make sure any airline-affiliated credit cards are updated with your new name; you want to avoid any discrepancies between your credit card and your frequent flyer account when accruing or transferring miles.
Have you changed your name after marriage? Or are you thinking about it? If you stay organized, the process was actually easier and faster than I expected!