How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card
Learn how to update your name with the SSA.
Once you’ve changed your name—either by marriage, divorce, or the legal name change process—your first step should be to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security card.
With an updated Social Security card, it will be easier to change your name on other important documents.
In fact, to update your driver’s license, you’ll first need to change your name on your Social Security card.
To help ensure you know everything you need to take this critical step in changing your name, this page will cover all the requirements and procedures you need to understand to update your Social Security card.
Changing Your Name on Your Social Security Card
Before you can get a card with your new name on it, you’ll need to gather the required documents and fill out an application.
Then, you must submit the documents and application to a Social Security office near you. You can also mail your paperwork, but unfortunately, you cannot submit anything online.
Generally, you’ll need documents to prove your name change, your citizenship or legal residence, and your identity. The documents you’ll need (which are covered in the next section) will depend on how you changed your name and your citizenship status.
If figuring this all out sounds overwhelming, remember that Update My Name makes this process simple by providing the necessary documentation, compiling your information, and auto-filling your applications. But if you’re ready and willing to go it alone, keep reading.
Gathering the Documents Needed to Change Your SSA Card
As mentioned, the first step in updating your Social Security card is to gather documentation to prove:
- Your name change
- Your identity
- Your citizenship or legal residence (if necessary)
To prove that you’ve legally changed your name, you’ll need to provide a certified copy (no photocopies!) of one of the following documents:
- Marriage certificate
- Court order
- Certificate of naturalization
- Divorce decree
It’s possible that one of these documents could provide enough information for the SSA to verify your identity, but if it doesn’t, you’ll need to submit another document to prove your identity. To prove your identity, all of the following documentation may be accepted:
- United States passport
- U.S. driver’s license
- State-issued ID card
To prove your prior name, any of the above documents will be accepted—even if they’re expired—as long as they match your name in the SSA’s records. If you don’t have an ID document with your prior name, you can use an ID document with your current name as long as the SSA can verify your identity in their records. Finally, if you do not have a passport, license, or state-issued ID card and you can’t get one within ten days, you can use one of the following documents:
- Health insurance card (not Medicare)
- School I.D. card
- U.S. military identification
- Employee I.D. card
You’ll only need to prove your citizenship or legal residence status if you haven’t already registered your status with the SSA. For this, you’ll need an original or certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport. If you’re a U.S. citizen born in a foreign country, you’ll need to provide a Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561), Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570), Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350), or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA) to the SSA if you haven’t already. If you’re a legal resident but not a citizen and you haven’t already updated the SSA with your status, you’ll need to provide proof of legal residency. Accepted documents for this purpose include Form I-766, I-551, or I-94, or an admission stamp on your current foreign passport.
Applying to Change Your Name with the SSA
Once you’ve gathered your documentation, it’s time to fill out your Social Security card application.
To obtain a copy of the application, you can download it online, request a copy by phone from the SSA at 800-772-1213, or visit an SSA office and pick up a copy. Keep in mind that regardless of whether you’re applying to update your name, request an original card, or replace a lost card, the application form is the same.
Look over the instructions for filling out the application and complete it as best you can. If you’re not sure about anything, you can contact the SSA by phone here. It’s better to be sure than to submit your application only to have it denied.
Submitting Your Documentation and Application
Once you’ve completed the application and gathered the necessary documentation, you must submit both to the Social Security Administration.
As mentioned, you can submit your paperwork by mail or by visiting an SSA office near you. You will not have to pay anything for your new Social Security card nor will you have to pay any fees. Other than the cost of your time, the service is completely free.
To find an SSA office near you, you can visit the Social Security Administration’s website, check the telephone directory, or call the SSA number at 800-772-1213.
Once the SSA processes your application, your new card will generally be issued within ten business days. However, it may take some time for them to process your application.
So, assuming you didn’t forget any documentation or miss anything on your application, you can expect to receive your new Social Security card in two to six weeks after you’ve mailed everything in.
Can I change my name with Social Security online?
You cannot change your name with Social Security online. You can, however, access the documents and applications that you need, fill them out online, and mail them in.
What documents are needed for Social Security name change?
Jump to this section to see which documents are needed to change the name on your Social Security card.
How long does it take to change your name on social security?
According to the SSA, you will get your card within 10-14 business days from the date your application is processed. However, it can take some time for your application to be processed because it may take some time for the SSA to verify your documents. Expect to wait a minimum of two and a half weeks from the date the SSA receives your application.
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