A driver’s license name change in North Carolina is required any time a licensed driver alters their legal name. Before applying for a name change at the DMV, drivers must change their legal name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) so that the names on both legal documents match.

Drivers must apply for a name change on a driver’s license in person at an NC DMV office, as no online option is available. Continue reading for more information about how to change a name on a driver’s license, including the forms and supporting documents needed to establish your new name.

Instances Where You Must Change Your Name on Your North Carolina Driver’s License

Getting a name change on a driver’s license document in North Carolina should happen as soon as possible after legally altering your name. First, NC motorists seeking to change their name on their driver’s license must update their records at the SSA. Some of the most common reasons for a name change are marriage and divorce. Most couples choose to identify their union by using the same last name, while others create a hyphenated or totally new surname based on their last names combined.

After a divorce decree is issued, many individuals request a name change because they wish to use their maiden name or another previous last name again. Reconnecting with a birth parent or being adopted later in life are also reasons that adults may pursue a change of name on a driving license and other important documents.

Another reason someone may request a driver’s license name change is following a religious conversion or when seeking to honor ones ancestry or a connection with a meaningful ethnic or historical group. Transgender motorists looking to change their name after transitioning may also complete additional paperwork to change the gender marker associated with their driving license. Americans are free to choose a new name for virtually any legal reason, but must update the name on their license and other government records as soon as possible.

North Carolina Driver’s License Name Change Time Limits

You must notify the DMV of a name change within 60 days after the legal name change occurs. This allows for plenty of time to obtain your new Social Security card and change the name on your driving license.

How to Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

Changing your name on a driving license in North Carolina can only be done after notifying the SSA of your new name. Some people assume that an NC DMV name change is automatic after the marriage certificate or other legal document is filed with the state, but that is not true. When changing your name with the SSA, you must use your new legal name and the name on your name change form must exactly match the name filed with the SSA.

As filing a name change online is not possible, either appear in person at your local SSA office, or mail in your name change request. As with a driver’s license name change, the SSA only accepts original documents, so you must submit the original copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or other court-ordered legal name change report. You must also show proof of identity by providing your current NC driver’s license, state-issued photo ID card or your U.S. passport. Some individuals may have to provide documents that prove legal resident status, and provide these at both the SSA and the NC DMV.

All SSA applicants requesting a name change on their Social Security card must complete the official Social Security card application and submit it with the supporting documents. Note that an SSA name change is always provided free of charge, so do not worry about having to pay any fees.

Online Driver’s License Name Changes

North Carolina offers many DMV services online through their eDMV website, but NC DMV name changes are not one of them. Before issuing a name change on a driver’s license, a DMV agent must verify the applicant’s identity face-to-face, something that the DMV cannot do online at this time.

How to Change Your Name on Your Driver’s License in Person

Changing your name on driving license records in North Carolina is always an in-person process conducted at your local NC DMV branch office. Allow at least one to two business days for the SSA name change to be updated before visiting the NC DMV. Be sure to bring the following applicable documents to your DMV appointment in order to complete your application correctly:

  • A government-issued certified marriage certificate
  • An official divorce decree that shows the name change
  • A court-issued adoption decree
  • An affidavit or other documented proof from NC courts or the Register of Deeds that proves a legal name change took place

You will also need to show your current NC driver’s license for identification purposes. After your DMV name change request is processed, you will receive a temporary license to use until your permanent license arrives in the mail, usually within two weeks.

North Carolina DMV Name Change Fees

An NC DMV name change fee is charged whenever a driver requests a new license. The current replacement license fee for a change of name on driving license is $13. Overall, any license changes or renewal procedures are payable by cash, money order, personal checks, or with Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit and debit cards.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.