How to Change Your Name on Your Driver’s License
Need to update your drivers license? Here’s exactly what you need to do.
To change your name on your driver’s license, you first have to change your name legally.
When that’s done, and you’ve already changed your name with the Social Security Administration, you’re ready to get your driver’s license updated.
If you haven’t gone through the Social Security name change process, you’ll need to do that before updating your driver’s license.
Assuming your Social Security name change is done, this page will tell you everything you need to know about changing your name on your driver’s license.
An Introduction to Changing Your Name on Your Driver’s License
It’s important to understand the procedures in your state because the process of updating your driver’s license with your new name varies based on where you live.
Moreover, with the roll-out of the REAL ID Act, the federal government is regulating state DMV requirements which have made the documentation requirements more stringent.
Of course, if you choose to purchase an Update My Name package, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide and checklist specific to your state so you don’t have to worry about all those regulations.
However, if you decide to go it alone, you’ll need to call or go to your state’s DMV website to find information about your state’s exact requirements.
For example, the California DMV provides this resource to help you understand what documents you’ll need to bring, fees you’ll need to pay, and other details.
Generally, you’ll find that most states follow fairly similar procedures. So, to give you an idea of what that looks like, we’ll walk through the process step by step.
Changing Your Name on Your Driver’s License After Marriage or Divorce
Before we detail the process, it’s important to point out that the documents you’ll need for this will depend on why you’re changing your name.
That said, whether you’re changing your name because of a divorce, marriage, or any other reason, the process for updating your driver’s license is essentially the same.
The only difference is in the documents that you’ll be required to provide.
If you’re changing your name due to marriage, you’ll need to provide a certified (not photocopied) copy of your marriage certificate.
Similarly, if the name change is because of a divorce, you’ll need a certified copy of the divorce decree with a name change provision (more on divorce name change here).
Finally, if you’ve legally changed your name, for a reason other than marriage or divorce, you’ll need to provide the DMV with the court order showing your legal name change.
Gathering the Documents Needed for Driver’s License Name Change
Other than marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and court orders, generally speaking, you’ll need documents that prove your identity, both with your new name and your old name.
You’ll also need documents that prove your citizenship and your address.
Again, you should check with your state’s DMV to find out the exact documentation requirements, but here is a list of documents that are commonly requested:
- Your birth certificate, certified copies only (no photocopies)
- Bank statements, mortgage documents, or other documentation that shows your address
- Your Social Security card or Green Card and previous driver’s license
- Your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order showing your legal name change
Before you schedule a time to go to the DMV, you should have all of these documents gathered.
Once that’s done, double-check your state’s DMV website or give the DMV a call to ensure you have everything you need.
Getting Your New License
Unfortunately, you will not be able to get your driver’s license updated online—you’ll have to go to the DMV in your state in person.
If you can book an appointment, make sure to schedule one. Otherwise, go as early as you can to avoid the lines. Bring the documentation that the agency’s website says you need and call ahead if you have any doubts about what you need to bring.
After all, the last thing you need is to get turned away only to have to come back another time.
Generally, you won’t have to take any written or driving tests so long as you have a current license.
Once you’ve let the clerk know that you’d like to update the name on your driver’s license and you provide the necessary documentation, you’ll need to complete a driver’s license application.
Expect to be asked to take a vision test, sit for a photo, and pay a fee.
Though the process and fees vary by state, you can expect that the fee will be around $20. Also, it’s best to have cash or a check because they may not accept credit cards.
When you’ve finished with all that, you’ll receive a temporary license that you can use until your official one arrives in the mail.
Generally, you can expect to receive your new, official license within two months.
What do I need to change my name on my driver’s license?
To see a list of the documentation you need to change your name on your driver’s license, click here.
How much does it cost to change my name on my driver’s license?
The cost of changing your name on your driver’s license varies depending on your location and situation. For a full breakdown of the typical fees, click here.
What do I need for name change at DMV?
Jump to this section to see what you need to change your name at the DMV.
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