The vows had been said, the cake had been cut and all the best wishes and congratulatory messages had been responded to. Finally, wedding preparations and duties as a bride-to-be / bride are over.
But I’ve got news for you, newly wedded wife: after graduating from acquiring marriage documents (CENOMAR, Marriage License, etc), you’re in for another round of lining up in queues and filling up government forms – if you’re planning to take your husband’s surname, that is.
After getting married in December 2015, my husband didn’t pressure me to take his surname. In the Philippines, women have the choice to legally keep their maiden name after marriage.
It was months after tying the knot that I decided to take my husband’s last name. Aside from sentimental reasons, I saw the practicality of this:
- For official documents, having the same surname would immediately identify us as a married couple (or at least of kin, until they ask us how we are related).
- Having the same surname as our children in the future would also save me a lot of explanations and name corrections.
One disadvantage of changing surnames for freelancers like me is that past clients and employers may not find me as easily. As a remedy to this, I always spell out my middle name (my maiden name) so that people would know that I’m the same person. I also didn’t change my email address even if it’s my name and maiden name @gmail.com.
Below are steps on how I changed my maiden name to my married name in 6 hours and 10 minutes. Disclaimer: 6 hours and 10 minutes only included the time I was actively working to process my name amendment (filling out forms, lining up in offices, etc) and not the time I waited for document deliveries.
Step 1: Getting a National Statistics Office (NSO) Marriage Certificate (10 mins)
Getting an NSO Marriage Certificate is the first step in changing your surname. Government and even private offices will require this for name amendment after marriage. One original copy is enough as most offices only require a photocopy to be submitted (though they could also ask you to present the original document for verification).
I’ve requested three original copies of our marriage certificate – one for me, one for my husband (his office required an original copy to update his dependents) and an extra copy that I submitted when I applied for Japanese visa*.
I requested copies of the NSO marriage certificate through PSA Helpline PH. After filling out the Marriage Certificate Application form, I paid the bill through credit card payment. They also accept payment through Bancnet ATM, GCash, Metrobank and Bayad Center. Delivery takes 2-7 days after payment.
Cost of NSO Marriage Certificate: P350 per copy
*Marriage Certificate isn’t a requirement for Japanese Visa. However, my immigration records (passport) hasn’t been updated yet and still states that I’m single. That would not be consistent with the marital status on my visa application form stating that I’m married. The travel agency advised me to attach a marriage certificate with my application form so that the consul wouldn’t be confused with regard to my marital status.
Step 2: Updating Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Pag-IBIG, Philhealth & Social Security System (SSS) information through employer (30 mins)
Aside from being a freelance writer, I also work as a part-time college instructor. I couldn’t be more grateful to our HR Department for assisting me in amending my last name.
HR gave me member data change forms for Pag-IBIG, Philhealth, SSS and BIR. I filled them out and with each form, I attached photocopies of NSO Marriage Certificate and two government IDs (I think they also accept company ID). HR then submitted my forms and supporting documents to the aforementioned offices.
If you’re a freelancer and you have to amend your name by yourself, you might want to download the forms and fill them out ahead of time before going to their respective offices (Disclaimer: the form links below were taken from official websites as of writing time. Make sure that the version you would be downloading are updated).
Cost of amending your name: FREE
Step 3: Getting a Philhealth ID (2 hours)
Philhealth ID is the easiest government ID to acquire. However, there are insurance companies and other investment platforms that don’t accept Philhealth ID as proof of identity.
I got my Philhealth ID one Wednesday in Robinsons Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The lines were soooo long and it took me two hours before I reached the counter (mobile data saved me from fatal boredom and attempting to leave the line multiple times).
Some people advise going to Philhealth an hour before closing time at 6PM for shorter lines. But I didn’t want to be stuck in rush hour traffic going home, so I took the risk of going there at midday.
Since the HR department of the college where I teach already updated my membership information, all I had to do was surrender my old Philhealth ID. After waiting in line for 120 minutes, it only took attendants two minutes to print my new paperboard ID.
Cost of Philhealth ID: FREE, but you have to attach a 1×1 ID photo and have the ID laminated yourself.
Step 4: Getting a Unified Multi-Purpose ID (1.5 hours)
I went to the nearest SSS office to acquire a new Unified Multi-Purpose ID or UMID. First, I was asked to pay the ID fee of P300 (UMID is only free for first-time applicants).
I was then asked to fill out an application form. I didn’t have my SSS number with me, so I needed to use the self-service information terminal to get my SSS number. After filling out the form, I waited for my number to be called for document verification.
After that, I waited in queue for data encoding and ID photo. The attendant told me that the UMID will be delivered to my permanent address within three months.
Cost of UMID replacement for member data update: P300
Step 5: Changing your name in your bank accounts (2 hours)
Since my surname was already updated in the school were I teach part-time, I had to update my payroll bank account for consistency.
The two hours I spent in the bank mostly involved waiting in line. When my number was called, I was asked to fill out forms and submit a photocopy of NSO marriage certificate.
The teller also asked me to submit photocopies of two government IDs, at least one bearing my married name. But since I was yet to acquire an updated government ID at that time, they accepted a photocopy of my old UMID (with maiden name) and a photocopy of my company ID (with married name).
Cost of card replacement in my bank: P200 per card
Other documents I’m yet to update / IDs I’m yet to get:
- Passport – I’ll update the name on my passport once I renew it.
- Driver’s License – Same with my passport, I’ll update my name when I renew.
- Pag-IBIG Loyalty Card – I’m yet to find the time to go to the nearest Pag-IBIG office.
More tips before you go to the bank / government offices:
- Most people go to the bank or government offices on a Monday or a Friday, as taking a leave from work on these days allows them to enjoy a long weekend. If you want to avoid long lines, it’s probably wise to plan your trip on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
- Go to the bank or government offices early in the morning. It’s better to be done early and have the rest of the day to yourself.
- Be sure to bring your original NSO Marriage Certificate and IDs. And don’t forget to bring multiple photocopies.
- Visit bank and government office websites ahead of time to know about downloadable forms, additional requirements or new policies.