Changing the name on your Social Security card is straightforward if you have the relevant original papers and the requisite form. Learn where and how to submit your paperwork and forms after officially changing your name.
Changing your name on your Social Security card is simple—as long as you have the proper documentation. These procedures apply to persons who already hold Social Security cards. Evidence of identification, citizenship, a completed Social Security form, and proof of name change are all required.
How to Inform Social Security of a Name Change
If you’ve changed your legal name, the first thing you should do is notify the Social Security Administration of your new name. Regardless of how or why you changed your name, the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs three kinds of paperwork to acquire a Social Security name change on your card. These papers must show and demonstrate:
Identity with a new legal name
Proof of citizenship or immigration paperwork from the United States
Because the SSA needs original documentation, you cannot alter the name on your Social Security card online. You may either send the originals or certified copies from the issuing agency, or you can bring them to the closest SSA office in your county. Going to an SSA office is the fastest and best option to acquire a Social Security name change, and it gives you piece of mind that your original paperwork will be returned. The SSA also returns mailed original papers, although there is always the possibility that they may be misplaced.
Evidence of Your New Legal Name
To provide verification of your name change, you must submit paperwork to the SSA. If you’ve had many names, give documentation demonstrating the sequence in which your names have changed. For example, if you were married, divorced, and then remarried—each time changing your name—bring your marriage licences and divorce decree.
If you’ve only had one name change since your previous Social Security card, you may simply display the most recent document with your new name, such as a marriage licence or a court order, depending on how your name changed. Keep in mind, however, that the SSA has the authority to request papers proving your prior identities, so if in doubt, provide them.
One of the following papers is required as evidence of name change:
In a name change case, a court order is issued.
Divorce judgement or decree
Naturalization certificate with a new name
Adoption order or judgement
A certified copy of your birth certificate may provide verification of your name at the time of your birth. Other papers, as long as they are originals or certified copies, may be used to confirm your previous names. Expired documents may also be used.
There are various methods to establish your identity, but only one is required. The most effective methods are:
a driver’s licence issued in the United States
a state identification card
If you are a noncitizen, you must have an unexpired U.S. passport or another passport.
If they are not accessible, you may display the following if they include your photograph:
ID card for school or student
Employer identification card
U.S. military identification card
ID card for health insurance
Proof of Citizenship or Other Status in the United States
Proof of U.S. citizenship or other legal status needs one of the following documents, such as a:
Birth certificate from the United States
Report of a birth in another country from the US Consul
With your unexpired foreign passport, submit Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa).
The I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit)
I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or an admittance stamp in a valid foreign passport
Additional Documents Required for a Social Security Name Change
Once you’ve gathered your documentation, you’ll need to complete Social Security Form SS-5. The form is quite simple to complete. The first block should include the whole name you intend to use. This is the “name to appear on card.” Then enter your birth name, followed by any other names you’ve used.
Because this is not an initial application for a Social Security number, you do not need to include your parents’ Social Security numbers. It is sufficient to provide your parents’ names. Fill in the blanks 1–18 on the form. Bring the form and your documentation to your local SSA office, or send the form and your paperwork to the SSA.
While you must supply the SSA with many papers as well as the completed SSA Form SS-5, the procedure is straightforward and only takes a few weeks to get a new card. After you’ve updated your Social Security card with your new name, you’ll find it much easier to update other papers, such as your driver’s licence.