How to Change Your Name in Philadelphia

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You may change your name in Philadelphia as a result of a divorce, marriage, or other court-approved reason. To complete your name change, you must also be sure to obtain a new Social Security card. Without changing your name with the Social Security Administration, you will be unable to change your name on any other documents, including your driver's license or voter's registration.

Changing your name

If you are not changing your name because of marriage or divorce, obtain a "Petition to Change Name" form from your local clerk of court.

File your petition with the clerk of court. You must include a substantial reason for wanting to change your name and a copy of your birth certificate. The clerk will take an official set of your fingerprints to submit with your petition and then transmit your petition, birth certificate, and fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police Repository.

Publish a notice announcing your proposed name change in your local newspaper. Philadelphia requires this.

A court hearing will be scheduled so that you can discuss your proposal with a judge. If your petition is approved, you will be awarded an official court document stating your name change.

Obtain a new Social Security card

Obtain the original or certified copy of your marriage license, divorce decree, or court-ordered name-change document.

Fill out the Social Security Administration application for a Social Security card, available on on the Social Security Administration website at ssa.gov.

Gather your Social Security Administration application for a Social Security card, the original or certified copy of your name-change document, evidence of age document, evidence of identity document, and evidence of U.S. Citizenship document and either mail them or take them personally to Philadelphia's local Social Security office. If you choose to mail your application, all of your included documents will be mailed back to you with your new Social Security card. The address is:

Suite 2000 20th Floor 1234 Market St. Philadelphia, PA 19107

Warnings

  • You may not change your name to avoid debts or warrants.
  • You may not change your name to mimic that of a celebrity.
  • You may not change your name to include any profane language, numbers or racial and sexist slander.
  • The Social Security Administration will accept only the original copy or a certified copy of your name-change documents.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration if you encounter a problem obtaining any of the required documents. They will attempt to work with you to resolve the matter.

Tips

  • Acceptable name-change documents are marriage licenses, divorce decrees, or court-issued documents confirming your name change.
  • The acceptable evidence of age is your birth certificate.
  • Acceptable evidence of identity is your driver's license, state-issued identity card or U.S. Passport.
  • Acceptable proof of your U.S. citizenship is your birth certificate or U.S. passport.

References

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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