Changing Names if you were Married Overseas
If you were married overseas you should still be able to change names when returning home. Foreign marriage certificates issued by a government authority and written in English are accepted by the Social Security Administration and passports office. Once you have your Social Security records updated, you can apply for your driver’s license to be changed into your new name.
Foreign marriage certificates that are issued by a recognized religious authority are also accepted. If your marriage certificate is in a language other than English you may be required to have your marriage certificate translated by an approved translator. While it is unusual for the SSA or passports office to refuse your foreign issued marriage certificate, there are some rare instances where a marriage that is considered legal in one country is simply not recognized in the USA. The only way to know for sure is to lodge your name change request with Social Security. If it is refused you will be provided with a reason. If the SSA is unable to accept your foreign marriage certificate you can either undertake a legally recognized marriage ceremony in the USA or you may apply for a legal name change with the court. You may find it easier to get married as a court ordered legal name change typically costs $450 or more and can take 3 to 4 months. Read our section on legal name change for more information.
Each organization is entitled to set their own name change policy, including what documents are accepted as evidence of your new name. If you have a foreign issued marriage certificate we always recommend including a US government issued document to prove your name change has been accepted. This may include a letter issued by a government authority in your new name (such as a letter from the SSA), or your updated license or passport. Once you can prove the US government has approved your name change, organizations will be willing to update your records into the same name.
Ready to start changing names now?
All you need to get started is your marriage certificate and our free Easy Name Change kit. We'll provide the name change forms and procedures for state and federal agencies for free. We'll even include the Easy Name Change guide to step you through the process and our checklist so you don't miss anyone. Want to make the process as painless as possible? Check out who else we cover - choose from hundreds more companies. No need to wait on hold or do your own research. It couldn't be easier.
Considering Changing Names?
- Over 200 listings
- Marriage certificate
- Driver's license & DMV
- Over 1,000 organizations
- 12 company categories
- Unlimited selections
- Money back guarantee