Guide to Name Change After Marriage (US citizens)

I’ve just recently gone through the process of changing my name after getting married last year, and I thought it would be a good idea to post about what I had to do for others who may be in the same situation. Although it’s likely that much of the process is the same regardless of your nationality, please note that I am an American, so your mileage may vary. :slight_smile:

After I got married, I got in touch with the social security office to see if it was possible to change my last name using a marriage certificate from overseas. I was told that it didn’t matter where the marriage took place, as long as the bride and groom’s names were in English. Also important, it is only possible to use a marriage certificate as a way to change one’s name within two years from the date of the marriage. Once two years have passed, you will have to go through the court system to have your name changed. The person who contacted me also said that I could submit all my documents by mail to their offices and have them sent back to me. I chose to go through the AIT.

Here’s what to do step-by-step:

Step 1: Get married! And get your marriage certificate. (My husband and I got married in Hong Kong, but I was still able to do my name change here at the AIT. So it doesn’t matter where you got hitched, as long as you have the original certificate.)

Step 2: Make an appointment at the AIT for a passport application. At this appointment, you will bring in all the required documents for a new passport and those for a new social security card. For the passport: the application, a photo, and your passport. For the social security card: the SS-5 form and your ORIGINAL marriage certificate. (If you want to be nice, you can make copies of everything to help out the ladies at the counter so that they don’t have to do it for you.) The great thing about submitting your documents through the AIT rather than send them yourself is that you get to keep your originals. I’m always paranoid about things getting lost in the mail, so that’s why I chose to do things this way. The person at the AIT who takes your applications will stamp and sign the copies of your passport and marriage certificate, which will be sent to the processing agencies, and you’ll walk out with your originals.

Now, the AIT does the name change process a bit different. They actually send in for your passport first, not the social security card. So, they’ll just hold on to your SS stuff until the passport comes back. Once the passport comes in (usually 2-4 weeks) you’ll get a call from the AIT. Just go down there, sign your new name on your new passport, and they’ll make a copy, stamp it, and sign it. You’ll get your new passport back, and they’ll send the copy of your new passport, the same copy of your marriage certificate (the one sent with your application is returned with the passport), and your completed SS5 form. All social security issues are handled by an office in the Philippines, so that’s where your documents are sent. I was told that it could take 2-6 months from my new SS card to arrive here, and it’s almost the 2 month mark for me now, and I still haven’t gotten mine. So be prepared for a long wait on that. :slight_smile: Luckily, you don’t really need it for the rest of your name change process!

Step 3: Time to change the ARC! You’ll need to go the immigration agency and apply for a new card. When you fill out the ARC form, just check the change of information box. The only documents I had to show were my old and new passports, and I assume that would be the same for everyone since you’re not renewing an ARC, just changing information on it. Also, you’ll need a new picture. When you get there, be prepared for a little explaining. I don’t think name changes are a common occurrence, but just show them the information change on your old and new passports and they should get it. Also, obviously, your passport number changes too. I don’t recall paying anything for my new ARC, but I’m sure it’s possible that someone could be charged $500 NT (the replacement ARC fee). You’ll get a receipt as usual and be told to come back in 2 weeks to pick it up.

Step 4: New NHI card! After picking up your new ARC, you’ll need to get a new NHI card with your new name. The office in Taipei is near Taipei Main Train Station (臺北市中正區公園路 15-1 號 5 樓). All you need for this one is your new ARC, a picture, and $200 NT. Just go up to the fifth floor and get a number from the information desk. When your number gets called, tell the person that you have a new name and need to change the NHI card to match your ARC. They will copy the name exactly as it appears on the ARC, no other documents needed. Pay the fee, and then you’ll get another number. In about 20 minutes, that number will be called, and you’ll grab your new health card.

Step 5: New work permit! I actually have an APRC and open work permit, so if you have a work-sponsored one, you’ll have to go through your HR department for that. For the open work permit, go to the new BEVT office near Ximen (conveniently located near the NHI office if you want to do them on the same afternoon :slight_smile:) (台北市中正區中華路一段39號10樓/11樓). Luckily, Mr. Lu is still there, so the process is quite easy. Bring in the application form, your old and new passports, your new APRC, and a picture. Remember to make copies of everything! There is actually a copy machine there, but it’s 10NT a copy. There was no fee for the new work permit; I assume because it’s just a change of information. If you want, you can wait for it to be printed or you can have it sent to your home.

OK. So, that’s it for the big stuff. I’ve done my name change at a few banks as well. Mostly, it’s just time-consuming because no one has ever had to do a name change before, so they have to do a lot of calling to different offices or departments. Bring your old and new passports, ARC, and bank books to every bank you go to change and you should be fine. As for American banks, most have let me change my name through their online banking systems. So things have been pretty easy.

Good Luck!