The process of changing your name on your Social Security card is simple—as long as you have the proper documentation. Individuals who already have Social Security cards should follow the instructions below.
You’ll need to provide proof of your identity and citizenship, as well as a completed Social Security form and documentation of your name change.
How to Notify the Social Security Administration of a Name Change
If you’ve just changed your legal name, the first step is to notify the Social Security Administration of your new name.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires three forms of documentation to process a Social Security name change on your card, regardless of how or why you changed your name. The following documents must state and demonstrate that you have:
- A new legal name.
- Proof of citizenship in the United States or immigration paperwork from the United States is required.
Changes to your Social Security card cannot be made online because the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires original papers.
To submit your documents, you can either send in the originals or certified copies from the issuing agency, or you can bring your documents to the Social Security Administration office in your county.
Going to a Social Security Administration office is the quickest and most efficient option to get a Social Security name change, and it gives you the assurance that you will receive your original documentation back.
The Social Security Administration also returns postal original documents, but there is always the possibility that they will be misplaced.
Demonstration of your new legal name
You must submit documentation to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to demonstrate proof of your name change. If you’ve gone by more than one name, you must produce documentation demonstrating the sequence in which your names have changed.
Suppose you were married, then divorced, and then remarried, each time changing your name. You’ll need to bring your marriage license and divorce decree with you to the interview.
Based on how your name was changed, you may only be required to show the most recent document in which you received your new name, such as a marriage license or a court order.
If you have only had one name change since getting your last Social Security card, you may only be required to show the most recent document in which you received your new name.
Keep in mind, however, that the Social Security Administration (SSA) reserves the right to request documentation proving your prior names; therefore, if in doubt, it’s preferable to provide them.
The documents needed for proof of name change include one of the following:
- In the context of name change proceedings, a court order
- Obtaining a marriage license
- Dissolution of marriage (divorce decree or judgment)
- With the change of name on the certificate of naturalization
- Order a judgment of adoption
A certified copy of your birth certificate can serve as confirmation of your identity at the time of your birth. Besides your birth certificate, you can use other documents to verify your previous names as long as they are either originals or certified copies. You can even use documents that have expired.
Identification as evidence of one’s identity
There are various methods of proving your identification, but just one is required in this situation. The most effective methods are as follows:
- A valid driver’s license from the United States
- State ID card
- Unexpired U.S. passport or other passports if you are a noncitizen
However, if those are not available, you can display the following documents if they feature your photograph:
- School or student ID card
- Identification card for the employer
- U.S. military ID card
- Identification card for health insurance
Proof of citizenship or other legal status in the United States is required.
Proof of citizenship or other legal status in the United States requires one of the following documents, such as:
- Birth certificate from the United States
- Passport from the United States
- Certificate of Naturalization (Certificate of Naturalization)
- Certificate of Citizenship (Certificate of Citizenship)
- A birth in another country has been reported to the United States Consulate.
- Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa) with your unexpired foreign passport
- I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit)
- I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport
Various Other Documents Required for the purpose of changing one’s Social Security number.
Once you’ve gathered your paperwork, you’ll need to complete the Social Security Form SS-5, which is available online. Filling out the form is a rather simple process. The first block should contain the whole name that you wish to use.
This is the “name that will be displayed on the card.” Then enter the name you were given at birth, followed by any additional names you’ve used over the years.
Since this is not an initial application for a Social Security number, you do not need to enter your parent’s Social Security number. It is sufficient to simply list your parents’ names. Fill in the blanks on the form with numbers 1 through 18.
Bring the form and your supporting documents to your local Social Security Administration office, or mail the form and your supporting documentation.
While you must submit many documents to the Social Security Administration, as well as the completed SSA Form SS-5, the process is straightforward and takes only a few weeks to receive a new card.
Following the completion of the process of changing your Social Security card to reflect your new name, you will be able to make changes to other papers, such as your driver’s license, much more quickly.