Our Guide to Changing Your Name in New Mexico

NM may be called the Land of Enchantment, but the legal name change process can feel anything *but* enchanting.
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 21, 2020
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Changing your name after marriage? A name change in New Mexico comes with its own specific set of instructions, based on everything from your type of marriage certificate to your desired surname swap. Here, we explain all the major steps so you can celebrate your new moniker sooner.

Of course, if you read all this and think, "Wow, that's a lot," we've got great news: There's extra help available to take some of the pressure off. HitchSwitch, a name change service, can make the process about a thousand times easier. Complete one single form on the website, and the HitchSwitch team will take it from there. You'll receive all the rest of the paperwork you need autofilled using the info you provided. Plus, you'll get personalized instructions detailing how to submit them.

All about changing your name after marriage in NM:

How to Get a New Mexico Marriage License

The first step toward a name change in New Mexico after marriage is getting a marriage license. That's because, in most cases, having the legal document makes the process more straightforward.

To get a marriage license for an NM ceremony, you can follow the instructions below. If you're tying the knot in a different state, look up that location's marriage license requirements. Pay close attention to whether or not you have to declare your new name on the application in order to make the swap postwedding. If there's a spot to declare it and you don't, you may have to petition the court for a name change. (We explain that process ahead.) If the app just asks for your prewedding names, you should be able to use the resulting marriage certificate to either 1) take your spouse's surname or 2) combine your two surnames (with or without a hyphen).

What documents do you need?

Head to a county clerk's office with your future spouse to fill out the application. You'll need to provide proof of your age and identity—a driver's license or state ID should do the trick. Some counties may also require proof of your Social Security number, whether that's your Social Security card or a W2, so check with your clerk's office in advance to know all the requirements.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a marriage license in New Mexico may vary a bit by county, but we've generally found that they charge a fee of $25.

Important things to remember:

In order to change your name in New Mexico after marriage, you need proof that you've legally wed. That's where the marriage license comes in. The first step is applying for it before the big day. The second step is filing it after you exchange vows. Once that's complete, you'll receive a marriage certificate that you'll use to get a legal name change through the Social Security Administration.

How to Petition for a Name Change in New Mexico

There are times when a legal name change in New Mexico requires a court order instead of a marriage certificate. Examples include creating a brand new last name (such as Mr. Johnson and Mr. Smith becoming the Johnsmiths) or changing your first name. Unfortunately, this adds extra time (and hundreds of dollars) to the name change process, so you should triple-check that it's something you actually have to do. Pro tip: If you send HitchSwitch a photo of your marriage certificate, its experts can tell you whether or not you can use it for your desired name change.

Know you need a court order? File your petition with the district court in the county where you live. This state-run website outlines New Mexico's name change laws, but you can always contact your local court for more information. Once you get the signed order, you'll use it to legally change your name with the SSA.

How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card

After you've said "I do" or had a judge grant you your name change, it's time to get that Social Security card updated. This makes the surname switch official with the government. For the full scoop, see the SSA's instructions for getting a corrected card, but we've outlined the need-to-know details below.

What documents do you need?

Fill out Form SS-5, an application for a Social Security card. You should also provide:

  • Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (your current driver's license or state ID should suffice)
  • Proof of citizenship if you haven't already given it to the SSA (your birth certificate or passport works)

Mail or bring your documents to your local SSA office. (Find the nearest New Mexico location here.)

How much does it cost?

In most cases, this is absolutely free. Good news, right?

Important things to remember:

Original or certified copies of your documents are necessary to make this switch. If you don't already have them, that means requesting them from the appropriate offices, so get started on that ASAP. It'll usually cost you a small fee to obtain them.

How to Change Your Name on Your Passport

After your SSA name change goes through, it's time to update your passport (if you have one). This can take over a month, so we recommend getting started ASAP. After all, what if you want to take an impromptu trip sometime soon?

What documents do you need?

The form you fill out will depend on which of these categories you fall into:

1. If your passport was issued less than a year ago and you changed your name within that time frame, you'll only need a passport correction. For this, mail in:

  • Form DS-5504
  • Your current passport
  • Your legal name change document
  • A color passport photo

2. If your passport is in good condition, was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and was issued within the last 15 years, you'll need to renew your passport. For this, mail in:

  • Form DS-82
  • Your current passport
  • Your legal name change document
  • A color passport photo

3. Apply for a new passport if your passport doesn't fall into either of the above groups. For this, you'll have to visit a Passport Acceptance Facility in person to submit:

  • Form DS-11
  • Proof of identity, including a photocopy
  • Proof of citizenship, including a photocopy
  • Your legal name change document
  • A color passport photo

For more information about the different types of passport forms, visit Travel.State.Gov. (HitchSwitch can help you figure out which one you need too.)

How much does it cost?

Correcting a passport is free (woot). Renewing a passport costs $110 for a passport book (and/or $30 for a card), while applying for a new passport costs $110 for a passport book, $30 for a card, plus $35 in additional fees.

Important things to remember:

Always make sure your name on travel reservations matches your name on your passport. That's why many married people wait until after the honeymoon to initiate a name change. It's also why some people expedite the passport process, which does cost a bit of extra money but is worth it if you're taking a trip in the near future.

How to Change Your Name on Your New Mexico Driver's License

Changing your name on your New Mexico driver's license is important so your name matches up with what's probably your most-used form of ID.

Head to a local New Mexico MVD location and ask to update your license with the new name. You can find a list of locations here. You'll be expected to bring along proof of the name change (yep, that marriage certificate or court order again). Call you location for more information and inquire about updating your vehicle's title and registration too while you're at it.

How to Finish Changing Your Name in New Mexico

Once you're done with the SSA, your passport and the MVD, you'll have your major IDs updated with your new name. But you won't be totally done with your New Mexico name change. You'll still have to update any entity that has your old name on file.

Worried you're forgetting something? HitchSwitch is great for this too. It provides its customers with personalized checklists and how-tos for almost every facet of changing your name, taking out so much of the guesswork and saving married people a whole lot of stress.

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