Your Guide to Changing Your Name in Vermont

Morphing your moniker in the Green Mountain State is going to take some know-how.
couple and wedding party walking together
Colette Kulig Photography
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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Ready to change your name? Exciting! Ready for all the paperwork? Well, maybe not. Changing your name in Vermont is a multi-step process that takes some time and dedication.

If you're already overwhelmed by the thought of filling out forms and researching where you send them in, the good news is you can enlist help if you want. A name change service like HitchSwitch can auto-fill a bunch of your forms for you and then provide you personalized instructions for sending it all in.

Want to know exactly what's in store for the name change process? Here's how to legally change your name in Vermont.

How to Get Your Marriage License and Certificate

In most cases, the first step toward changing your name postwedding actually happens before the wedding—that's getting a marriage license. A marriage license sets up the paperwork for you to have a legal marriage, which can make the name change a bit more straightforward of a process.

You'll need to get a marriage license in whichever state or country you're getting married. So if you're having a destination wedding, see the requirements of your location.

If your ceremony is taking place in Vermont, you'll get your license at any town clerk's office in the state.

What forms do you need?

You'll need the Vermont marriage license application, which is available at the town clerk's office or printable online. VT marriage license requirements including showing federal or state ID (passport, driver's license, etc.), so don't forget to bring those along.

How much does it cost?

It costs $60 for a Vermont marriage license. Check with the town clerk to see what forms of payment are accepted. There may be a fee to pay with a credit card, for example.

Important things to remember:

Vermont doesn't require that couples write their new names on their marriage license. But Jake Wolff, founder of HitchSwitch, warns that those getting married out of state be careful in how they fill out their forms.

"If the marriage license has blanks to fill in 'maiden surname' and 'current surname,' you should write the name you want after marriage in the 'current surname' blank," says Wolff. "That way, when the marriage certificate is issued, it will have the new name on there and you can use that document to make the change."

Luckily, for Vermont weddings, you won't have to worry about this tricky step.

How to Petition for Vermont Name Change

There are some rare cases in which one might need a court order to legally change your name in Vermont. In most cases, the marriage license is enough to get the ball rolling at the Social Security office. But Wolff explains that usually with a marriage license, you can only really change your last name to your spouse's last name or a hyphenation or combo of the two names. So, if you have a more unusual name change request—like creating a new last name or changing your first name—a court order is likely necessary. It would also be necessary if you didn't have a legal wedding.

To get a court order, you'll have to petition the probate court in the county where you live. You can find information on how to complete the name change petition, as well as a fillable petition for a VT name change form at the Vermont Judiciary website.

For full instructions on how to legally change your name in Vermont, contact your probate court.

How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card

A Social Security name change in Vermont is key in making the switch official. Once you make the switch with the SSA, then you'll be able to change your name on other important IDs.

In most cases, you'll be able to mail your documents to the closest SSA, but you may have to pay an in-person visit. Find your nearest location here. See the SSA's website for full instructions on getting a corrected card to know for sure.

What forms do you need?

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

  • Legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (valid government photo ID, such as your current driver's license)
  • Proof of citizenship (your birth certificate or passport).

Note that proof of citizenship is only necessary if you haven't proved your citizenship with the SSA already.

How much does it cost?

Yay! In most cases, this part of changing your name in Vermont is absolutely free.

Important things to remember:

The SSA only accepts original documents or certified copies (not photocopies) of the marriage certificate, birth certificate and other documentation. So go ahead and find those in your personal files, or if you don't have them, request them from their respective offices. (Unfortunately, this usually costs extra money.)

How to Change Your Name at the Vermont DMV

Next up should be changing your name on your driver's license or state ID card. That's because, by law, a Vermont DMV name change is required within 30 days of making the legal switch at the Social Security office.

Head to a DMV location to obtain a corrected license. Instructions and forms are available on the Vermont DMV website. We've outlined the need-to-know info below.

What forms do you need?

You'll need to complete form VL-040, and check "needs name changed" at the top. Bring along verification of your name and date of birth from Social Security Online Verification (SSOLV) and also your marriage certificate or court order. (If you had a civil union before same-sex marriage became legalized in Vermont, you may bring your civil union certificate.)

How much does it cost?

It costs $32 for a two-year license or $51 for a four-year license.

Important things to remember:

The DMV also requires name change documents to be originals or certified copies.

How to Change Your Name on Your US Passport

Next up is changing your name on your passport. It's an important ID to have updated with your new information, especially if you want to travel internationally any time soon.

Updating a passport can take six to eight weeks, so it's a great idea to kick this off asap. You can get full instructions from the Department of State guide to correcting or changing a passport, but the following is the skinny on the process.

What forms do you need?

The form you fill out will depend on the status of your current passport. It will be one of these three:

1. Form DS-5504: This is the correct form if you're changing your name within a year of receiving your current passport. Basically, it means you're correcting your passport, so it reflects the new name. Mail in the form along with:

  • Your current passport
  • Your certified name change document
  • A recent color photo (This is included in HitchSwitch's $99 package. Nice!)

2. Form DS-82: This is the form for a passport renewal. You'll use this if your current was issued within the last 15 years and you were at least 16 years old at the time. The passport must be in good condition! Mail in the form and:

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

3. Form DS-11: Use this form if neither of the above applies to you. It's an application for a new passport, and it requires an in-person visit to a Passport Acceptance Facility. You'll bring the from along with:

  • Proof of identity and a photocopy of it
  • Proof of citizenship and a photocopy
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

If you need your passport, like yesterday, you can make an appointment at the Vermont Passport Agency in St. Albans. You'll need proof that you're traveling internationally in the next week, as well as a $60 expedition fee.

How much does it cost?

DS-5504 (passport correction) is free.

DS-82 (passport renewal) costs $110 for a new passport book and/or $30 for a new passport card.

DS-11 (new passport) costs $110 for the book, $30 for the card, plus an extra $35 processing fee.

Important things to remember:

It's important to carefully consider the timing on your passport name change if you're traveling internationally any time soon. That's because your name on travel reservations and tickets must match your name on your passport.

For example, some people wait until after their honeymoon to start the name change process. Others expedite their passport change (it's an additional $65) so they get it a little quicker and in time for upcoming trip plans.

How to Finish Changing Your Name in Vermont

Once you've changed your name on your most important IDs—the Social Security card, driver's license and passport—you'll have made a major accomplishment. But there's more to do to complete your Vermont name change after marriage.

You'll have to notify any companies or record holders that may have your old name on file. This most likely includes your employer, banks and credit cards, insurance companies and so much more.

Thankfully, HitchSwitch provides its customers checklists and how-to guides to complete even the seemingly minute—but yet crucial—aspects of changing your name.

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