Many women traditionally assume the surname of their husbands after marriage. If you reside in North Carolina, the state provides a simple and straightforward process to legally adopt your husband's last name as your own. After the state's legal process has been completed, you must still notify other agencies, organizations and individuals that will continue to identify and address you under your maiden name.
Obtain a certified copy of your marriage license from the Register of Deeds office in your county of residence no sooner than 10 days after the marriage ceremony. This can be done by mail or in person, and requires the payment of a fee.
Prepare the application for a social security card. You can obtain a copy of the application form on the Social Security Administration's website, from a local SSA office, a Social Security Card Center or by calling 800-772-1213.
File the form "Application for a Social Security Card" and original identifying documents with the SSA. There is no fee to apply for a new card, but you must enclose the certified copy of your marriage certificate, documentary proof of your age, such as a birth certificate, and either your U.S. passport or a state-issued driver’s license or identification card. You can mail the application and supporting documents to any SSA office.
Obtain a duplicate driver’s license or identification card from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. To apply, take the certified copy of your marriage license and your current driver's license or identification card in person to any DMV Driver License Office. North Carolina law requires that you notify the DMV within 60 days of your name change, which is the date of your marriage.
- U.S. passport or official copy of birth certificate
- North Carolina driver’s license or identification card
Tips & Warnings
- Pay the $10 fee required by the North Carolina DMV, as of publication date, when requesting a duplicate driver’s license or identification card with your new name. The agency will accept cash, personal checks and money orders only.
- The North Carolina DMV will verify your new last name with the SSA at the time you apply for the duplicate license or identification card. For this reason, it’s important to wait at least 24 hours after the SSA receives your application to ensure that your social security number matches your new name.
- The SSA requires that you submit original documents and will not accept notarized copies of your U.S. passport, birth certificate or state-issued identification. The agency will return all documents you submit as well as your new social security card within 10 business days of receiving your application.
References & Resources
- Wake County Register of Deeds: Change Last Name After Marriage
- Social Security Administration: Change a Name on a Social Security Card
- Social Security Administration: Application for a Social Security Card
- North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles: License Renewal and Duplicate
- North Carolina Association Registers of Deeds: Register of Deeds Offices by County
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