Change Vehicle Registration Name

If you’re a California resident looking to change vehicle registration information, you must know how it’s done. Vehicle registration requirement information is easily found online, by calling the DMV, or by downloading the proper forms online. If you need to change your name on your registration because it’s changed legally due to marriage, divorce, or another court order, you must do it quickly and soon. Here’s how to go about changing the name on your vehicle registration.


Change Your Name With the Social Security Administration First

You cannot change your name in any legal capacity until you’ve done this. The court that issued your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other name change court order does not allow you to change your name anywhere but the SSA before you can update it anywhere else. You can locate the nearest SSA office to your California home, or you can fill out the name change form online and mail it to the SSA. This information cannot be changed online. Once you’ve changed your name with the SSA, all the certified copies of the required paperwork are returned to you. It’s now time to update your name on your vehicle registration.


Update Your Driver’s License

You cannot change your registration name without changing your license since you do need to send a copy of your license with you when you fill out a mail application or present one in person. You’ll need to visit the DMV to change your name. You must fill out and present form DL 44, which you can pick up at the DMV or have mailed to you by the DMV at home.

You must provide a certified copy of the document stating you are legally changing your name. This is a marriage certificate, a court order, or a divorce decree. You must bring your original license to surrender when you get your new one, you must pay a $28 fee, and you must have a new thumbprint taken. You also get to have a new photo taken for your new license.

You can pay your fee via check, money order, credit card, debit card, or cash at any DMV. Once you have your new license on hand, you can change your registration information. It’s not possible without a new licenses showing your new name.


Registration Name Changes

There is currently no way for you to change your name on your registration or your title over the internet. This must be done in person or through the mail. You are not charged to change your name on either document, and you will not receive an updated document unless you specifically request one or until you renew your current registration.

  • Original title
  • Your driver’s license
  • Form REG 256 Statement of Fact

If you do this by mail, you’ll simply need to mail the forms to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Registration Operations
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269

If you request an updated registration form, you will find it in the mail a few weeks after you send in your new information. You are not legally required to obtain a new registration document showing your new name. Your current registration is fine when it’s pulled up by a police officer and they can see that you submitted an official change to the DMV. However, some people are more comfortable when they have this information updated and on hand, and that means you can ask for a new registration. You’ll still need to renew it when the time comes, however.

Once you notify the SSA, the DMV, and update all your documents, you’re probably not done. You should notify the IRS of your new name, you should notify the post office, and you must notify all your banking institutions. You’ll need new credit cards, new debit cards, new checks, and new everything else to help you get your life in order and your finances and personal information in check. Changing your name is fun, but it’s a lot of work to make sure it’s handled accordingly. Just remember to always notify the SSA first, or you cannot notify anyone else of your change of name.