How to Change Your Name on Your Drivers License in New Jersey
A New Jersey drivers license name change is required any time your legal name is altered due to a marriage, divorce or court-ordered reasons. An NJ DMV name change should be obtained as soon as possible after the change occurs since your drivers license must always display your current legal name. To obtain a replacement drivers license with a new name, drivers will need to complete the process at a Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) office in New Jersey.
Although the state does not specify that you must file your name change with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before changing name on drivers license documents, it can be helpful to have a correct Social Security card when you visit the licensing office. There are several documents that applicants will need to submit to prove a legal name change, and a Social Security card with the new name can aid in the process. To learn more about how to change name on drivers license records in New Jersey, continue reading the sections below.
Instances Where You Must Change Your Name on Your New Jersey Drivers License
Many circumstances warrant a change of name on driving licenses, and you may find yourself needing to do so more than once in a lifetime. Newly married couples need to change name on driving license records when at least one spouse takes on the other’s surname.
In other cases, each partner must complete the process because they combined their surnames or chose to share a hyphenated last name. After a divorce, many women wish to resume using their maiden last name. Similarly, divorced persons may use the dissolution as an opportunity to reinvent life by choosing another name entirely.
Drivers who convert to a new religion sometimes seek a legal and drivers license name change that better reflects their new beliefs, while other drivers opt to take on a beloved relative’s name instead of using the name on their birth certificate. Transitioning from one gender to another can also result in a legal name alteration.
An older teenager adoption can also mean that individuals of driving age may need to change his or her name on a driving permit or license to a reflect a new surname. No matter the reason for a legal name change, it is important that all of a person’s legal documents reflect the same name and spelling.
New Jersey Drivers License Name Change Time Limits
The NJ MVC recommends changing your name on driving license documents as soon as possible after a marriage, divorce or other legal name change. Although the MVC does not specify a time limit for getting a DMV name change, note that it is possible to receive a ticket if a law enforcement officer catches you driving under a different name than your current legal name.
How to Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration
A name change on drivers license or other paperwork is easier if you first notify the SSA of your name change and receive a Social Security card updated with your new name. The SSA provides this service at no charge and can do it by mail or in person. Note that mailed applications must include original copies of the same legal documents used to change of name on driving license records, and you may not want to risk losing those in the mail. In that case, go to your local SSA office and arrange for the SSA name change in person.
As when changing your name on driving records, you will need to bring a drivers license, U.S. passport or photo ID card to verify your identity. You must also provide the document that links your new and former names together, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or another type of court-ordered legal name change. Some candidates will need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship if they have not done so before. Whether mailing or delivering your request by hand, you must complete and file an application for a Social Security card.
Online Drivers License Name Changes
Although New Jersey provides over a dozen services online through its MyMVC website, you cannot change name on driving licenses online at this time. Getting a DMV name change requires in-person document verification that is not possible to obtain online.
How to Change Your Name on Your Drivers License in Person
You may initiate your NJ drivers license name change in person at a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office. You will need to bring your current NJ license as well as an original or certified copy of the document that shows legal proof of your name change. Certified copies that meet drivers license name change standards will bear the required state or municipal seals and are available from the agency that first issued them. You can also obtain certified copies at the State Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registry. The following documents provide acceptable proof of a legal name change:
- Certified marriage certificate
- Certified civil union certificate
- Divorce decree
- Adoption decree
- Court order linking the previous name with the new name
If you are divorced and wish for your name change on drivers license records to feature a previously used name, then your divorce decree must show both names and state that you are permitted to use your previous name again. All documents used to alter driving records must be in English. If not, then the NJ courts system provides a list of approved translators that can provide translation services at no charge.
New Jersey DMV Name Change Fees
When changing your name on driving license records in New Jersey, you must pay the MCV a fee to obtain an up-to-date replacement license. Generally, these duplicate credentials cost $3. The NJ MVC accepts major credit and debit cards as well as cash, checks and money orders.