How to Change Your Name in Maryland After You Get Hitched

Here's what you need to know to make the process easier.
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
by
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 May 26, 2020
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Changing your name after you get married isn't required—it's a personal choice. But if you're going to go that route, know that getting a name change in Maryland is going to take a bit of work. In fact, there are enough steps and forms to complete that we recommend checking out HitchSwitch, a stress-saving service that does almost everything for you. Seriously… all you have to do is fill out a simple questionnaire. (It takes a total of three minutes as opposed to the hours you would've spent researching what documents you need.) From there, HitchSwitch will send you a personalized package (including auto-filled paperwork and submission instructions) detailing exactly how to complete your legal name change in Maryland.

Not sure if you're willing to pay for a service to help? We've outlined the full name change process for Maryland residents below. Find out what it takes to take a new name, then decide if outsourcing the work is something you're interested in. (FYI: HitchSwitch's packages start at $39.) Keep reading for all the steps to changing your name in Maryland.

How to Get a Maryland Marriage License

The first step to changing your last name in Maryland happens before you even get married: It's getting your marriage license. If you're tying the knot in MD, start by contacting the county or city clerk's office in the location where you're getting married. You and your future spouse can apply together, but both of you don't have to be present.

When you fill out the marriage license, include your desired married name—this will make it much easier for you to make a legal name change after the wedding. "Maryland, like some other states, is strict in how it goes about the name change," says Jake Wolff, our go-to name change expert and the founder of HitchSwitch. He explains that name changes that appear on a Maryland marriage license (and that are to a future spouse's last name or a hyphenation of both partners' last names) are pretty straightforward to make official later. But if you don't list your new name on the marriage license and/or it's a more complex change, you'll have to petition the court to make said name change.

"So when you apply for a marriage license in Maryland, and you think you might like to change your last name at any time in the future, make that change," Wolff says. Jotting the new name down doesn't mean your name is officially changed—it just means you intend to change it and lets you use your marriage license as a legal name change document later on.

What forms do you need?

Different counties have different requirements, so call your local Circuit Court Clerk to find out what forms of identification you need, as well as what paperwork you'll have to fill out.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a Maryland marriage license ranges from $30 to $85, depending on the clerk's office.

Important things to remember:

A Maryland marriage license expires after six months, so definitely apply within that window of time before the wedding. There's also a two-day waiting period between the time you get your license and when you're allowed to legally wed. For more information about marriage licenses in Maryland, pick up a copy of our The Knot regional magazine for DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Tying the knot out of state? In that case, apply for a marriage license there instead. Look up the state, county or country's specific requirements.

How to Petition for a Change of Name in Maryland

If you didn't write your desired name change on your Maryland marriage license—or your name change is more complex than just taking your future spouse's surname—then you may have to petition for a name change in Maryland. You'll file this petition with your local circuit court. You should contact that court for detailed instructions, but the Maryland Judiciary website offers some basic information to get you started.

How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card

Getting a legal name change in Maryland—and actually, anywhere in the US—requires filing paperwork with the Social Security Administration. You'll have to get your name changed with the SSA before you try to update your passport and driver's license.

What forms do you need?

Go to SSA.gov to print and fill out the Form SS-5. In most cases, you have the option to mail or hand-deliver your application. (Here's an SSA office locator to help you find one nearby.) When you apply for a new Social Security card, you'll have to include:

  • Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (your current driver's license, state ID or passport, for example)
  • Proof of citizenship (your birth certificate or passport)—but only if you haven't already established this with the SSA

Before you dive in, read these instructions for getting a corrected card so you know exactly how to apply for your unique situation.

How much does it cost?

Good news! Changing your name with the SSA is completely free.

Important things to remember:

You'll need to submit original or certified documents—the SSA doesn't accept photocopies.

How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

Wolff recommends getting your passport changed next, since a passport with your new name on it acts as a form of ID to show the Maryland MVA when you get your name on your license changed.

Changing your name on your passport is the same general process throughout the US, but the specifics can vary from person to person. See the US Department of State website for details about changing your name on your passport based on your unique situation.

What forms do you need?

It depends. You'll need one of these three:

1. If you're requesting a name change within a year of receiving your current passport, use Form DS-5504.

Apply by mailing in:

  • The form
  • Your current passport
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo (which is actually included in HitchSwitch's $99 package)

2. If you have your current passport, it's in good condition, it was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and it was issued within the last 15 years, use Form DS-82.

Apply by mailing in:

  • The form
  • Your current passport
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

3. If your don't fall into the above categories, you'll need to apply for a new passport with Form DS-11. For a new passport, you'll need to go in person to a Passport Acceptance Facility (or a Department of State Passport Agency for expedited service).

Apply with:

  • Proof of identity, plus a photocopy
  • Proof of citizenship, plus a photocopy
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

How much does it cost?

A passport update with the DS-5504 is free. Otherwise, it costs $110 for a passport book and/or $30 for a card. But with a brand new passport (the DS-11 option), you'll also have to pay $35 in additional fees. Need it quickly? For an extra $60, you can expedite your service.

Important things to remember:

Super important: If you're traveling before or after the passport name change, make sure your name on your plane ticket matches the name on your passport at that time.

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

Getting a name change through the Maryland MVA (Motor Vehicle Association) is fairly simple. But unfortunately, it can't be done over the internet or by mail. Instead, you'll have to head to your local MVA.

What forms do you need?

Bring your marriage certificate or court ordered name change documentation with you, along with your existing Maryland driver's license.

If you're getting or already have a Real ID, you might need more documentation. Check out this online document guide to create a personal checklist of documents needed based on your own individual needs (and to make an appointment online).

How much does it cost?

It costs $20 to get a corrected non-commercial driver's license in Maryland.

Important things to remember:

Your corrected license will your new name will be mailed to you at a later date. Find out more about the process on the MVA website.

How Else to Change Your Name in Maryland

While those are the main steps to change your name in Maryland, you still aren't totally done. Don't forget to share the news with:

  • Your place of employment
  • Your bank and credit card companies
  • Your insurance and health care providers
  • Other account and record agencies

We know this can all be a lot to keep track of, so if you're feeling overwhelmed, consider checking out HitchSwitch. The service really simplifies the name change process, especially since it offers you a personalized checklist. You'll love having a few less to-dos after all the excitement of getting married. And couldn't you use a little less stress?

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