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How To Change Your Last Name On Licenses/Tags After Your Marriage

If you are reading this, you are probably getting married or just got married. Therefore, first and foremost, congratulations on your marriage! This is such an amazing time in your life. You have said your 'I Dos' and celebrated the night away with family and friends. If you are anything like me, you are relieved to no longer be wedding planning! What a lot of people/blogs fail to mention is the daunting task of changing your name--if you so choose. I've been married for two months and I'm still updating my name.

When changing your name, you will want to get multiple certified copies of your marriage certificate. Purchase copies from the courthouse in the county the marriage occurs. I've heard of places not returning the certified copy which is why you want to have multiple. Personally, everyone has returned my marriage certificate that needed one (please note, I have not updated my passport yet). I also carry a copy of my marriage certificate with me at all times--I never know when I might need it since I am still in the process of updating everything.

The first things to change are your social security card, driver’s license and passport. If you have any upcoming travel, it might be wise to wait until you are back. Turnaround times on receiving your new documents varies, it could be days or weeks. Secondly, I would then recommend changing titles of vehicles/houses/boats and bank accounts. Then comes any gym memberships, online subscriptions, cell phone accounts, etc. For me, this is where hunting and fishing licenses and permits came into account.

I got married in the middle of Nebraska spring turkey season. Therefore, I had already purchased my turkey tags with my maiden name, before our wedding date. I'm not sure if this was the best option, but I did not change my information with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) till after season ended. I carried a copy of my marriage certificate, with me, along with my normal hunting licenses and tags. I did this because my name on my driver’s license and hunting license/tags did not match. Now, I don't know if this was right or not, but I figured it would be easier to get everything changed once season was over.

After turkey season, the only permits I had was my annual Nebraska hunt-fish combo and an Illinois annual fishing license. To update both, I just called the NGPC and Illinois DNR permit office and told them I need to update my name due to marriage. I just emailed my marriage certificate to both and my information was updated. For my Nebraska permit, I was able to reprint my hunt-fish combo that was now updated with my married name. For my Illinois fishing license, I will keep the one that has my maiden name, but if checked their records will show my name change in their system. When I purchase a new Illinois fishing license for 2019, it will already reflect my name change in their system.

By waiting until after Nebraska turkey season, I also wanted to make sure to get my updates done before putting in for deer and antelope tags. I wanted to make it as easy as possible when updating and purchasing new tags. On our honeymoon, we went saltwater fishing in Florida. For my fishing license there, I just purchased it with my married name since my IDs were already changed.

Overall, the process was simple and easy. Granted not all states might be the same, but I just needed to:

  1. Contact my regulating organization to notify them of my name change.

  2. Email a copy of my marriage certificate.

  3. Reprint any licenses or tags I might need.

NGPC and Illinois DNR updated my profiles for future mobile permit purchases.

I hope this helps when you go to update your hunting/fishing licenses/tags. Congratulations again on your marriage! I hope you have a lifetime of hunting and fishing together!

Jesse Campbell is from Nebraska. Follow her on Instagram at @jessehcampbell.

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