Washington – How To Change Your Name

The Name Change Notification process begins after your legal name change has been obtained (e.g. via marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order), and it involves officially informing all of the relevant governmental organizations and agencies, as well as other professional and personal service providers and affiliates of your name change. (If you have not yet obtained a legal name change, you should visit our Washington Legal Name Change page.)

For a free, but more time-consuming alternative, we have broken down Name Change Notification into two major processes:

  1. Primary Name Change Notification: Notifying the relevant government agencies of your name change

  2. Secondary Name Change Notification: Notifying professional and personal affiliates and service providers of your name change

For each process, we have created an easy-to-follow check list with all the important links, to make your name change as smooth as possible. You should complete the Primary Name Change Notification steps first in the order that they appear, as the earlier steps are frequently prerequisites for the later ones. If, after reviewing the information below, you feel that you don’t have the time to complete all of these steps, this is by far the best alternative around.

Once you have completed the Primary Name Change Notification steps, you can go through the Secondary Name Change Notification steps.

Good Luck and Congratulations on your new name!

Primary Name Change Notification Steps

Proof of Legal Name Change Generally, proof of name change includes a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other legal record (usually a court order). Most institutions below will require proof of your legal name change in order to complete the name change process. If you don’t already have this document, you can request it via the links to the right. If you have not yet obtained a legal name change, visit our Washington Legal Name Change page. Be sure to keep a few copies of your proof of legal name change as a backup.

Marriage Certificate

Divorce Decree

Social Security Complete the SS-5 Form, and take (or mail) your completed application and required documentation to your local social security office. You will need to provide proof of: (1) your legal name change, (2) identity, and (3) US citizenship (if you were not a US citizen prior to the name change). Locate the nearest office via the link to the right.

SS-5 Form

Local Offices

IRS Good news here. Once you change your name with the Social Security Administration, the IRS will be informed within 10 days. So no additional work is necessary on your part.
Driver’s License and Car Registration You should be able to handle both driver’s license and car registration updates in one trip to your DMV. Just make sure you read the instructions carefully and bring (or mail in) ALL the required documentation so you don’t have to make a second trip back!
*NOTE: If you are moving, also change your address on your license at the same time.

License Name Change

Registration Name Change

Passport Follow the link to the appropriate form described below and click the disclaimer checkbox, then press “Submit”. You will be asked a series of questions to ensure you are using the correct form.
If you have had your valid passport for over one year, and it was issued when you were 16 or older use the DS-82 Form.
If your valid passport was issued within the past year use the DS-5504 Form.
If you do not have a valid passport; your passport was lost, stolen or damaged; it has expired; or you don’t have proof of legal name change, use the DS-11 Form, which needs to be submitted in person.
Fill out the correct form, then print and either mail to the Passport Agency or take to your local passport office. Make sure to include the appropriate fee, proof of legal name change, your old valid passport, and two passport photos. Locate the Local Passport Office nearest you.

DS-82 Form

DS-5504 Form

DS-11 Form

Local Passport Office

Voter Registration Follow the link to the right, click “Register To Vote”, and fill out the form. If you are already registered to vote, be sure to select “No” for question 5, “Are you registering for the first time?”. Once you select “No”, a dialog box will appear that will give you the option to select that you are changing your name. You can also change your address here if you have moved. Fill in the remaining questions, print it and mail it. The application will give you the address of where you need to send the form. Voter Registration Form

Post Office This item is somewhat out of place here—it really pertains to a change of address. But odds are decent that if you’re changing your name, you are also changing your address. So if this applies to you, follow the link to the right to easily change your address online with the USPS. Post Office Change

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