From Miss to Military Mrs: Name Change & Paperwork Checklist

Okay, so you’ve gotten married, signed the papers and changed your name on Facebook. Now what??

Emma Stone Alcohol would be nice

I've complied a list of the order of steps for paperwork for your name change and becoming an official military spouse. Keep in mind, this list was made while keeping North Carolina as my permanent state of residence while living in Virginia.

Miss to Military Mrs graphic

1. Get your marriage certificate - This is your NUMBER 1 PRIORITY. Without this, you are nothing. It shouldn’t take too long, ours took less than 2 weeks to be available. You will likely have to pay for it, and if you have changed states, you have to have it mailed to you. Make sure to get multiple copies, you will need them.

There are 2 things at the next step that you can do without anything else:

2.1 Get your new Social Security Card - Find your local Social Security office to get your new SSN card and have name legally changed. You will need your current SSN card, driver’s license, birth certificate and marriage license.

2.2 Get your military ID - Go to one of the card offices with your spouse to get your ID. You will need your marriage license, SSN card (new or old name), driver’s license, birth certificate and passport and your spouse will need to have their ID as well. At the office, they will ask you what you want your name to be and will print the card right there. With that, you are automatically enrolled in Tricare standard and DEERS. Which means you are in the Department of Defense database now and are super official. You can also go to the NEX, Commissary and get on base (woo!)

3. Get your driver's license - Once your cool new SSN card comes in (should take about 2 weeks in the mail), you can get your new license. Mine was hard because I had to go back to North Carolina to get this done. I also found out that you can only have a North Carolina address on your North Carolina license. I changed mine to my parent’s address in NC and changed my name. Word of warning, they do make you take a new picture. I didn’t know that and drove 3.5 hours straight to the DMV. No makeup. No hair done. Ugh.

4. Change bank account names - Once you get your new license in the mail (again about 2 weeks) you can now change your name on any bank accounts or credit cards you have. I have a bank account and a credit card with 2 different banks. I went into each with my new SSN card, driver's license and marriage certificate and told them what I wanted to do. I also changed my address at the same time to make sure everything came to me. Both places were very easy, just had to fill out a form and tell them the reason. They change it and tell you the new card will come to you in (you guessed it) about 2 weeks.

Next things that can be done in whatever order now:

5. a. Vehicle registration - That should be easy to change since you changed your license, the new name should be in the DMV records now. This is a little tricky, since I kept it as NC, you need to change the mailing address to your new state, VA, but keep car as registered in NC. I used my parent’s address again for where the car is registered/located. If you do all of this and you are not close to getting a new sticker/inspection, you have to pay $20 to get your new registration sent to you. Do it, it’s better if you get pulled over to have everything correct. Mine luckily is coming up, and somehow came to my VA address with my old name. so I have to change all of that when I pay it.

b. Car Insurance - Geico only needed a reason for changing it, no paperwork necessary. Just log in online and find the option to make changes to your profile/account.

c. Renter’s Insurance - Mine required an email stating the name change and a picture of my new license/ID showing I was legit.

d. Car Title - Still working on that, but only really necessary when you sell your car. It's my understanding you just fill out some paperwork to get a new one with your new ID.

e. Passport - You have a year after you get married to change your passport for FREE. Fill out the DS-5504 Form, send it in and they will send you a new passport.

6. Joint Bank Accounts - If you are going to do any joint banking, now is the time to do it. To be added to a Navy Federal account, you both have to be present to fill out the paperwork. Make sure to carve out some time, there's usually a bit of a wait. BUT, you get your card right then and there, which is pretty damn cool. It's a chip card too, which is good for security purposes.

7. Occupation Paperwork - If you are keeping your current job, have them change all of your paperwork, paychecks, employee info, etc. My move caused me to leave my job before the name change and just started the new job with the new name (easy enough!).

8. Anything Left Over - Now you can change whatever else that has your name that you want to change. Any online accounts, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Side note: Have your spouse take in your marriage license to work. There they will be able to change your spouse’s life insurance policy to go to you, and change your sailor's records so that it says they are married (which changes their income). This update does not count as their will nor does it give you Power of Attorney. Your spouse needs to go to the legal office and have them fill out the paperwork for the PoA; they will need basic info, your name, birthday and SSN, but you don't have to be there. They'll get it notarized at the office and that's all that needs to be done. All of these things will need to be done asap as well. You never know what can happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I hope this helps! I'll make any updates once I get all of our paperwork in order. Let me know if you have any tips of your own!

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