How to Change Your Name in Tennessee: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to take a new surname once you're wed, there are some state-specific things you really need to know.
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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If you're planning to kick off married life with a new name, you've come to the right place. Getting a legal name change after the wedding is pretty common, but unfortunately, that doesn't mean it's easy. There are forms to fill out, offices to visit and fees to pay (yep). Plus, what to do varies from state to state (and a bit from person to person too) which is why we've compiled this handy guide specific to getting a name change in TN.

Does all this already sound overwhelming? One of our all-time favorite wedding services, HitchSwitch, has your back. It takes the info you provide on a single questionnaire and gives you every form and instruction sheet you need, so you don't have to research what gets sent where. It'll also auto-fill those forms for you (except for with sensitive info like your Social Security number—you'll keep that to yourself to protect your privacy), so you just have to add a few finishing touches and then submit everything. Better yet, packages start at a very reasonable $39. (Time is money, and this service will definitely save you time, not to mention sanity.)

Whether you decide to utilize HitchSwitch's services or not, we're sure you want the full scoop on what's involved in a name change in TN. In fact, it may help you decide if a service is worth it for you. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to change your name in Tennessee after marriage.

In this article:

    How to Get a Marriage License in TN

    The first step in your name change expedition (yes, it really feels like an expedition) is getting a marriage license. Why? Because the certified copy will count as your legal document for changing your last name postwedding. How to get a marriage license in TN? Visit your county clerk's office with your fiance. You can find the location in your county here.

    What forms do you need?

    Before you go, you may want to check out your county clerk's website to see if you can fill out the marriage license application form online—many Tennessee counties offer that option. You can do it in person too, but prepping the form in advance can save you time during your visit.

    In addition to your completed application, you'll need to bring photo ID that verifies your age. Some counties require documentation of Social Security numbers; others just require you to know you number. Non-US citizens may also need to show their passports. Check before you go to know what to bring along.

    How much does it cost?

    The cost for a marriage license in TN varies slightly by county, but it's around $100. Want a discount? You may be able to get it for $40 (give or take some change) if you complete a premarital prep course and have your instructor sign a certificate of completion and have it notarized.

    Important things to remember:

    Time your application right! The marriage license is good for only 30 days. After the ceremony, you'll receive an official marriage certificate, which you'll be able to present to Social Security to make your legal name change in Tennessee official.

    And don't forget: You apply for your marriage license in the state your wedding is taking place. If that's not TN (hello, destination wedding) you'll want to look up that location's requirements instead, as they may affect your name change differently.

    How to Petition for a Change of Name in TN

    In many cases, the marriage certificate is all you need to make a name change official, but some situations require a court order to facilitate a name change. A name change petition may be necessary if, perhaps, you didn't have a legal wedding or you want to change your first name.

    Wondering how to legally change your name in TN if you can't use your marriage license? You'll have to petition a local court and have it approved and ordered by a judge. Contact your court for more specific information.

    How to Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

    Your name change after marriage in TN isn't complete without making it official with the Social Security Administration.

    What forms do you need?

    Fill out a Social Security card application (Form SS-5here's how to complete it). Then mail or bring the form to your local SSA office, along with:

    • Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)

    • Proof of identity (think: your Tennessee driver's license)

    • Proof of citizenship (think: your birth certificate or US passport), but only if this hasn't already been established with the SSA

    How much does it cost?

    Nothing. This one is utterly free. (Cue the happy dance!)

    Important things to remember:

    You'll need original or certified copies of your documents, which probably is easy when it comes to your driver's license and marriage certificate, but older docs like your birth certificate may be harder to find. So start looking now, or request a certified copy from the Tennessee Office of Vital Records or other assigning office. Expect to pay for certified copies of your marriage license and other documents (bummer, we know).

    How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

    Changing your name on your passport does take a little bit of time, so we recommend getting that process started ASAP if it's something you want to do.

    What forms do you need?

    It depends. You'll need one of these:

    1. Passport correction form: Form DS-5504

    This is for anyone requesting a name change within a year of receiving their current passport. Maybe you just got yours so you could go on your honeymoon! If this is you, you'll mail in:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your certified name change document

    • A color passport photo (FYI: a free one comes with HitchSwitch's $99—and couples' favorite—package)

    2. Passport renewal form: Form DS-82

    This is the form you should use if you have a current passport that isn't damaged, you received it when you were at least 16 years old, and it was issued within the last 15 years. Mail in:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    3. Passport application: Form DS-11

    Can't use either of the above? You'll have to apply for a passport using the standard application. To do this, visit a Passport Acceptance Facility (or a Department of State Passport Agency for expedited service)—we're sad to say you can't mail this one in. Bring:

    • Proof of identity, as well as a photocopy

    • Proof of citizenship, as well as a photocopy

    • Your certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    How much does it cost?

    It's free to do a passport correction—score. A passport renewal costs $130 for a passport book and/or $30 for a card (which allows for more limited travel). Meanwhile, a new passport costs $130 for a passport book and/or $30 for a card, plus $35 in extra fees.

    Important things to remember:

    You'll want to wait until after the honeymoon for this step, but make it happen before your next trip, if possible. That's because your name on your passport should always match your name on your travel plans. The good news is that for an extra $60, you can expedite your service.

    How to Get a TN Driver's License Name Change

    Next up is changing your name on your Tennessee driver's license. Visit a TN Driver Service Center to get a duplicate license with your new, married name on it.

    What forms do you need?

    Bring along your current license and proof of the name change, whether it's your marriage certificate or court order.

    How much does it cost?

    $8 to $16, depending on the type of license you have and the number of duplicates you've had in the past.

    Important things to remember:

    Remember to bring original or certified copies of your proof of name change documents. For more information about updating a driver's license in TN, visit the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security website.

    How to Complete a Name Change in TN

    Once you've gotten all these legal records and IDs out of the way, you'll be pretty official, but you won't be completely done. Remember that your new married name should be on your:

    • Bank and credit card accounts

    • Employee records

    • Insurance policies (health, home, auto, life and more)

    • Property ownership records

    • Vehicle title and registration

    There's probably more, too, depending on what you own and what accounts you have, so take stock and take care of them as soon as you can. Know that HitchSwitch can also help with the seemingly little tasks of changing your name—which may be worth it to you, since all those little things can add up to feel like one absolutely huge thing! (We're speaking from personal experience here.) Heck, the service even has instruction sheets for changing your name on social media.

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

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