Whether you recently got married or divorced, you need to change your name on your California drivers license. There are very specific requirements to change your name in this state, which means you must know what to do, in which order to do it, and how to make sure it’s done right the first time. The process must be done in a specific order, and this process is easily handled when you know where to start.
Change Your Name With the Social Security Administration
You cannot legally change your name in any facet until you change it with the SSA. The first step in the process is to fill out the change of name form on the SSA website, mail it in, and wait for them to send you confirmation that your name change is legal. Doing this requires you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
Your marriage certificate is available shortly after your wedding. When you get married, your officiant takes your marriage license with all necessary signatures to the local Clerk of Courts where it’s then filed and a certified copy is mailed to you. You can also go to the Clerk’s office and pick up a copy if you need it sooner.
Once you have this, you can send it along with your name change application to the SSA. There is not an online name change option with the SSA, but you can do it by mail or in person. It’s your choice. If you are divorced, you need a certified copy of your divorce decree. If you are changing your name for another reason, you simply need a copy of the court order given to you upon approval of your change request. You also need to send a copy of your photo identification. Your passport, ID card, or license is all acceptable. You also need a copy of your birth certificate or your citizenship information. Once the SSA receives and processes all the information, you get a new SS card so you can begin the process of changing your name elsewhere.
Drivers License Name Change
Once the SSA has updated your name, you may begin notifying everyone else of your official new name. Unfortunately, there is no way to update your name on your license or ID card in California online or through the mail. You must do this in person. You must have your new SS card, your certified marriage certificate/divorce decree/court order, and you must have your current license or ID card on hand. You do this at any DMV in the state.
You’ll fill out form DL 44 to update your name, provide all the previously mentioned paperwork and documentation, and you might even smile for a new photo. You’ll also provide your thumbprint, hand over your old license, and you are required to pay a fee. The fee to change your driver’s license name is $28 in every county in California. You may pay this fee with a check, with cash, a money order, or any major credit or debit card.
There is not a time frame in which you must change your name with the DMV. It merely depends on how long it takes you to fill out the information with the SSA and receive your new SS card in the mail. You do want to do it soon, however. If you moved to the state or a new home within the state once you were married, divorced, or legally changed your name, you’ll want to update your address within 10 days. This form is easy to file and can be done online, so you needn’t worry about doing it once your name changes.
Furthermore, you will not change any of your other documentation when you change your name on your license. There is an additional process required by law if you still need to change your name on any titles, registration, and other legal documentation. You will be asked by the DVM agent when you change your name with the DMV if there is anything else you need to update. It’s easier to do it all at the same time while you’re already there.