Changing Your Last Name: A How-To
It's funny how much of an issue it's become for women to change their last name when they get married. Not too long ago, most women didn't have an entire career and loads of accomplishments tied to their last name prior to getting married. Nowadays, though, many women don't even want to deal with it - and that's totally understandable. For me, I always felt I wanted to have the same last name as my husband. I especially want it to be a cohesive unit when we have children; it just seems less confusing to me. It was also the way I grew up and I really appreciate it. I do have a public persona, however, that is tied to my maiden name (what a dumb phrase, no? Oh look at the helpless little Maiden! Gross.), so I'll be keeping that name professionally. I thought it would be nice to compile some tips that I've been learning as I've gone through the process as I hope they can be beneficial to you!I'm sure I'll come across more changes I need to make as time passes, so I'll continually come back here to update it. (By the way, let me know if you have any questions or had a different experience!) Here goes:
First of all, I use an app called Scanner Pro (I cannot tell you how many times it has saved my life). I highly recommend getting an app like this so you can scan your marriage certificates and other documents into your phone. That way, if you ever need to verify during this "in between" process that you are who you say you are, you have documentation handy to prove it. You can email, fax, and share in multiple other ways from within the app. It's so handy (especially when archaic companies ask you to fax them something). But anyways, step number one:
1. Get a new social security card.
This was a fairly easy process. Just go to the social security office with several forms of photo ID and your official marriage certificate (the one with the raised seal on it), and once you initiate the change you should have a new social security card within a few weeks. Mine took less than a week. NOTE: I was told that if I went to the DMV that day, I could use my old social security card and could apply for my new driver's license. Otherwise, you have to wait until you receive your new SS card in the mail before you can apply for your new license,
2. Get a new driver's license.
Again, this can be done the same day you apply for your social security card. Just go with all of the same documents to the DMV, pay your fee (mine was $12), and they will give you a temporary license while you wait to receive your new one. Mine took a little over a week to receive.
3. Bank cards
I bank with Chase and I had to go into the physical branch with all of my documentation (ID, marriage certificate, etc.). They initiate the change from their end and mail your new cards out to you in 5-7 business days. Your current cards will continue to work until you activate your new cards. (Did you have a different experience with your bank? Let me know!)
4. American Express
This one was actually pretty simple. Just log into the website, go to Account Services > Personal Details > Edit Name, then fill out the form and upload supporting documentation (i.e. marriage certificate). Easy peasy.
So, in order to rush your passport and receive it in a few days (rather than a few weeks), you have to have an itinerary showing that you are leaving the country and need to have it rushed. UPS does offer this service and my hubby says he did it at the local passport office. I contacted A1 Visa & Passport services and they took care of everything for me. I paid the fee and had my passport back within three days. Heads up - rushing your passport is not cheap.
NOTE: You have to send your old passport (and old passport card, if you have one) in with your original marriage certificate in order to receive your new passport. It's nerve-wracking, but hey, it's what you gotta do.
This one is a joke...(like the TSA)...I'm not even finished with it yet (they said it would take a few months to get to my request), so will have to update you when I get it settled.
7. Global Entry
So this one is obviously only necessary if you already have Global Entry. If that's the case, you first have to make sure you update your passport. Next, you have to contact one of the enrollment centers (which you can find here) and make an appointment by phone to come in and make the change. Make sure you have your membership number (also known as your "known traveler" number) handy as well as the passport number for your new passport when you make the call. Then you will schedule an appointment to go in with your new passport in hand to make the change. I'm hopeful this will change my name with the TSA too, but some woman told me via the phone that they are separate...so who knows.
UPDATE: I went to my appointment this morning, which was in the National Museum of the American Indian with no signs for Global Entry at all (weird), and very unfortunately dealt with the biggest jerk ever. However, they took my passport upstairs, apparently changed my name in the system, and brought it back down to me. I just checked my GOES account online, and indeed, it has been updated. So that's a good one to check off the list.
You have to -get this- fax a copy of your marriage license to the Amtrak Fax Number (215-856-7708). Make sure to include your Amtrak account number, proof of name change, and a statement requesting to change your name. NOTE: They don't notify you that they've received your request. You have to log into your account to confirm that the change has been made. Thankfully, mine successfully was. :)
9. Gym Membership
I assume most gyms are the same and that you have to email member services. I use Blink Fitness and had to email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the change. Basically, just as the front desk what you need to do the next time you go in to work out. Haven't gotten a response yet for this one....
10. Hotel rewards programs
-Starwood Preferred Guest: email email@example.com with your account number, request, maiden name and updated name. They emailed me back within a few days, noting the update and letting me know how to get a new card (print one or add it to your SPG app on your phone). You get to pick your own fancy picture. ;)
-Marriott Rewards: If you are a Marriott Rewards member, email a photocopy of a legal document (marriage license, new driver's license, etc.) that reflects your updated last name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your rewards number as well as your maiden name and married name. They will also email you, letting you know about the update to your account.
NOTE: I learned that you can't merge accounts with Marriott, but you can transfer up to 50,000 points to other Marriott Rewards members each year. Good to know!
11. Airlines Rewards Programs
-American Airlines: just call customer service (1-800-433-7300), tell the robot (sigh) that you'd like to speak to an agent, and tell them you'd like to change your name. They will send you an email with instructions on how to reply (basically, you include legal documentation of your name change).
-Delta: I went to the Email Us link on the bottom of their page (after logging in) and submitted my request. I checked the box asking for a reply and included photos of both my new and old licenses. We'll see how that goes. UPDATE: They emailed me after a couple days to let me know my account had been corrected.
-United: So United is a giant pain in the butt. Go to United.com > Contact Us > Mileage Plus > Name Changes where you can download a form that you have to have NOTARIZED (WHAT?!) and then MAIL (DOUBLE WHAT?!) to the address listed:
MileagePlus Service Center
P.O. Box 1394
Houston, TX 77251-1394
I tweeted at them and told them they need to do better. Honestly, how archaic.
UPDATE: I just received an email from United informing me that they have my notarized form and now need me to send them a copy of a government-issued ID along with confirmation of my address and phone number for verification. Woooowwwww this is bonkers. Anyways, I uploaded that to www.united.com/ContactMP (after changing the file size to the necessary 1MB), confirmed my details with them, and hopefully this will be the last step. If you don't have a lot of miles in your account with United, it may honestly be worth it to just open up a new account with your new last name. Unfortunately, I have a bunch of miles with them and I did not want to lose those. So hopefully this is the end of the name change road with United! (Fingers crossed!)
ANOTHER UPDATE: They sent an email informing me that, actually, my newly issue government ID is not enough and I need to upload a copy of my marriage certificate. So I did that. Sigh.....
-Spirit: I just submitted a request through their general contact form online for my name change with Spirit. I uploaded both copies of my licenses. Let's see how that goes. UPDATE: So far, they have not changed my name. So frustrating as it's been weeks. I will keep researching this one and let you know! LATEST UPDATE: Ok, so how is this for random: I yelled at Spirit on Twitter and their customer service team asked me to Direct Message them the details of my issue so they could help me resolve it. They then asked me to Direct Message them any of the following:
-Legal name change docs
-Any government-issued identification card
So I just tweeted them (via direct message) a copy of my marriage certificate and my Free Spirit number. Let's see what happens! UDPATE: Well, it worked! They immediately changed my name! So bizarre.....
-Jet Blue: JET BLUE FOR THE WIN! Call 1-800-JET-BLUE and ask them to change your last name. Done. JetBlue, I have a new love for you.
I also tweeted them to tell them how amazing they are. :)
-Virgin: I didn't have any miles with these guys, so I'm just going to open a new account with my married name should the need arise in the future.
-Emirates: Pretty simple! Just log in to your account, click "Update Profile" about halfway down the page. On this page head down to "Passport Details" and click the link that says "Please Contact Emirates to change this information." You will have to upload photos of your new and old passports and your marriage certificate. Keep in mind you can only upload two jpegs, so take a photo of your passports side by side for one photo, and your marriage certificate for the other. Also, you will probably need to resize them in order to fit the 1MB limit for uploading. Just look up the file of your jpeg in Finder (for Mac users only...sorry I don't know PC), double click on it, go to "Tools" in the bar on top and click "Adjust Size". Then just fiddle with the numbers until it is under 1MB. I just halved the width and it adjusted the rest, giving me the perfect size jpeg.
Once you've uploaded those, fill in your request and send it in! Mine was updated in the system almost immediately.
-Priority Pass: Not an airline, but it's a program that gets you into airport lounges around the world. I just sent an email to email@example.com and am waiting to hear back regarding what steps I need to take for the name change. Will update you when I hear!
UPDATE: Sweet. Just heard back from Priority Pass. Apparently since my membership is through AmEx, they are the ones that provide my membership information and, thus, changing my AmEx info changed my Priority Pass info. So all is good in this department.
Thankfully, Zipcar was pretty simple. Just email your request with a photocopy of your new driver's license to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm such a fan of how easy these guys make my life sometimes.
Just sign into the app, go to Settings, click on your name, and change it. It's that simple. If you change your email address, you will need to confirm the address via a link they send you and then a verification code that is texted to you. All very straightforward, though.
14. Post Office
So, The Knot lists the Post Office as a place where you need to change your name. However, I went there in person and the woman I asked had no clue what I was talking about. After doing a little more research online, it appears no one really changes their name with the Post Office, so I'm not sure where that came from on The Knot's list. I'm not going to worry about changing mine. Just be sure to change your address with them if you are moving in with your other half.
Heads up to anyone in school! Here is another form you have to have notarized (at least at my school you have to). They told me not to change my name until after the semester starts, so I'll get back to you with the details on this one, but I do have the form and it says it must be notarized. At least I can knock off the United Airlines and school forms with one trip to a notary.
Make sure you update your name with your doctor! A simple phone call to their office should do. If you are a patient of a doctor at Mount Sinai, you can change it at http://mychart.mountsinai.org - just send a message to MyChart Support and they will do it for you.
A phone call to your pharmacy should do. I changed mine in person when I went to pick up a prescription. Took maybe 30 seconds.
18. Manhattan Mini Storage
I use these guys for storage in Manhattan - let me know if you've had a different experience with yours! Manhattan Mini Storage requires that you bring a copy of your marriage certificate and your new ID to the facility in person. Apparently you have to resign all of the forms. So I'll be doing that this week. :)
19. Hertz Gold Rewards
I just called the customer service number and was told to email a copy of either my new license or my marriage certificate to email@example.com. Be sure to include your Hertz Gold Member Number. She said it would take about three business days to process. UPDATE: Received email confirmation of the name change. Score!
This is one I didn't think of at first, but they actually have one of the most straightforward processes for changing your name. Go to Settings and click "Update" on your profile, click "Change Your Legal Name", select "Personal Name Change (marriage, divorce, legal)", and then upload a photo of a government-issued ID with your new name and a photo of your marriage certificate. I didn't even need to resize the files (I took them on my iPhone and AirDropped them to my computer). High-five, PayPal!
21. Cell Phone Company (I have T-Mobile)
I literally just logged into the profile section of T-Mobile’s website and was able to type in my new last name there!
Any other questions or feedback? Let me know below!