Your Simplified Guide to Getting a Postwedding Name Change in Arizona

Ready to make a surname switcheroo after you say "I do?" Here's how to do it in the Grand Canyon State.
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
Elena Donovan Mauer
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Elena creates content for a variety of print and digital publications, including The Knot, The Bump, Parents, Real Simple, and Good Housekeeping.
  • Elena is a former weddings editor, having held positions at Modern Bride and Bridal Guide and contributed to The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook.
  • Elena is currently Senior Editor for Happify Health, an adjunct instructor for Pace University, a freelance writer, and content con...
Updated Dec 19, 2023
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The choice of whether or not you'll change your name after your wedding is completely up to you. But even if you're just thinking about it, it's good to get a sense of all that's involved in making the switch legal. Especially since in AZ, you'll have to update the MDV within 10 days of taking a new moniker (so start planning ASAP!). A name change in Arizona, specifically, requires a little know-how and a few different steps, so we've broken it down for you in an easy-to-follow guide.

Before we get into all the details, we should mention that there's a service that can simplify this process even more for you. It's called HitchSwitch, and we've found it to be incredibly helpful and pretty seamless to work with. If you sign up for one of its packages, you'll just have to fill out a single online questionnaire. From there, the company will provide and autofill all the forms your name change requires—which, as you'll soon see, there are a lot of. (Note that for your privacy and peace of mind, they won't ask for things like your Social Security number. Instead, they'll tell you how to manually add sensitive information to the documents they've provided.) You'll also receive personalized instructions for submitting everything, which really takes a lot of the pressure off. Prices run from $39 to $129, depending on which additional tasks—like sending you prepaid mailing envelopes—you'd also like HitchSwitch to handle. Yes, it's an added cost, but if you're already frazzled from wedding planning, it's definitely worth considering.

No matter how you go about changing your last name in AZ, there are some important things you should know about the process. Here's our guide on how to change your name in Arizona.

How to Get a Marriage License in Arizona

The first step in your name change journey? Filling out an Arizona marriage license application. That's because you need an Arizona marriage license to legally get married in the state. Your future marriage certificate will be proof of your marriage that you'll show to get your name change.

The good news is that if you live in the Phoenix area, you have the option of getting your marriage license online. In other counties, you and your future spouse must both appear in person at the county court to obtain a marriage license in Arizona.

Not sure yet about what you'd like to change your name to? The good news is, you don't have to decide on your married name before you get your marriage license. "In some states, you'll need to make name changes on the license itself," says Jake Wolff, the founder of HitchSwitch. "But in Arizona, you don't have to plan the name ahead of time."

What documents do you need?

To get a marriage license in Arizona, you'll both need to bring along a valid government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport, etc.). You'll also need to provide your social security number.

How much does it cost?

How much is a marriage license in Arizona? $83. Unfortunately, certified copies cost extra.

Important things to remember:

You can get your marriage license the same day as your wedding (though you might not want to cut it that close) up to a year before your wedding. After the ceremony, have your officiant sign and return it within 30 days to make it official. You'll need your official marriage certificate to apply for a legal name change with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For more details about obtaining a marriage license in Arizona, please contact your local court clerk's office, as the specifics may vary by location or change over time. Getting married somewhere else? Research that state (or country's!) requirements instead.

How to Petition for a Name Change in Arizona

If you're changing your name to a last name that's either your spouse's or a hyphenated combo of yours and your spouse's, you'll be able to skip the name change petition step and go straight to updating your Social Security card. You can use your marriage certificate to make these sorts of Arizona name changes.

If you want to undergo a more complex name change, like creating a brand new last name or changing your middle name, you'll need to petition the court, says Wolff. It's also sometimes necessary in instances of divorce, according to the AZ Courts website.

Contact your county superior court clerk to learn more about the process, as different clerk's offices may require different forms. You should also inquire about the timeline and cost.

How to Get a Social Security Name Change in Arizona

A name change after marriage in AZ—and actually, anywhere in the United States—involves updating your information with the Social Security Administration. Only after you get your name changed with Social Security will you be able to update your passport and your Arizona driver's license.

What documents do you need?

First, complete form SS-5, the official application for a Social Security card. It'll come with detailed instructions.

You can either mail in your application or drop it off at your local SSA office. Use the locator here to find it. (A bonus of working with HitchSwitch? Its $69 package includes prepaid mailing envelopes, so you don't have to source postage yourself. Yay!) You'll also need to submit:

  • Name change documentation (your marriage certificate or court order)

  • Proof of identity (such as your driver's license or state ID)

  • Proof of citizenship, if you haven't established it with the SSA already (your birth certificate or passport counts)

See the SSA's complete instructions for correcting your card here.

How much does it cost?

Phew, no fees here! It's free to change your name with the SSA.

Important things to remember:

If you don't want to temporarily let go of original documents (like your marriage certificate or birth certificate), you'll need to request them from the assigning offices, since the SSA requires original or certified documents and doesn't accept photocopies.

How to Get a Driver's License Name Change in Arizona

Get this done quickly! State law requires you to update your driver's license or ID card within 10 days of a legal name change in Arizona. This has to happen after you notify the SSA though. Once you've changed your name with Social Security, the Arizona Department of Transportation advises waiting two days for their computer system to register the change. Then head to your local Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to update your name on your license.

What documents do you need?

When you go to the MVD, bring identification that represents both your new and previous name. This can include your current license and your marriage certificate or name change court order. We recommend calling ahead to find out what else you'll need to bring.

How much does it cost?

It's $12 to get a AZ driver's license with your new name.

Important things to remember:

Always bring original or certified copies of your documents. The Arizona MVD doesn't accept photocopies.

How to Get a Passport Name Change in Arizona

Like anywhere in the USA, if you already have a passport, you can get a new updated one by mail. In other instances, you'll have to appear in person at a passport acceptance facility. Find out more at Travel.State.Gov.

What documents do you need?

The form you need to fill out to change your name on your passport and the documents you'll have to submit along with it depend on the status of your existing passport. You'll most likely need:

  • Form DS-5504, DS-82 or DS-11, depending on which applies to you (all these forms are available at Travel.State.Gov—find out which you'll need there)

  • Your most recent US passport, evidence of US citizenship and/or a valid ID

  • Your original or certified name change document (the marriage certificate or court order)

  • A color passport photo (HitchSwitch can help you get one of these too, as part of its most popular package)

  • Money to pay applicable fees

How much does it cost?

If you wind up completing the DS-5504, it won't cost you anything to change your name on your passport. Otherwise it'll cost you $30 for a passport card, $130 for a book or $160 for both. Completing the DS-11 also requires a $35 processing fee. In a rush? Expedited service costs extra.

Important things to remember:

The US Department of State website should be your ultimate source of truth, since the process looks different depending on the unique situation.

How Else to Change Your Name in Arizona

Once you've completed a legal name change in Arizona, you'll have to make sure all other important records and accounts have your new name on them. Share your updated information with:

  • Your employer

  • Financial institutions

  • Insurance providers

  • Health care providers

  • Anyone else who needs it!

It's a good idea to go through your wallet to see which credit, debit and membership cards are there and will need name changes. Also, watch your bills as they come in and check your name on those. Stay on top of updating the appropriate entities until you stop receiving anything with your old name on it.

Now that you know how to legally change your name in Arizona, you can decide how to approach the process. Do you want to DIY or get some extra help? We know you're excited to enjoy newlywed life (and you don't need more added to your wedding planning plate.) A name change service will take the guesswork out of the whole process. Heck, HitchSwitch even helps you change your name on social media—just saying.

This article has been fact-checked and reviewed for accuracy in November 2023.

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