Change Name on Drivers License: A How-To Guide

February 22, 2012

A legal name change doesn't require much documentation, but a drivers license name change through the DMV requires following the steps in this guide.

Blank For Name Change

While it's not a particularly common procedure, all drivers should learn how to change a name on a drivers license. Should changes ever be made to your name, it would be important for you to update your state drivers license as soon as possible. This is true for anything that would affect your drivers license info, but especially so for your legal name.

This article covers the general steps involved in changing your drivers license name, as well as how to change other drivers license information.

How to Change the Name on Your Drivers License

While the specific procedures, requirements and fees that are involved in this process differ between states, the overall process will be more or less similar to the method outlined here.

  • Visit the DMV in person—not online. Most Department of Motor Vehicles state offices allow drivers to process most transactions online. However, changing your name on your drivers license is one requirement that most states require you to perform in person. Upon your appearance at your local DMV, you will probably be required to present your old drivers license with your old name. Some states require you to make an appearance at the local DMV within a certain number of days after your name officially changed, or at least provide some form of notification of the change within that time. This period can range from 10 to 30 days, depending on the state
  • Bring proof of the name change. You will then be required to provide some documentation supporting your name change. This could be a marriage certificate, documents detailing a divorce or court documents, as the case may be. However, some states only require you to provide a primary form of identification that shows your new name
  • Complete forms and pay fees. While some states simply require you to show up at the local DMV office and provide proof of your name change, others require you to fill out a form or two. For example, the State of New York requires that you fill out an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver Card to change your drivers license. Most states, however, will make you pay a fee for the change. This fee can range from $5 to $20, again depending on the state
  • Update registration information. Since you're changing the name on your drivers license, you will, of course, have to change the names on your registration certificate and title as well. Like changing the name on a drivers license, registration and title name change procedures will differ according to state. However, most states will require that you process the changes in person as well. Some states won't charge you a fee to change the names in your registration certificate and title, while others may charge a modest fee

Any transaction with the DMV will likely have different procedures and requirements for different states, and changing the name on your drivers license is no different. The quick guide above, however, will give you a general idea of what you can expect to be required to do to change your drivers license info.

How to Make a Drivers License Address Change

Although the process of making a drivers license address change varies somewhat according to the state and the local DMV regulations, it is generally a straightforward task that can either be accomplished in person, over the phone or by mail.

When you are planning a move or change of address, be aware that most DMVs require you update DMV information within 10 days of the date of your move. You must also decide whether you want to update drivers license information and your vehicle registration, or if you only want to update the license. There are different procedures to follow depending upon which you choose.

  • Download the MV-232 form for your state. The MV-232 form is used to update your address and vehicle registration information. You may also use that to order a replacement license card, if you do not wish to write your new address over the existing one on your old license. Additionally, you may use this form to register to vote in the new area in which you'll be living. Further instructions are detailed on the form itself. You may either collect this form in person at your DMV, or visit the DMV website that corresponds with your state in order to access the form online. You will also need to have your license card handy
  • Add the correct address to your drivers license. You will need a permanent marker or pen that will write over the laminated license. On the back side of your drivers license, driver's permit or other DMV-issued document, locate a blank space suitable for writing. Carefully and neatly print your new permanent address in that space. There is no need to adjust or cross out the address on the face of your drivers license
  • Correct the address on your vehicle registration. Using a regular blue or black ballpoint pen, carefully cross out the invalid address on your vehicle registration form and write in the corrected address below. Do not make any changes to your vehicle title form. Modifying the title in any way will render it invalid, and it is not a problem if your previous address is associated with the vehicle title
  • Submit the completed DMV form. Take a few minutes to carefully fill out the DMV form to update your address. It is crucial you complete this step, as without it, the DMV has no record of your address changing and your license becomes invalid. Deliver the completed form to the DMV by hand or in the mail according to the instructions on the form. If you wish to purchase a new license card with the updated address printed on the face, you may do so at the DMV in person or by including the appropriate payment and information on the form that you mail in, if available

If you have any questions or concerns about the process of updating your address on your license, consult with a representative at your local DMV or visit the DMV website for your state.