Recently added an “r” to your previous title, Ms.? Congratulations! Ideally, marriage changes everything for the better. It makes a positive difference to the way you love, the way you live, the way you laugh and learn… For many women, it also involves another beautiful, poignant, and symbolic change: a name change. If you’re a newly married woman who has chosen to take your husband’s last name as a gesture of love, trust, and respect, we salute you. We also want to show you how to turn that symbolic change into a practical one. If you’d like to receive letters addressed to Mrs. Your Husband, we can help with that… so long as the letters come from the DMV! Read on to find out how to make changing your last name with the DMV a piece of [leftover wedding] cake!
First Things First: Name Change Is Needed at the Social Security Administration
You must change your name first with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before you can do so anywhere else. Your Social Security number must reflect your new name to be legal for changing elsewhere. If only takes about a day or two (24-48 hours) to change in their system, and their website and agents can give you very clear instructions as to the process of changing your name with the SSA, so we’ll spare you those details here.
Skip the Line: Make an Appointment
Even if you show up to the DMV at 8:30, you’ll face a line as long as though it were another new Star Wars premiere. Why not save yourself the hassle and make an appointment with the DMV ahead of time? In most states, you can call to make an appointment, or, even easier, go online and schedule an appointment there. It may be that your appointment is a few weeks out, but it can be earlier, and it will save you all the hassle of waiting in line since appointments are serviced at the time the appointment is scheduled regardless of how many people are in the walk-in line! Plus, if you want to have your name changed right away, why not call your DMV and schedule an appointment ahead of time, even before the actual wedding day?
Tip: For even faster service, try to get an appointment as close to your local DMV’s opening hours as possible.
Be Ye Prepared
Preparation is everything. In most states, the process for name changes is clearly outlined on the DMV website (or you can ask when you call to make an appointment). That means that you should have an excellent idea of exactly what forms, documents, forms of ID, and other required paperwork will be needed for your name change. Print them off and fill them out completely before your appointment to save time and hassle. It may be that your state doesn’t allow you to fill out a particular form before you get to the DMV, but that’s ok; having everything else taken care of will make the rest of the process so smooth that you’ll hardly notice the extra few minutes it will take to pop over to the side, fill out the one or two forms only printed at the DMV, and then you can get right back to work with your dedicated agent during your scheduled appointment time.
Be Kind and Flexible
Gold is one of the rarest and most valuable elements on earth, which is why it’s called the golden rule. What’s the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want a fast turn-around for your name change, the best thing to do is to be kind, flexible, and patience when dealing with the overworked and often underpaid employees at the DMV. They may get a bad rep, but in fact, contrary to popular belief, they’re just people, and they, like us all, work faster, more efficiently (and more pleasantly) when you are pleasant to them.
Likely, you’ll be working with a few people when you go to get a name change (which will, of course, require a new license with your new name, and likely a new picture of the new Mrs. Your Husband). This means that you’ll possibly be shuffled from the paperwork lady to the paperwork processor gentleman, to the picture taker lady, to the final processor gentleman (if you’re lucky enough to live in a state where they can print your license right away! More likely, you’ll have to wait to pick up your license, or have it mailed to you). That’s a lot of opportunity for you to be friendly and kind to people, and when you do, the response is often a quick pick me up and faster and much friendlier service. It’s true: by treating people like you want to be treated, you really can get in and out of the DMV much faster than others who take a snarky, impatient approach. Try it for yourself!