Social Security Card Name Change Step-by-Step Guide

Social Security Card Name Change Step-by-Step Guide

It’s time to change your name, perhaps due to a marriage or a divorce, and you may have questions about the process.
While you could just change your name on things like your email and Facebook account, unfortunately, the government, insurance agencies, and other businesses won’t just take you at your word. That is why you need to change it legally on your social security card.
There are several reasons one would need to change their social security card name. Changing name on your social security card is a process, and here are steps you will go through before attaining a name change.
Though, you cannot exceed three name changes in a year and ten social security card name change in your entire life.

Background Check

This stage is the most crucial. You will need numerous original documents to pass this check. Once again, the documents have to be original, if you bring copies, your application will be rejected.
The Social Security Administration want to make sure they don’t send a social security card to anyone else but you or the relative you’re applying for.

Proof of citizenship

If you are a U.S Citizen, you will need documents to prove your citizenship.

Citizens born in the United States

For citizens born in the United States, you will need:

  • United States Birth Certificate – This automatically confirms your citizenship.
  • U.S. Passport – This document confirms your nationality and that you are in the country legally. This is in the case you were born outside of the United States, or you were initially not a citizen.

Foreign born

The foreign born United States citizens require an additional number of documents apart from their U.S passports. These include:

  • Certificate of Naturalization – this is issued to immigrants of the United States.
  • Certificate of Citizenship also offered to those born outside the United States.
  • Certificate of Report of Birth.
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad.


For non-citizens, to prove your immigration status you will need documents such as:

  • Form I – 551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card or Machine Readable Immigrant Visa)
  • I – 766 (Employment Authority Document or a work permit)
  • I – 94 (Arrival/Departure record) or an admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport
  • I – 20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non immigrant Student Status) this is for F-1 to M-1 students
  • DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) for J-1 0r J-2 exchange visitors)

Proof of Identity

Documents required for this stage must not be expired and should show your name, date of birth and a passport size photo of you that is recent. Such documents include; U.S passport, National Identity Card or driver’s license.

You may also be required to present your:

  • Employee ID card for those with jobs
  • School ID if a student
  • Health insurance card and this does not include Medicare
  • U.S military card if you served any post in the United States military

Non-citizens can also use their I-551, I-94 and I-766 forms to prove their identity. Some documents such as U.S passport are used both for Identity and citizenship confirmation.

Go to the office or apply from home

Once you gathered all the necessary documents, you can go to a Social Security office that you can find thanks to our Social Security Office Locator and plan a trip there. It won’t be an easy trip (limited hours, no parking sometimes, long waits) but it’s possible.

Don’t forget you need to fill out an SS-5 paper form before you go the office, you need help for that, you can check our Guide on How to fill out the SS-5 Form for a Social Security Card Name Change.

Or you can apply from home with GovSimplified.

Avoid long lines, wait and hassle to get your social security card

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