The Easiest Way to Get a Name Change in Texas

Overwhelmed? Don't be! Here's every step you need to take to change your name in the Lone Star State.
Texas bride and groom
Jackson Wedding Studios
The Knot
Updated May 21, 2020
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One of the most exciting things about getting hitched is that you're officially becoming a team. And with that, you need a great team name. For many couples, this means sharing a last name. Wondering how to change your name in Texas? If you live in TX, the process for a name change after marriage definitely requires some legwork. There are lots and lots of forms to fill out, and you'll be making visits to a driver's license office, the local courthouse and pretty much every other place you'd prefer to avoid. Fortunately though, there's a way to make a name change in Texas considerably easier. HitchSwitch is a professional name change service that not only guides you through the process of how to legally change your name, it actually does the bulk of the work for you.The service tackles everything from researching to autofilling tons of paperwork; plus, the cheapest package costs only $39! But just in case you want to know the process behind it all, from what name change forms to fill out to where to go and how much it'll cost, here's a step-by-step guide on how to change your last name in Texas.

In this article:

How to Get a Marriage License in Texas

A name change after marriage in Texas starts with applying for a marriage license, which you can do at your local county clerk's office if you're getting married in the state. According to Jake Wolff, the founder of HitchSwitch, you can use your Texas marriage license to either take your spouse's surname or add it to your own in any order, with or without a hyphen. That said, we strongly recommend calling ahead to ensure your type of name change will be covered by your marriage license. (Though of course, you'll need a marriage license regardless in order to legally wed!) Or, sign up for HitchSwitch's name change service—the team of experts can answer all your state-specific questions. In fact, if you splurge for the $99 package (which most couples think is so worth it), you'll get your very own Name Change Concierge.

If you're planning a destination wedding, look up the marriage license requirements in that location instead of following the instructions below. (You'll have to apply for one there, not in TX!)

What documents do you need?

While requirements vary from county to county, your best bet is to visit the county clerk's office together with both your valid government IDs (or original birth certificates) and your social security cards.

How much does it cost?

This varies too, but expect to pay anywhere from around $60 to $71. (Note that you'll probably have to pay a small, additional fee for each certified copy postwedding.)

Important things to remember:

Typically, you'll have to wait 72 hours to obtain your marriage license after applying. From there, you'll have 30 days to tie the knot in Texas. Once you're married, you can use the certified copy to legally change your name. For more information about marriage licenses in Texas, pick up the most recent Texas issue of our regional The Knot magazine.

How to Petition for a Name Change in Texas

In some cases, you may have to petition for a name change in Texas. Wolf's example is if you decide to create an entirely new surname after marriage. (Consider Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith becoming the "Jonesmiths.") This is a more involved and expensive process, so it's important that you make sure you actually need to undergo it. Again, that's something that the experts at HitchSwitch can happily help you determine.

What documents do you need?

The first step is to have your fingerprints taken so you can submit them to both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the F.B.I. Learn more about obtaining fingerprint cards in Texas here.

To get the actual name change process rolling, you'll need to fill out two forms: the Original Petition for Change of Name and the Order Granting Change of Name of Adult. You can get these forms from your local county court. The first form is the one that you'll use to apply for your name change. The second is the one the judge will sign once your name change has been granted. It's important that the information on both forms is exactly the same in order to change your name.

Once you've filled out the name change forms, DO NOT SIGN THEM. The Original Petition for Change of Name must be signed in front of a notary. You can find a notary near you by clicking here. The Order Granting Change of Name will be signed by the judge.

Please contact your local county court for more information about what you'll need (such as any forms of ID) when you file your petition and get your order signed.

How much does it cost?

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the state's fingerprinting service costs $20 plus additional processing fees. Meanwhile, the act of filing your petition and obtaining a court order could cost you hundreds of dollars. (Call your local county court for the specifics.) You'll also be charged a small fee to get certified copies of your signed court order.

Important things to remember:

Expect to attend a court hearing after you file your petition so a judge can sign your name change order form. The Texas Young Lawyers Association recommends reaching out to the court your case has been assigned to to learn more about how these court appearances are scheduled. You can also visit Texas State Law Library's website for more information about a name change petition in Texas.

As you can tell, obtaining a court order for a legal name change can get pretty complicated, and the information above is far from exhaustive. It's super-important to contact your local county court for additional instructions and guidelines. Now's also the time to remind you of the value of a name change service like HitchSwitch. If you're stressed about the cost or taking time off from work to appear in court, work with an expert to ensure a court order is actually necessary for your Texas name change.

How to Get a Social Security Name Change in Texas

Once you've obtained a legal name change document (a marriage certificate or court order), changing your name with the Social Security Administration is essentially ground zero for changing your name everywhere else. Until the SSA recognizes your name change, no one else will.

What documents do you need?

Simply download the application for a new Social Security card (the SS-5) and fill it out following the attached instructions. Submit it with original or certified copies of your:

  • Legal name change document
  • US birth certificate (if you haven't already established US citizenship)
  • US driver's license or passport

Please visit the SSA's website if you don't have one of the bulleted documents.

How much does it cost?

The good news about a Social Security name change in Texas (or anywhere in the US) is that it's free.

Important things to remember:

To submit your application and other required documents, head down to your nearest Social Security office in Texas, which you can find here. You can also mail everything to the Social Security office.

Expect to receive a new Social Security card (with the same number but a different name on it) in two to three weeks. And once you change your name on the card, make sure to inform your employer. You don't want all of those precious tax dollars you're paying going to the wrong person.

How to Get a Passport Name Change in Texas

Next up is your passport name change. Why? Because, according to Wolff, having an updated one can make other name change tasks, like replacing your driver's license, easier. (It basically serves as extra proof of a legal name change, so there'll be no confusion at the Department of Public Safety.) The process changes based on how long it's been since your original passport was issued.

What documents do you need?

First, decide which of three forms you'll need to fill out. Then, prepare the required accompanying documents:

1. Form DS-5504

This is called the Passport Correction Form and can only be used if you're requesting a name change within a year of when your original passport was issued. Submit the application via mail and don't forget to include:

  • Your most recent US passport
  • Your original or certified name change document
  • A color passport photo (psst—HitchSwitch includes one of these in their $99 package)

2. Form DS-82

This one's called the Passport Renewal Application. You can use it if you 1) have your current passport and it's in good condition, 2) got it when you were at least 16 years old, and 3) got it issued within the past 15 years. When you submit this form (again, through the mail), you'll have to include:

  • Your legal name change document
  • Your existing US passport
  • A new passport photo

3. Form DS-11

In all other cases, you're stuck with the regular ol' US Passport Application. Unfortunately, that means you'll have to apply for your passport in person. Locate a Department of State Passport Agency (for expedited service) or Acceptance Facility (for everyone else) to get started. As you're planning your visit, gather the following to bring along with:

  • Your certified or original name change document
  • Proof of identity (plus a photocopy)
  • Proof of citizenship (plus a photocopy)
  • A passport photo

Here, find out more about applying for a US passport.

How much does it cost?

As you probably could've guessed, it all depends on which form you have to use:

  • Form DS-5504: You're in luck—you owe $0!
  • Form DS-82: $110 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card or $140 for both
  • Form DS-11: $110 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card or $140 for both, as well as a $35 execution fee

Expedited service for any of the above options will cost an extra $60. (This will get you your passport in two to three weeks, as opposed to six to eight.)

Important things to remember:

Consider the US Department of State's website your source of truth for all things passport-related. Double-check all requirements there and use its simple tools to find the right form for you.

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

Now it's time for a Texas driver's license name change, which is actually a fairly easy process. Texas requires you to do this in person at your nearest Driver License Office, which you can find here.

What documents do you need?

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety website, you'll need (surprise, surprise) your legal name change document. (As a reminder, that's your certified marriage license or court order.) It's always best to call ahead to find out what else you might need depending on your specific situation.

How much does it cost?

As long as your license hasn't expired, the fee for a card with your new name change is $11 in Texas.

Important things to remember:

The most important thing to know is that you'll need to change your name with the Texas Department of Public Safety within 30 days of your official name change.

Where Else to Change Your Name in Texas

When it comes to changing your last name in Texas (or anywhere for that matter), the work doesn't stop once you've updated your official documents. You'll also need to change your name with the post office, voter registration, your bank and credit card companies, utility companies, your medical professionals, and pretty much anywhere/anyone else you can think of. (Services like HitchSwitch can help you compile a comprehensive, personalized checklist.) It's a long process, but as long as you do the initial name change legwork with your driver's license, passport and Social Security card, you'll be set up for success.

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