Everything You Need to Know to Change Your Name in Louisiana

Switching your surname in the Pelican State is a multi-step process that (usually) starts with the marriage license. Here's what to do—and how to make the swap simpler.
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
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Congrats on your nuptials, Louisianian! If you've decided to change your name after marriage, there's some legal paperwork to file and some offices to visit. It can all seem kind of daunting, but you've got this—you just need a little know-how. A name change in Louisiana is slightly different than one in any other state, which is why we created this handy guide, full of tips and tricks to make the process easier for you.

Of course, if you want to make it even easier, you can hire a name change service (yes, those really exist) to help you make things official. HitchSwitch uses the information you provide through a simple online questionnaire (that truly takes less than five minutes to fill out!) and then completes the legal paperwork you need for you. You'll also receive personalized, easy-to-follow instructions for sending and/or bringing them in to the appropriate offices. If you're super-busy (who isn't?), this can save you a ton of time and research—especially when you see how much paperwork is involved ahead. The price is surprisingly reasonable too, with packages starting at just $39.

Whether you're interested in HitchSwitch or feel confident in tackling your postwedding to-do list on your own, we're breaking down exactly what the process entails. Here's your complete guide to changing your name after marriage in Louisiana. FYI: It actually all starts with your marriage license!

In this article:

    How to Get Your Marriage License and Certificate

    Applying for a marriage license is your first step toward changing your name in Louisiana. That's because it sets you up for a legal marriage, which can make the whole name change process a bit more straightforward. You'll apply in (and follow all the requirements of) the state where you're tying the knot. If that's Louisiana, use the guidelines ahead. If you're throwing a destination wedding, research the rules for that location instead.

    What documents do you need?

    You and your future spouse should head to a marriage licensing office in your LA parish—often, this is the Clerk of Court office. There, you'll fill out a Louisiana marriage license application form. You'll also need to provide state-issued IDs or passports, certified copies of your birth certificates and your Social Security numbers. If either of you was previously married, bring proof of that marriage ending (such as the divorce decree) too.

    Before you go, check your office's website for the full rundown of requirements. Some parishes also have their Louisiana marriage application form available online to fill out in advance. (Here are application forms for Orleans Parish, East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, for example.)

    How much does it cost?

    How much is a marriage license in Louisiana? Fees can vary from parish to parish, but it tends to cost around $30 to apply. After the ceremony, your marriage license becomes your marriage certificate. That's typically the "legal name change document" you need to prove you're lawfully wed—and eligible for a marriage-related surname swap. You'll want certified copies of it to submit for the next steps in the process. For those, you may be charged $5 to $10 a pop.

    Important things to remember:

    Okay, but how exactly does this step facilitate a last name change in Louisiana? Unlike in some other states, you won't have to write your new name on your LA marriage license application. Instead, you'll just list both your legal prewedding monikers. Once the nuptials are over, you can use the resulting marriage certificate to take your spouse's surname (as it appears on the document) or a hyphenated combination of your two surnames.

    How to Petition for a Name Change in Louisiana

    If you choose to get more creative with your Louisiana name change (like establishing an entirely new surname from scratch for the two of you share!), all the power to you! Unfortunately, though, your marriage certificate probably won't count as your legal name change document. In that case, you'll have to file a petition to change your name with the state.

    Contact your parish Clerk of Court for full instructions on how to do it. Here's an example of a Petition for Name Change form in Louisiana (from the Parish of Jefferson) for reference. The standard process requires paperwork, extra fees and approval from a judge. If permission to change your name is granted, you'll walk away with a court order to use for the next few steps.

    How much is it to change your name in Louisiana through a court order? That may vary from parish to parish too. To give you a sense of what to expect, in Jefferson, it costs $250.

    How to Get a Social Security Card Name Change

    One you have your marriage certificate or you name change court order, it's time to contact the Social Security Administration. This will result in a fully legal name change, since the SSA's records are inextricably tied to your identity. In fact, you have to apply for a new Social Security card before you update your name on other forms of ID, including your Louisiana driver's license.

    What documents do you need?

    Fill out Form SS-5, the Application for a Social Security Card. You'll also need to provide the SSA with:

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

    • Proof of identity (a valid government photo ID, such as your current driver's license—it can have your old name on it)

    • Proof of citizenship (think: your birth certificate or passport)—but this part's only required if you haven't provided it to the SSA already

    Mail or bring your documents to a nearby SSA office. (Psst: If you're really trying to simplify things, HitchSwitch's mid-level, $69 package includes pre-maid mailing envelopes so you don't have to worry about stocking up on postal supplies. It saves you an in-person trip to the SSA and the hassle of figuring out how many stamps you need for all your paperwork.) See the SSA's website for complete instructions for getting a corrected card and to find your nearest location.

    How much does it cost?

    Unlike most other name change steps, updating your Social Security card is absolutely free. We'll toast to that!

    Important things to remember:

    You'll need to provide original documents or certified copies (not photocopies) of your marriage certificate, birth certificate and other documentation, which means requesting them from the appropriate offices if you don't already have them readily available. Sadly, this usually does cost money.

    How to Get a Passport Name Change

    If you have a US passport, start the name change process for it next, since it takes a bit of time to complete (seven to ten weeks, usually). It's also important for future travel—you don't want to get stuck at the airport because they can't verify your identity!

    First, check on your current passport to see what shape it's in—that will dictate exactly how you'll go about changing your name on it. See the Department of State guide to correcting or changing a passport for the full scoop, but here's a little cheat sheet on what you'll have to do.

    What documents do you need?

    Which form you use will depend on the status of your current passport. It will be one of these three:

    1. Form DS-5504: This form is necessary if you've changed your name within a year of receiving your current passport. Mail it in along with:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your certified name change document

    • A recent color photo (included in HitchSwitch's $99 package—yet another extra step gone with the service's help)

    2. Form DS-82: This is the form you'll need if your current passport was issued within the last 15 years, you were at least 16 years old at the time and it's in good condition. Mail in:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    3. Form DS-11: Does neither of the above describe your passport? Then you'll fill out this form and you'll have to visit a Passport Acceptance Facility to deliver your documents in person. Bring:

    • Proof of identity and a photocopy of that proof

    • Proof of citizenship and a photocopy

    • Your certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    How much does it cost?

    A simple passport correction (that's the DS-5504, folks) is free. A renewal (DS-82) costs $110 for a new passport book and/or $30 for a new passport card. The DS-11 is a completely new passport, which costs a bit more: $110 for the book, $30 for the card, plus an extra $35 processing fee.

    Important things to remember:

    Traveling soon? Your name on your travel tickets and bookings should match the name on your passport. That probably means you'll need to wait until after your honeymoon to update your passport. It might also mean you want to expedite your passport services to get the name change to go through faster. Learn more about processing times, additional requirements and associated fees at Travel.State.Gov.

    How to Get a Louisiana Driver's License Name Change

    Up next? A name change on your Louisiana driver's license. To make this happen, visit an Office of Motor Vehicles location and request a duplicate license with the new name. (You can search for your local office by city here.)

    Find full instructions on how to get a Louisiana driver's license name change at the Office of Motor Vehicles website. Don't worry though, we'll prep you with the basics below.

    What documents do you need?

    You'll need:

    • An original or certified document verifying your change of name—your marriage certificate or probate court document should work.

    • Your current license

    • Proof of residency (examples are listed here)

    • Proof of insurance for any vehicle you own.

    You may also have to complete a new vision test, which is one of the few things a name change service like HitchSwitch can't help with—bummer.

    How much does it cost?

    There's a $13 fee for a four-year license and a $17 fee for a six-year license. There may be an additional local fee of $4 to $6.

    Important things to remember:

    All state credentials must be changed at the same time, so if you have other Louisiana cred, such as an ID card or mobility impaired hang tag, update those now too.

    How to Complete a Name Change in Louisiana

    Once you've done all of the above, you've completed the most intimidating parts of a legal name change in Louisiana. But wait, there's more! You'll have to update all your other accounts and records so they reflect your new name. This includes telling your employer and insurance companies, your bank and credit card companies, and more.

    Seem like a lot? Well, depending on what you own and what accounts you have, it can be! That's honestly another reason why we love HitchSwitch. It offers its customers checklists and instruction sheets for just about every step of the name change process. Heck, the most popular "Platinum" package even comes with your very own Name Change Concierge. With a service's help, you can make sure you've checked off all the name change boxes and get back to enjoying married life!

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

    Up Next
    • Funny marriage quotes - Couple laughs at a funny marriage advice
      53 Funny Marriage Quotes Guaranteed to Make You Smile