11 Name Change Mistakes [And How To Avoid Them]
Let’s face it – the name change process isn’t fun.
Updating your Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, banks, credit cards, the list goes on and on.
And because you need to update your name in so many places, it’s almost impossible to go through it without making a few mistakes along the way.
These mistakes lead to wasted time, added stress, and in some cases, spending extra money.
The good news is that these mistakes are easily avoidable.
Since starting NewlyNamed in 2019, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of couples successfully navigate the name change after marriage process.
Here are the most common name change mistakes and how you can avoid them:
1) Procrastinating your name change
Did you know that less than 40% of name changes happen within three months after the wedding?
Meaning that the majority push it off! The problem is, as you wait, it just becomes a bigger headache down the road.
For example, you might miss the free passport window, you might want to open up a new account in your new name but won’t be able to without a new photo ID, or you might open more accounts in your old name meaning you’ll need to change your name in even more places.
The bottom line is it’s best to start as soon as you can!
2) Not following a checklist (you’ll miss things)
Being organized is key to making the name change process manageable. Changing your name takes on average 2-3 months and there are a lot of moving parts.
The good news is there are name change kits like NewlyNamed with checklists to help keep you organized – saving you time and your sanity!
3) Not upgrading to a REAL ID
Starting May 7, 2025, you will need a REAL ID or a U.S. Passport to travel on a domestic flight in the United States. REAL IDs are a federally compliant form of identification and required extra documentation to obtain one.
REAL IDs typically cost the same as a standard driver’s license and can be used to board domestic flights – a win/win.
If you’re heading to the DMV to update your driver’s license and don’t have a REAL ID, do yourself a favor and make the upgrade!
4) Forgetting to bring original documents
Throughout your name change, you’ll need to prove your identity by presenting things like your birth certificate, social security card, and marriage certificate.
In most cases, you’ll need to present original documents. Meaning faxed, photocopied, electronic, or laminated copies of your identity documents won’t work. So before you visit or mail anything in, make sure to read over the acceptable forms of documentation.
There’s nothing worse than waiting in line for an hour only to be turned away because you have a photocopy but not the original!
5) Updating your passport before your honeymoon
Don’t make the mistake of updating your passport if you’ve already booked your honeymoon (or other flights) in your maiden name.
Wait until you return to change your name. If you don’t wait, your ID won’t match your ticket and you may not be able to board your plane. It happens more often than you think!
6) Missing the free passport window
A lot of couples apply for passports before their honeymoon trip. Most people don’t know this but you’re eligible to change your name on your passport for free as long as you filed form DS-5504 within 12 months of your passport issuance date.
Many people wait too long and end up missing out on this huge break. If you miss the window you’ll have to file form DS-82 and pay the standard renewal fee of $130. Bummer!
7) Forgetting about TSA Precheck and Global Entry
For those who enjoy the amazing benefits of TSA Precheck and Global Entry, forgetting to update your name with these two travel programs will be in for a rude awakening when arriving at the airport.
I travel out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International and the TSA PreCheck line is never more than 10 minutes whereas the general boarding line can easily be over 30 minutes. Do yourself a favor and update them immediately!
8) Not scheduling appointments
So many people forget to schedule appointments and end up having to wait in line. When updating your driver’s license, vehicle title and registration, and bank accounts do some research to see if you can set up appointments beforehand.
Appointments are your best chance to avoid lines!
9) Not filling out paperwork beforehand
Along with scheduling appointments, most people don’t research ways to save time. Filling out paperwork beforehand is one of them.
Before you head to the DMV, see if you can fill out your driver’s license form at home to save yourself time and hassle before you arrive.
10) Forgetting about title and registration when you’re getting a new driver’s license
If you own a vehicle, chances are you’ll also need to update your vehicle title and registration to reflect your new name. A lot of people forget about this when they visit the DMV to update their license only to realize they’ll need to come right back!
The good news is most DMVs can process your license and vehicle info in one trip. The bad news is that most people don’t do their research and end up having to make a second DMV trip. Not fun!
11) Not getting multiple copies of your legal name change document
As we’ve mentioned a few times, your name change is a process. Your legal name change document (marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order) serves an important role in proving your new name to government agencies and organizations you have accounts with.
The problem is, most couples only have one copy and you’ll be asked to submit it multiple times – either in person or via mail. This likely means you’ll be waiting on your legal name change document to return to resume your name change.
So, if you pride yourself as an efficient person we suggest getting at least one certified copy of your legal name change document. You can do this by contacting the courthouse in the county where your marriage took place. It’ll cost you a few bucks but it’s so worth it to have an extra copy to use if needed.
Want to avoid all of these name change mistakes?
Check out our personalized name change kits. They are complete with all the forms you’ll need along with step-by-step instructions to make your name change as easy as possible.
Do you have any name change mistakes to add? If so, please leave them in the comments below!