How to Simplify Your Postwedding Name Change in North Dakota

Use these tips and tricks to make the switch go smoothly in the Peace Garden State.
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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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So you want to know how to change your name after marriage in North Dakota? We're here to point you in the right direction. Getting a legal name change takes a few state-specific steps (and a few that ring true nationwide). Plus, there are some procedures that can differ depending on your own personal circumstances.

Dreading all the rigamarole already? The name change service HitchSwitch is a great option for those who want to take a few shortcuts in their quest for a name change. Sure, it costs a bit extra, but it can save you a ton of time and research. Basically, you'll be able to fill out one form on the HitchSwitch website, and the service will complete your paperwork for you and provide personalized instructions for submitting everything. HitchSwitch sounds pretty great, right?

No matter how you complete your married moniker paperwork, you should have the full scoop on what's involved. Here's how to change your last name in North Dakota.

How to Get a Marriage License

The first step toward changing your name is getting a marriage license. A marriage license should be obtained in the state or county where you legal ceremony will take place.

To get a North Dakota marriage license, you and your future spouse can head to any county recorder's office in the state.

What forms do you need?

You'll fill out a marriage license application. Also, bring along photo ID (a driver's license or passport should work). If either of you has been previously married, you'll also have to bring along an original or certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.

How much does it cost?

A marriage license in ND costs $65. Check ahead of time to see what forms of payment are accepted. Some counties accept only cash. Others charge an extra fee for credit card payments.

Important things to remember:

On your North Dakota marriage license, you'll be asked to write your full name after marriage. This is an important section to pay attention to! That's because the name you fill in will be the one listed on your marriage certificate later—the same certificate you'll show the Social Security office when you legally change your name—and so, it should accurately state the new name.

Also, know that there are also some rules about what the new name on the marriage license can be. Check them out at the North Dakota Legislative Branch website.

How to Petition for a North Dakota Name Change

In some cases, a court order is necessary for a North Dakota name change. This may be the case if you want a name change that wasn't an option on the marriage license application, or if you didn't write your new name on the form. If you're not sure whether or not you need a court order, HitchSwitch can help!

To get the court order, you'll have to petition for a name change with your District Court. To get a sense of North Dakota name change laws and what you'll have to do to file the petition, see the instructions listed at the State of North Dakota Courts System website. Note, though, that procedures and forms can vary a bit from court to court, so you should always check with your District Court for the full story on how to legally change your name in that North Dakota district.

How to Get a Social Security Card Name Change

Once you have your marriage certificate or court order in hand, your name change won't be official with the government yet. To seal the deal, you'll have to make the switch with the Social Security Administration. Plus, you'll need to do this before you can change any other IDs.

For the full how-to, read the SSA's instructions for getting a corrected card. We've got the major points below.

What forms do you need?

Fill out Form SS-5, which is an application for a Social Security card. You'll also need to submit:

  • Your legal name change document (the marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (a current driver's license or state ID)
  • Proof of citizenship (This is only necessary if you haven't already established this with the SSA. Usually, a birth certificate or passport works.)

Mail or bring your documents to your local SSA office. (Find North Dakota locations here.)

How much does it cost?

We love telling people this: Updating your Social Security record is usually free.

Important things to remember:

Here's the part that could cost money: The Social Security Administration requires original or certified copies of documents. So if there's anything you're missing (like your marriage certificate or birth certificate), you may have to request certified copies from the Vital Records office. There's typically a fee for them.

How to Get a North Dakota Driver's License Name Change

Once you've completed your legal name change with the Social Security Administration, it's time to head to a NDDOT driver's license site stat. That's because North Dakota law requires a license be corrected within 10 days of a name change.

And yes, you will have to visit the site in person. Here's a list of locations.

What forms do you need?

Bring along proof of your name change, such as the marriage certificate or court order.

How much does it cost?

It costs $3 for the duplicate license that reflects the name change. That's not so bad!

Important things to remember:

This name change document must also be an original or certified copy.

How to Get a Passport Name Change

No legal name change is complete without updating your U.S. Passport, if you have one. (If you don't, maybe it's time to get one. Think about it!) Passport name change instructions can be different for different people, depending on the condition and status of their current document. So familiarize yourself with all the particulars at Travel.State.Gov before you get started. We've outlined the most important parts below.

What forms do you need?

That part depends on your current passport, so check that out first. You'll need one of these three:

1. Form DS-5504
This is the form you'll want to use If you're correcting a passport that was issued less than a year ago. Mail in the form with:

  • Your current passport
  • Your legal name change document
  • A color passport photo (this is included in HitchSwitch's $99 package)

2. Form DS-82
Use this form if you're renewing a passport. To do this, the passport must be in good condition. Plus, it must have been issued within the last 15 years, and you must have been at least 16 years old when you got it. Mail in the form with:

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

3. Form DS-11
If you don't have a passport that fits either of the above descriptions, you'll have to apply for a new passport with this form. And you'll have to visit a Passport Acceptance Facility in person to to turn it in, along with:

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

If you're traveling internationally in 14 days or less and need a new passport, you'll have to go to a Passport Agency for expedited service. Unfortunately, the closest Passport Agency to North Dakota is in Minneapolis.

How much does it cost?

Correcting a passport (DS-5504) is free. Renewing a passport (DS-82) costs $110 for a passport book (and/or $30 for a card). Applying for a new passport (DS-11) costs $110 for a passport book (and/or $30 for a card), plus $35 in additional fees.

Important things to remember:

The passport process can take up to four to six weeks, so give yourself plenty of time before any international travel plans. Trip tickets and reservations should always bear the same name as your passport on the day you travel, so definitely keep that in mind.

How to Complete Your North Dakota Name Change

Now that you know how to change your last name in North Dakota, you should also know that updating your IDs isn't all you'll have to do. Once Social Security, NDDOT and the Passport office are alerted, you'll need to take on the tedious task of updating all your important accounts and records with the new name. Usually, this means telling your employer, insurance companies (health, auto, life, home, etc.), banks, credit companies and much more.

Overwhelmed? HitchSwitch can help you leave no stone unturned. It offers its customers checklists and instructions for so many parts of the name change process. This will help you stay organized and make sure you've changed your name in all the most crucial places.

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