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How do I change the name on my Social Security card?


If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce or another reason, notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible, so officials can update your file and send you a new Social Security card. In limited circumstances, you may be able to do this entirely online, but in most cases, you’ll have to visit a Social Security office.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) website has a name-change questionnaire you can use to see if you qualify for full or partial online application. Whatever the method, you will not be charged to apply for or receive the new card, which should arrive in the mail within 14 days after your application is processed. Your Social Security number will not change.

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When you can file for a name change online

You can complete an application for a replacement card with a new name online, with no need to visit a Social Security facility, if you meet these criteria:

  • You are a U.S. citizen at least 18 years old with a U.S. mailing address.
  • You are changing your name due to marriage.
  • The marriage occurred at least 30 days ago.
  • Your marriage license or certificate was issued in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota or Wyoming.
  • You have an online My Social Security account. (If you don’t have an account, you can create one in a few minutes at the SSA website.)

As part of the online application, you’ll need to enter information from a U.S. driver’s license and your marriage certificate.

When you need to go to a Social Security office

If you live in one of the other 36 states, the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory, or if you are changing your name for a reason other than marriage (such as divorce, naturalization or gender identity), you may be able to start the process by filling out an online form, but you will have to finish it at an SSA office.

You have 45 days from when you filed the online portion of the application to appear in person with proof of identity and the name change. To avoid long waits at your local office, Social Security recommends calling in advance to schedule an appointment.

You'll need to bring evidence of the name change and proof of your identity. Evidence of the name change could be:

  • A marriage certificate (at least 30 days old).
  • A divorce decree.
  • A certificate of U.S. naturalization.
  • A court order granting the name change.

For proof of identity, provide an unexpired, government-issued photo ID such as:

  • A U.S. passport.
  • A driver's license.
  • A state-issued ID card.

If you don't have one of these, Social Security might accept:

  • A military ID card.
  • Medical records that show your name and age (or date of birth) and have a doctor’s signature or stamp. These must be records of treatment; hospital bills, payment receipts or admission letters are not accepted. 
  • A health insurance or Medicaid card that shows your name and your age, date of birth or photograph. (Medicare cards are not accepted.)
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You may need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship if that status is not reflected in Social Security records. Acceptable documents include:

  • A U.S. birth certificate.
  • An unexpired U.S. passport.
  • A certification of naturalization.
  • A certificate of citizenship.
  • A U.S. consular report of birth abroad.

Your documents must be originals or certified copies from the agency that issued the original — for example, the county where you received your marriage license. Social Security will not accept photocopies or even notarized copies.

Noncitizens must provide immigration documents proving their identity and authorization to work in the United States, along with their foreign passport and a legal record of a name change. The SSA has an online pamphlet with details in English and Spanish.

If you want to apply in person

If you are unable to start the process online or prefer not to, you can apply on paper at a Social Security office. You’ll need to fill out Form SS-5, the standard application for a Social Security card, which you can obtain at the office or download from the Social Security website. Present the completed form at your local office, along with original copies of the documents proving your identity, legal name change and, if necessary, immigration status.

Keep in mind

  • Failing to notify the Social Security Administration of a name change can have consequences. If your legal name does not match the name on your Social Security record, it could prevent the agency from crediting earnings to you or cause delays in processing your tax return.
  • If you aren’t changing your name but simply need to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, you can request a new card online in most states, using your My Social Security account.
  • To update or correct other information in your Social Security record, such as citizenship status, gender or date or place of birth, you’ll need to go to a Social Security office.

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