Personal Finance 

Changing Your Maiden Name After Marriage

One of the tricky things about being “recently married” is that the missus was in name limbo. “Technically,” she’s my wife with my last name (that’s right!). “Legally,” she still retains her maiden name until she goes to the Social Security Administration to change her SS card name and the DMV or MVA to change her license name. So what happens when we get a check written out to her new name? Trickiness! Headaches! But not to fret, I’ll try to capture everything we’ve done so that it can be as painless as possible for all you newlyweds out there.

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How To Get A Passport

Given the new passport rules, I thought it might be helpful to give some helpful instructions on how one goes about applying for and getting a United States Passport.

What You’ll Need

  • Passport application form. If it’s your first time (or first time in a long time), you’ll likely need the DS-11; if it’s a renewal, you’ll likely need DS-82. Both have online versions you can fill out online and print out (DS-11 Online, DS-82 Online). DO NOT SIGN those documents, you must sign them in person!
  • Two photographs of yourself. The photos must be 2″ x 2″, identical, taken within the last six months, full color, frontal with a white or off-white background, and some other specifications. Basically, you need to have them done at a place that does Passport photos.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship. This is most easily achieved by an expired Passport or a certified Birth Certificate (one with a raised or embossed seal); but you can also use a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth, Naturalization Certificate, or a Certificate of Citizenship. A military ID is not sufficient. If you don’t have any of those, there is a full list of acceptable options here.
  • Valid form of photo identification. Again, if you have an expired Passport then that’s your best bet but if not, you can try a Naturalization Certificate or a current and valid Driver’s license, government ID (city, state or federal), or a military ID. If none of those work, there are a few more options here.
  • Your social security number – Not sure why this is necessary but if you don’t, apparently the IRS can impose a $500 penalty. The State Department doesn’t specify if you need your social security card but I’d bring it if you have it handy.

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