passport, ID phone, sunglasses, suitcase

After the Wedding: Name Changes and Identification Cards

February 7, 2020

If your honeymoon destination involves flying within the U.S., check your ID and plan ahead. Identification requirements to board a plane change in October. Without the right credentials, you could be left at the airport. Beginning October 1, 2020, travelers will need to show identification that is REAL ID compliant, marked with a star ⭐️, to board domestic commercial flights. Driver licenses or other state-issued IDs are the most common form of identification. Check the TSA website for other acceptable forms, such as a passport.

To make sure your travel plans, don’t turn into a travel nightmare, get a REAL ID soon. “We recommend allowing 30-60 days to get all the name change paperwork completed,” said DMV Driver Eligibility Unit Supervisor Katie Bartelt. “If the couple is leaving right after the wedding to the airport, there won’t be time to update a driver license, especially if there’s a name change. In that case, it’s best to book the ticket in the maiden name.” Travelers with a regular driver license or ID can get the REAL ID star with their maiden name and update it later with their new name. The cost is $14 each time outside the regular renewal cycle.

Wisconsin driver licenses or IDs are the most convenient form of identification. But, if there’s a name change, there’s an added stop to update your card. This seemingly simple change is required on all identification cards. Understanding the process prior to tying the knot will lessen the post-wedding stress and shorten the to-do list later. Follow these steps to make the future easier when REAL ID is implemented in October 2020.


First, update your Social Security card

If you have legally changed your name, you will need to change your name with the Social Security Administration Office before coming to a DMV customer service center. When you come to a DMV customer service center to change your name on your driver license or identification card, you will be required to show proof of your name change.


Next, prepare your paperwork

Wisconsin DMV has the Driver License Guide ( to help create a personalized checklist of the documents needed to bring to the DMV. You can pre-fill any required application(s), submit electronically (if eligible), or print and bring the form(s) to the DMV. The Driver License Guide may also be able to schedule an appointment for the DMV visit for faster service.

Wisconsin Driver's License

Visit DMV and bring documents

Then come to the DMV with the usual identity documents, including:

  • Proof of Name and Date of Birth (Certified Birth Certificate or unexpired Passport)
  • Proof of Legal Presence (same as above plus Immigration (DHS) documentation that the person is legally present.)
  • Proof of Identity (current DL/ID product)
  • Proof of Wisconsin Residency (lease, utility bill, etc.)
  • Proof of Social Security Number (SS Card, 1099 form, W2, paystub w/ name and complete SSN)


REAL ID with name changes require added documents

If your name changed, in order to qualify for a REAL ID-compliant card, you must provide proof of ALL name changes since birth. For example, if a person was married twice and changed the name each time, all certified documents (no photocopies, faxes, etc.) would need to be presented:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree
  • Second Marriage Certificate


Important:  If the person has a current, unexpired Passport, they have already provided this information to U.S. Department of State. Therefore, a current, unexpired Passport is an acceptable substitute for ALL name change documents.

The details that go into a wedding don’t end after the reception. Couples who change their name(s) should add updating their driver licenses to the “To Do” list after the “I Do.”



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