Upgrading your driver’s license to reflect your new legal name is a key step to complete after receiving a court-approved name change. Driving licenses provide fundamental identification used regularly, so matching it to your updated name helps everything sync up properly moving forward.
While every state has its own nuanced process, the general steps for altering your name on your driver’s license are:
You will need to bring documentation proving your legal name change when applying for a new license. Required paperwork typically includes:
- Certified copy of the court order showing your approved name change. Photocopies are not usually accepted.
- Current valid driver’s license in your former name. You may be required to surrender the old license.
- Current Social Security card in your new legal name. If you don’t have your replacement card yet, you may still be able to get your updated driver’s license or Real ID if your social security account computer records are already updated.
- Second form of ID such as a passport, birth certificate, or government issued license as supplemental identification.
Having all necessary documents avoids wasted trips or application delays. Double check everything is accurate and valid beforehand.
The next step is completing the license application form required by your state DMV. Forms are available at DMV offices or may be accessible online for print and completion ahead of your visit.
Carefully enter your updated personal information and new legal name exactly as approved by the courts. Follow all instructions and provide any details like the court order case number. Signing the forms makes them official.
Schedule an Appointment
Especially post-COVID, many DMVs now request or require scheduling an appointment online to visit a license office and submit your name change application rather than just walking in. This prevents long waits.
When booking your appointment, take note of what specific documentation and forms you need to bring. Arrive 10-15 minutes early to clear any security lines or COVID-19 screening checkpoints.
Attending In-Person Appointment
At your scheduled DMV visit, be prepared to:
- Submit all documents like certified court order, old license, completed application forms, other ID, and updated Social Security card. Keep photocopies as backup.
- Pass any necessary vision tests to ensure your eyesight remains functional.
- Smile for a new updated license photo that will appear on your new credential.
- Provide fingerprints or signature samples depending on jurisdiction.
- Pay associated name change fees, which average $20 to $50 in most states. No extra charge if updated as part of regular renewal or getting a new license.
- Be issued a temporary paper license initially until your new card arrives via mail.
Following all instructions from DMV staff facilitates fast processing so you receive your permanent updated license promptly.
Await Your New License
Once successfully submitted, you should receive your new hard plastic driver’s license within 1-3 weeks via mail. You can generally still drive in the meantime using the temporary paper license originally issued during your appointment.
When it arrives, check that all details like your new name, photo, signature, address etc. appear exactly as they should on the license. Report any discrepancies immediately to the DMV for corrections.
Update Vehicle Registration
Additionally, remember to update your name on your vehicle registration with your state motor vehicle agency. This ensures it properly matches your new driver’s license name going forward.
Now that your new identity is properly aligned on your license, driving and dealing with traffic procedures will be much more seamless. Just be sure to update any usage-based insurance policies as well with your legal name change.
Changing small details can make a big difference in how easily you navigate routines like driving and traveling. With some diligence and paperwork, your new name will be appearing on your driver’s license, making your daily life just a little easier.
Renewing Post-Name Change
For future renewal, the process remains the same using forms DS-11 and DS-5504, depending on whether you are renewing to update for name change within one year of the last passport issuance date or not. Once you have your new legal name printed on your current passport, subsequent renewals can be done without needing to supply another certified copy of your name change document. You will just need to pay the renewal fees and supply the passport agency with updated photos with your application as they require.
In summary, while it requires planning and paperwork, successfully obtaining a new passport in a new legal name is very attainable. Pay close attention to photo and form requirements, make sure you have your name change documents as proof of your new legal name, triple check documents, and attend appointments prepared to avoid hiccups getting your updated identity documented for smooth travels using your new name.