Every Step to Legally Change Your Name in Michigan

Planning a name change in the Great Lakes State? You've come to the right place.
Emily Platt - The Knot E-Commerce Editor
by Emily Platt
Emily Platt - The Knot E-Commerce Editor
Emily Platt
Editor, E-Commerce
  • Emily is a writer and editor who specializes in shopping content
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily wrote for Martha Stewart Weddings
  • Emily has a bachelor's degree from Vassar College
Updated May 26, 2020
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When a couple ties the knot, they want to tell the world. After all, it's a big and exciting milestone worth sharing! But did you know that if you're changing your name, you actually, kind of well, have to? In order to get your new moniker recognized, you're required to notify a bunch of different entities. And to make things more complicated, a name change in Michigan could actually require some extra steps. Here, we're breaking down the entire process, starting with—believe it or not—applying for your marriage license.

But before we get into all that, we want to introduce you to a total game-changer: the name change service HitchSwitch. Sign up for one of three packages—they start at just $39. Then, complete a single form and have its team of experts do most of the annoying stuff for you. While they can't wait in line for you at the Secretary of State's office, they can figure out what paperwork you need and autofill it for you. They're also available to answer any questions along the way. So if you'd rather let someone else do all the research, stop reading right now and let HitchSwitch help. Otherwise, keep scrolling for the information you need on how to change your last name in Michigan.

In this article:

How to Get a Marriage License in Michigan

How to change your name in Michigan depends on what kind of name change you're after. If you're planning to take your spouse's last name after marriage, you'll use your Michigan marriage license as your legal name change document. Here's how to get one if you haven't already.

What documents do you need?

You or your future spouse must visit a local licensing bureau in the county where you reside. Whoever goes must present a valid photo ID, and they should also bring a birth certificate to be safe.

How much does it cost?

Applying for a marriage license in Michigan typical costs $20 to $30 dollars. A certified copy costs $34, plus $16 each for additional copies.

Important things to remember:

There's a three-day waiting period to obtain your marriage license, which will then be valid for 33 days in Michigan.

Make sure to get certified copies of your marriage license to use throughout the rest of the name change process. You'll have to submit a separate application form for those.

Please confirm the entire process and fees by contacting your local licensing bureau, as they may be subject to changes at any time and vary from county to county.

Tying the knot out of state? You'll get a marriage license there, not in Michigan, so look up those requirements instead.

How to Petition for a Name Change in Michigan

For other types of name changes, you could need a court order to execute a legal name change in Michigan. According to Jake Wolff, the founder of HitchSwitch, that includes making your old last name your new middle name or turning it into a second surname. (FYI: If you're not sure whether or not you need to petition the court, HitchSwitch's pros can offer you guidance.) In these cases, the court order serves as your official name change document.

What documents do you need?

Start by completing a Michigan Petition to Change Name, which you can find on the Michigan Courts website. File the original with your local circuit court but make a copy for your records. In most cases, you'll then need to get a criminal background check. This involves visiting a local law enforcement agency, getting fingerprinted on a Michigan Applicant Card (RI-008), and mailing it to the Michigan State Police along with a copy of your petition, plus payment for any associated fees. From there, it'll get reviewed by both the state police and the FBI. You won't have a court hearing unless you're approved for one by both entities. Find more information on the MSP website.

Once your court hearing is scheduled, you're required to publish a notice of it to move forward with the name change process in Michigan. (The purpose? To notify any individuals whom your name change might affect.) Once the local paper publishes your hearing information, it'll complete an Affidavit of Publication for you to submit to the court as proof.

After all that, it's time for the hearing. Bring along multiple copies of the above documents just to be safe. If the judge approves your petition, you'll receive an Order Following Hearing on Petition to Change Name. That's your ticket for a name change everywhere else.

How much does it cost?

Filing a name change petition costs $175 in the state of Michigan. That said, you can request that the fees be waived if you can't afford them. To process your criminal background check, you'll have to pay an additional $43.25 in fees, plus any fees tacked on for getting fingerprinted. (It varies based on location.) Different newspapers charge different fees for publishing name change hearing notices, so keep that in mind too. Finally, obtaining a court order costs $10. You'll pay an additional $10 for every certified copy you request—you'll need certified copies for all your other name change tasks.

Important things to remember:

The Michigan Legal Help website provides additional details about a Michigan court order name change. Yes, the process is lengthy, but there is some good news: If you, your spouse and any children you share are planning to all take the same new name together, you may only need to file one petition. Contact your circuit court for more information.

How to Get a Social Security Name Change in Michigan

Congrats—you now have proof of a legal name change in Michigan. Now, you'll have to take your marriage certificate or court order to a few more agencies to get everything squared away. First stop? The Social Security Administration. Unlike other steps on our list, this one isn't actually Michigan-specific—it's required no matter where you live. That's because you can't change your name anywhere else until you have an updated Social Security card.

What documents do you need?

Below, you'll find everything you need to bring or mail to your local Social Security office. By the way: With HitchSwitch's $69 package, you'll get prepaid mailing envelopes. That saves you a trip to the SSA and the post office.

  • An original or certified copy of your legal name change document
  • Proof of identity (you can use your current driver's license)
  • Proof of citizenship (if you haven't already established it)
  • Form SS-5 (the Application for a Social Security Card)

How much does it cost?

Changing your name in Michigan (or anywhere else!) on your Social Security card costs—wait for it—nada. It's free, woot-woot.

Important things to remember:

Find your local social security office here, and visit the SSA's website if you have any questions or can't provide one of the above documents. If you submit original copies, they'll be mailed back to you, but we recommend sending certified copies to be safe. You'll get your new SS card (with your old number) sent to you in a few weeks.

How to Get a Passport Name Change in Michigan

We know what you might be thinking: I'm not traveling internationally anytime soon, so why is updating my passport a priority? Well, according to Wolff of HitchSwitch, an updated passport serves as extra proof of your name change. Consider it insurance you can whip out if you run into issues updating your driver's license. Just don't update your passport until after your honeymoon if you're celebrating that abroad. You booked your tickets before getting married, and the names on all your travel documents have to match.

What documents do you need?

You'll fall into one of three categories:

1. Passport correction: Form DS-5504

You qualify if you're requesting a name change within a year of receiving your current passport.

Apply by mailing in:

  • The form
  • Your current passport
  • Your original or certified name change document
  • A color passport photo (which HitchSwitch's $99 package includes)

2. Passport renewal: Form DS-82

You qualify 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.

Apply by mailing in:

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

3. Brand new passport: Form DS-11

If you don't meet any of the above criteria, you'll have to use the standard passport application. Sadly, this requires a visit 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
  • Your original or certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

How much does it cost?

Again, it depends.

1. Passport renewal: $0. Booyah.

2. Passport correction: $110 for a passport book and $30 for a card.

3. Brand new passport: $110 for a passport book, $30 for a card and $35 in extra fees.

For an extra $60, you can expedite your service.

Important things to remember:

Learn more about the requirements for each situation on the US Department of State website.

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

It's time to tell your old name to hit the road. Here's how to update a valid driver's license or another state-issued ID.

What documents do you need?

Visit a branch of the Michigan Secretary of State's office with:

  • Your current, valid ID
  • Proof of your name change (aka that handy legal name change doc)

How much does it cost?

A corrected driver's license costs $9. If it's an enhanced driver's license, it'll cost $24. Meanwhile, a corrected state ID card costs $10. An enhanced one costs $30.

Important things to remember:

While you're there, correct your vehicle title and registration following Michigan's specific instructions.

How to Complete Your Name Change in Michigan

Hang in there, you're almost done! You've dealt with all the big fish, now it's time to update your contact information anywhere else necessary. That includes with your employer, doctor's offices, insurance companies, bank, so on and so forth. If you're worried you're forgetting something, HitchSwitch can provide you with a personalized checklist. They can even provide instructions for tasks as small as updating your social media profiles. How sweet is that?

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