As you’re stepping into a new chapter of your life, and you’re finally married or about to, you might be wondering one of the biggest questions out there, “how do I legally change my name in Pittsburgh after my wedding?”
And that’s why I want to make it as easy as possible and give you the resources and information you need to make sure this process is simple and easy. The good news is that Pennsylvania makes it relatively straightforward and you don’t need to be daunted by the paperwork or the legal processes; with a few tips, you’ll navigate the name change process like a pro.
Ready? Good! Let’s get a bit technical.
Marriage Certificates is required for Name Change in Pennsylvania
The first thing you need to know is that after you say “I do,” your minister or officiant will have you sign your marriage license. Then they will file it with the County Clerk’s Office. Approximately two weeks later, you will receive your certified marriage certificate in the mail. This certificate is the legal document that is legal “proof” of your marriage.
Here’s a tip so you can do this as soon as possible, one certified marriage certificate won’t be sufficient. It’s better to be ahead and request at least two additional certified marriage certificates. You will need them to file all your name-change forms at the federal and state level. Having multiple copies allows you to file multiple forms at once, that way you streamline the process. It’s always a good idea to keep one of the certified marriage certificates with you just in case.
You can request additional certified marriage certificates from the county were you were married, the biggest one in Pittsburgh is Allegheny County.
The First Step is your Social Security
So where do you start first? The first place to notify of your new married name, is the Social Security Administration. You will need to complete the SS-5 form and file it along with your certified marriage certificate, and either your state driver’s license or U.S. Passport. There isn’t a fee to change your name on your social security card, so no need to bring your credit card!
Make sure you check if there are online applications or file-by-mail option, which in this case there is for the SS-5. The less time you need to take out of your day for this, the better, don’t you think?!
Keep in mind that you will need to send your U.S. Passport, so If you have international travel booked, especially having just tied the knot, you probably have plans to take off and travel to a exotic destination to enjoy your honeymoon, so take this into consideration. It can take anywhere from two to four for your new Social Security card to be sent to you along with your passport.
This is a very important step in the process, and failing to update your name might cause a mismatch between your SSA record and your tax records. Such discrepancies can lead to unnecessary complications, like delays in processing your tax returns and additional headaches, which you can avoid altogether by following these steps.
The next step is to notify The IRS
The next stop in the process of changing your name in Pittsburgh after getting married is to notify the IRS. For this, you will need the IRS 8822 form, which let me just say is not required. However, it notifies the IRS of your new name, and safeguards you against the nightmare of having your tax returns held while the office figures out who you are. It’s really easy and since you’re already changing your name everywhere, I highly suggest you don’t live this step out. You’ll answer their 7 questions, and mail in the form to have that peace of mind when tax season rolls around.
After your federal government name-change forms are filed, it’s time to begin your Pennsylvania name change forms. To change from your maiden name to your married name on your Pennsylvania driver’s license, you will need to complete the DL-80 form and file it along with your certified marriage certificate, and proof of Pennsylvania residence (such as a utility bill) if your address has changed.
Updating your driver’s license name change ensures that you have a valid form of identification that accurately reflects your current legal name. This is essential for many day-to-day activities. For instance, when you present your license as a form of ID, be it at the bank, when voting, or even when making certain purchases, it’s crucial that it matches your other personal documents.
Pennsylvania law makes it difficult, but not impossible to take your maiden name as your middle name. If you wish to take your maiden name as a middle name, you will need to file for your new Social Security Card, U.S. Passport, and Pennsylvania Vote Registration card in your new married name and wait for them to arrive BEFORE you file for your new driver’s license.
As long as you present all three of these documents you will have no trouble getting your maiden name as a middle name on your Pennsylvania driver’s license. *You can also swap in any tax records or government issued IDs in your new name.
You’re almost done! After you’ve filed for your name change with federal and state-level offices, the next step is notifying all of your banks, credit cards insurance providers, mortgage providers, student loan lenders, medical providers. That way all the legal records match and there’s no confusion whatsoever.
Don’t forget to notify other entities about your marriage and name change, especially your employers, utilities, insurance companies, medical providers, any professional associations your part of,
See? It’s not that complicated, it’s relatively an easy process to change your name in Pennsylvania after getting married, so let’s do a quick recap!
Quick Recap: Changing my legal name in Pennsylvania after getting married
You will need the following documents to get a legal name change in Pennsylvania after marriage:
Your marriage certificate will serve as your primary legal document for changing your name. After you get married, you will file your marriage license with the Allegheny courthouse or the county courthouse you married in, and then you should receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate by mail in about two weeks. The best thing is not to book any international travel during this time since you won’t have your passport.
Next, you’ll need to notify the appropriate government agencies of your new name.
Your marriage certificate grants you the legal documentation to change your name, but you’ll need to notify the Federal Social Security Administration and then the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. You may also need to notify additional agencies depending on your county, which we already went into detail above.
Remember, start by filling out Social Security form SS-5 and take the form to your local Social Security Office. The staff will verify your documents and give you a certificate showing that the Social Security Office has approved your name change. If you rather do it my mail, you will send your SS-5 form to your local Social Security Office with a certified copy of your proof of identification, marriage certificate, and proof of age. Remember that it’ll take about two to four weeks for your documents to be returned to you with your new social security card by mail. Don’t forget that you won’t be able to use your passport for travel for this period.
After 24-48 hours, you can change your name at your nearest Pennsylvania Driver License office. You’ll need to bring the certificate approving your name change from the Social Security Office, along with your certified marriage certificate, photo ID, and the various documents that prove your citizenship/legal residency, Social Security, and current address. At your local DMV, you’ll need to update the name on your driver’s license or state ID card and your vehicle registration.
Your new license and Social Security Card should be mailed to you within six weeks.
Finally, change your name everywhere else.
You can now use your newly issued Social Security card and driver’s license (or state ID) to change other legal identification, like your passport to change your name everywhere else, such as banks, schools, medical institutions and all that you can think of!
I hope this guide made it as easy as possible to make a to-do list of what you need to change your name legally in Pittsburgh after tying the knot. It might sound tedious and like a lot, but the sooner you start now that you know what’s the first step, the easier this process will feel!
Now you can enjoy having a family name and continue your journey as a newlywed and all that is to come!