Changing Your Name with the DMV

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It’s important to find out how to change your name at the DMV soon after you undergo a legal name change.

In fact, many states request that you update the DMV with this information within a specified amount of time. This process generally involves submitting an application form for an updated license along with a document that verifies your new name. Furthermore, if you fail to complete a driver’s license name change by the set deadline, you may receive a citation and a fine.

When do I need to apply for a name change at the DMV?

Generally, the DMV will also change the name on your car registration or title documents when you update your license. While not always necessary, it’s a good idea to order duplicates of these documents to reflect your name change. In order to complete your name change at the DMV, you must follow several steps. With this in mind, use the following checklists to ease the process and get your new documents in no time.

Any time you alter your name legally, you need to change the name on your driving license and other vehicle documents through the DMV. In most states, you need to notify the DMV within 30 days of your name change. Otherwise, your license is considered invalid. If the DMV becomes aware that you failed to update your information in a timely manner, you may receive a fine or even a citation from law enforcement.

Whether you request a name change due to marriage, divorce or a similar reason, make sure to obtain a certified document that certifies the change. This certificate is vital to updating your records with the DMV and other entities. Overall, the following documents can be used to certify your name change:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Updated birth certificate
  • Adoption decree
  • Court order

Before you begin the process of changing your name at the DMV, there are a few steps you need to take. Mainly, you need to update your Social Security information first. You can learn what is required to obtain an amended Social Security card in the following section.

Before You Apply for A DMV Name Change

As stated above, the first part of the process to change your name involves your Social Security information. Prior to applying for a replacement driver’s license and other vehicle records, you must get a new Social Security card that displays your up-to-date identity. To do this, you need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your name change and submit an application. Applications are available on the SSA website. In general, you must follow these steps to get your new card:

  1. Obtain a legal name change document.
  2. Complete the application for an amended Social Security card.
  3. Collect your verification documents. This includes items such as a passport or birth certificate. The SSA only accepts the original or certified copies of these documents.
  4. Submit your application. Visit your local Social Security office or mail your documents to the SSA.
  5. Receive your updated card. Make sure to bring this credential with you to change your name at the DMV.

Other Requirements to Change Your Name with the DMV

To submit a name change request to the DMV, there are a few additional documents you must provide. These documents are similar to the ones required to obtain a new license, and must be original or certified copies. Before to head to the DMV, make sure to bring your:

  • Updated Social Security card.
  • Name change document. Provide one of the documents outlined above.
  • Proof of citizenship. This includes school records, certificate of lawful presence, birth certificate or passport.
  • Proof of identity. Examples include your passport or military photo ID card.
  • Current, valid driver’s license.

How to Change Your Name at the DMV

In some states, you need to replace the car title and registration certificate for your vehicle after a name change, in addition to requesting a name change for your license. In other states, the DMV may update all of your vehicle records when you apply to change the name on your driver’s license. In any case, it’s a good idea to get up-to-date copies of these car registration and title documents that match your license.

Learn how to order each of these amended credentials in the following sections.

Driver’s License

Applying for a change of name on a driving license is the most intensive process out of the three listed here. In most cases, you are required to go to the DMV in person in order to submit your application. Thus, consider these steps to update the name on your license:

  1. Choose a local DMV office.
  2. Bring your verification documents with you.
  3. Complete the DMV name change application.
  4. Pay the replacement fee.
  5. Cut up or surrender your old driver’s license. According to state laws, you are not allowed to hold more than one valid license or ID card at a time.

Car Registration

You can reflect the name change on your car registration by ordering a duplicate document after updating your license. It’s a good idea to do this so that your certificate matches the name on your driving credential. Otherwise, it may take additional time to verify your documents if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer.

Furthermore, it is possible to replace your car registration in person at the same time as your driver’s license. Instead of spending that extra time at the DMV, you can order an updated registration by mail.

Take these steps to obtain your updated certificate:

  1. Fill out the application for a replacement car registration, if necessary. You may be asked to provide information about your vehicle, including its VIN, make, model and color.
  2. Mail this application along with your current registration certificate. The appropriate mailing address is provided on the form.
  3. Pay the fee, if necessary. In some states, ordering an amended registration through the mail is free.
  4. Place your updated document inside your vehicle, for easy access.

Car Title

It is important to change the name on your car title document for the same reason as your registration. In general, this document serves as your main proof of vehicle ownership. Thus, if your driver’s license does not match your vehicle title, it may take longer for you be identified as the car owner. As a result, you may need to provide extra identification in order to sell your vehicle. Nonetheless, it is typically possible to order a replacement car title in person, online or through the mail. Take the following steps in order to request a DMV name change online for your title.

  1. Log into the DMV portal.
  2. Provide your Social Security Number (SSN) and other verification info.
  3. Provide information about your vehicle. These are usually the same details needed for a registration certificate, including model, year and color. You may also need to provide lien information, if applicable.
  4. Pay any applicable fees.
  5. Receive your updated document.

These are the basic steps and requirements to update your name with the DMV.