How to Change Your Name on Your Car Registration
A name change on car registration and other documents is required by many states following a legal name change. Your car registration is used to track ownership and use of a vehicle. It is important to change name on car registration to reflect your name change whether you modified your first, middle or last name by marriage, divorce or court order. You may struggle to prove ownership of your vehicle if you do not.
The process of changing your name on car registration varies by state. Some states require you to resubmit a registration form, while others have a separate name change form. The sections below describe the general steps required to complete a name change on your registration.
Instances Where You Must Change Your Name on Your Car Registration
Your car registration should reflect your name as accurately as possible. If either your first or last name changes, then you should update your car registration to match.
That means you should perform a car registration name change after a marriage or divorce if you change your last name in either instance.
You should also update your registration if you change your name due to a court order. If you perform a name change as part of a gender transition, then you should also update your registration accordingly.
Name Change Time Limits for Updating Your Car Registration
The rules regarding name change car registration notification vary by state. Some states have no particular rules in place regarding notification for car registration name changes.
Others only specify that you must update your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) first.
Some states, like Vermont, have 30-day time limits to change your name on your car registration. Wyoming requires you to notify the DOT of changes within 10 days.
State time limits, if they exist, are typically between 10 and 60 days after the change is finalized. Therefore, you should research what time limits exist for your state when you complete the name change process.
Steps to Take Before Updating Your Registration
Before you change name on registration documents at your local DMV, make sure you know what to do before updating your registration. In most states, before you can perform a DMV registration update, you must contact the SSA.
Update your name or address with the SSA before you try to notify the DMV about your name change. Many state Departments of Motor Vehicles or Departments of Transportation crosscheck information with the SSA before approving an update.
If your name is not updated with the SSA, then your state DMV or DOT could delay or deny your registration update request.
Once you update your name with the SSA, you should obtain new documents with your new legal name. Likewise, you may need to update your name on driver’s license credentials you have at the same time.
How to Change Your Name on Your Car Registration Online
Almost no state allows you to change your car registration name online since name change documentation needs to be verified by a state representative. In fact, very few states allow you to change the name on your car registration by mail.
The vast majority of states require you to visit a state department office in person to complete the change.
However, Virginia does allow you to begin the process online. You can begin to change your car registration name online with the Virginia DMV by submitting the basic information.
After you complete the application, you will receive an email with a confirmation code. You must bring that code to a DMV office to complete the process. You will not be able to skip the DMV visit, but you can minimize the time spent there.
How to Change Your Name on Your Car Registration in Person
The vast majority of states require you to change the name on your vehicle registration in person. This is because you typically have to provide certified or original legal documents to prove the change of name.
To change your vehicle registration name in person, expect to supply the following documents:
- A new title and registration application filled out with your new name
- Documents proving your change of name, including a marriage certificate, divorce certificate or court order
- Your current vehicle title and registration
- A state driver’s license or ID card with your new name if applicable
You may also be required to pay fees in order to change the name on your vehicle registration or to receive replacement documents. You may shorten the time spent waiting by making a DMV appointment ahead of time. An appointment ensures you spend less time waiting for your vehicle registration name change.
How to Change Your Name on Your Car Registration by Mail
Most states require an in-person to complete a vehicle registration change of name. However, a few also allow you to change your vehicle registration name by mail. This is more common in states that only require a few documents to complete the process.
For example, Oregon only requires a new title application and a method of payment to complete the process. Typically, you will need to provide only the following documents:
- An application for a new or duplicate registration
- Evidence of your change of name
You should gather the documents, along with a check or money order made out to the appropriate department. Look at your state DMV or the form to determine what address you should mail your application to.
When to Renew Instead of Update your Registration
You may want to change your name when you renew your car registration. However, no state allows you to change the name on your car registration during the renewal process.
While the renewal process is relatively straightforward, changing your name almost always requires an in-person visit. In many states, you can easily renew your registration online as long as no information as changed.
If you need to change the name on your registration, then you may be able to complete both procedures in person at a DMV office. However, they will be two separate processes. It is important to know when to renew your car registration, as you may have to update your name before renewing.
DMV Name Change Fees
DMV name change fees vary by state. Some states require only minor fees of $1 or $2 for any registration documents, like Florida. Other states, like Oregon, require more than $90 in payment to complete a vehicle registration name change.
In some states, you may not be required to pay any DMV title name change fee at all. Research the fees and acceptable methods of payment in your state before visiting an office in person to complete the change.