Old school tradition suggests that in a straight relationship, brides change their last name to their husband's post haste after the wedding. However, changing your name isn't a legal requirement and many couples are exploring other options these days, especially those who find they don't fit the straight tradition in the first place. Many brides opt to keep their maiden name, some couples opt for both partners to change their name to a double-barrelled form of both their names, and some couples are even combining their last names to form a whole new one that they both take.

A huge percentage of couples still opt to change their name in some form, whether just one or both partners, and it's not as complicated as you might think, at least in Ireland.


How do I change my last name after marriage?

Image: Niamh Smith

First things first, in Ireland to change your last name after marriage, you do not need to execute a deed poll if you're opting for a straightforward change to your partner's name, or a double-barrelled name. How you earn your name in Ireland is by use and repute, meaning that if you want to be known by your new married name, you just need to use the name and ask people to call you by it.

Your marriage certificate essentially acts as proof of your name change, if you opt to use your spouse's name as your own. This means you don't have to prove years of use before you can switch official documents like your passport and bank details - you just need to show your marriage certificate with your spouse's last name.

However, if you plan on using a merged form of your surnames or a merged form of both your surnames, you do need to execute a deed poll change. You can do this by enrolling the deed poll in the Central Office of the High Court. It costs around €30, and you file it along with your birth certificate, and it can only be done in person at the Central Office in the Four Courts alongside an attesting witness you bring with you.


How do I get my marriage certificate in Ireland?

If you're hoping to change your name immediately, you're going to need to collect your marriage certificate before you do anything else. The piece of paper you signed at your wedding ceremony is, contrary to what you might think, actually not your real marriage certificate. Depending on the time of your wedding, your marriage certificate will be available to collect the day after your wedding (or the next day the registration office is open, if you married at the weekend).

You can order a copy of your marriage certificate online here, but if you need a copy ASAP, your best bet is to head to your local civil registration office where you will fill in a short form featuring both your names, the date of your marriage, and the venue the wedding took place, and they will print your marriage certificate(s) there and then. Each certificate you request costs €20, and you may need a couple of copies.


Where do I need to change my last name after marriage?

The first place you would ideally change your name is with the passport office - however you have to apply for a brand new passport and pay the full fees associated with it (and submit your old passport in the process) so some couples opt to wait until their passport is expiring to renew with their new name, especially if the expiry is coming up. Word to the wise though - some places, such as car rental places abroad, will insist your driver licence name and passport name match exactly before renting you a car, so it may be worth baring in mind what you're changing over and when before you start. Also - if you are delaying changing your passport, be careful to use the name on your passport when booking flights until you change it.

Next up, to take advantage of those sweet, sweet married tax credits, you'll need to notify the revenue office that you're married first off, and secondly that you want to change your name. You'll need a copy of your marriage certificate, both your PPS numbers and the date of your marriage.

Changing your drivers licence or learner permit is relatively simple, and even better, it's free. You just need to provide evidence of your name change - ie your marriage certificate or deed poll - as well as your current licence/permit, evidence of your PPS number, and proof of address. You have to apply in person at your local NDLS centre and they will exchange your licence for one with your new name, with the same expiry date as your original licence.

Obviously when you change your drivers licence name, you'll also need to update your motor tax details using this form, and call up your motor insurance providers who often will just update your name as you ask, but may require proof of your marriage licence.

You'll need your marriage certificate for changing your name at the bank, also. They will update the name on your card, but you should retain the same card numbers and you will have to pay for them to issue your new card. If you have any standing orders or direct debits attached to your card numbers, double check the numbers are the same.

Don't forget to update your new name with your healthcare providers - doctors, dentists, and health insurance, as well as any other insurance, pension or investment providers you might have. These should be relatively straightforward switches.

Finally, give your employers a heads up on your new name if you want to use your married name at work - they'll need to update the company payroll, plus you'll probably want to show off your new name on your email account and business cards and the like!


The costs of changing your surname in Ireland

Passport – €80

Bank cards – €5+

Driving license – Free

Deed Poll – €30


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