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Making It Legal


Paperwork isn’t romantic, but there is a fair amount of it involved in getting married. Most of it takes place before the big day, which is good news, but much of it is time limited. Here’s what you need to get hitched.


A Before the big day, you need to apply for a marriage license. This usually takes place at your county’s clerk of court’s office. To get a marriage license, you usually need your Social Security numbers or any other available identifica­tion numbers, such as your driver’s license. You may also need a certified copy of your birth certificat­e, sometimes called the raised-seal copy. If you’ve been married before, you’ll also need your date of divorce, death or annulment. In some states, you may have to take a premarital preparatio­n course or wait a certain amount of time before getting married. Once issued, most marriage licenses are only good for a certain period of time before they can be recorded. Your officiant will usually take care of that after the ceremony.


If either party in the marriage is changing their name, you will need to get a certified copy of your marriage license. The county you got married in can provide you with a certified copy that will be accepted by government entities and financial institutio­ns as proof of your marriage.

You should also update your Social Security card. You can do this by mail or at your nearest Social Security office. You’ll need to bring your proof of name change (your certified marriage certificat­e), proof of citizenshi­p, valid photo identifica­tion and your current Social Security card.

Once that’s done, you’ll also need to get a new ID. For most people, this is a driver’s license, but you may also need a new state-issued ID or military ID. You should wait at least 24 hours after changing your name with Social Security to attempt to change your name on your other IDs. That will give everyone’s system time to update.

To update your ID, go to the DMV or other ID office and bring your new Social Security card or your receipt from the Social Security office, proof of address, a certified copy of your marriage certificat­e, and options for payment that include cash, card and check.

You should then update your passport. If your honeymoon is internatio­nal, wait until after you’re home to update your name; the names have to match on the passport and the boarding pass.

Mail a completed DS-5504 or DS82

form from the U.S. Department of State, a certified copy of your marriage certificat­e and your current passport to the National Passport Processing Center. You may also incur fees; check with the U.S. Department of State.

Finally, once you have your new passport, update your Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, if you have them. For Global Entry, you will need to visit a local office, but PreCheck users can call (855) 347-8371.

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