How to Change Your Name on Your Registration
Many states require you to change then name on car registration materials as soon as possible after your legal name changes. While these requirements vary by state, you typically need to update this information with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or another state agency that processes car registration requests.
If you need to change car registration information in the state where you live, you can typically do so in person or by mail. To learn more about a name change on car registration credentials and to find out which types of documents you may need to present when submitting your request, review the sections below.
When to Change Name on Car Registration Credentials
Performing a DMV name change is mandatory in some states if your legal name changes after marriage, divorce, adoption or court order and your new name differs from the information on your original vehicle registration.
In some states, you may be able to change the name on your registration materials before a divorce is finalized, as long as you can present proof of the pending divorce. However, these rules vary widely throughout the U.S. and the state where you live may not require you to make these types of corrections to your vehicle registration.
If you live in a state where changing the name on car registration materials is necessary after marriage, divorce or court order, you may need to submit these corrections to your local Department of Motor Vehicles within a specific amount of time.
In the state of Maryland, for instance, you must notify the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) within 30 days of the date on which you legally changed your name.
Your Name Change Checklist
Before changing the name on your car registration credentials, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different types of documents you may need to submit as part of your request.
Required documents may vary depending on the state where you live, but you will typically need to present valid proof of the name change. Acceptable proof may include the following:
- Your updated driver’s license or identification card (displaying your new name)
- Evidence of the name change, such as a certified copy of the marriage or divorce certificate
When you change vehicle registration information with your local DMV agency, your state may also require you to present your current registration card and evidence of a valid automobile insurance policy, such as an insurance ID card.
You may need to submit additional documentation as well if your state requires you to obtain a duplicate certificate of title after you change your legal name.
How to Perform a Name Change on Vehicle Registration Materials
To change car registration information after marriage, divorce, court order or any other life event that results in the change of your legal name, you typically need to submit your correction in person or by mail.
Since you need to present lawful proof of the name change in order to update your registration credentials, most states will not allow you to submit your request online. This is also true if you wish to perform your name change at the same time as your vehicle registration renewal.
Some states may also require you to complete a formal application when updating the information on your registration card, while others will not. To make a name change on auto registration credentials in Pennsylvania, for instance, you must submit an application along with acceptable proof of the name change.
Moreover, there is usually no charge to change the name on your registration materials, unless you wish to obtain a copy of your vehicle’s registration card by purchasing a replacement car registration.