There are many reasons for requesting a driver’s license name change in New York, but there is just one process for obtaining an updated license. Before getting a name change in their driver’s license, drivers must register their new name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as described below. Changing your name on driving license records in New York is an easy process that must be initiated at a DMV branch office. For more information on how to change name on driver’s license records in NY, including the documents required, continue reading the following sections.

Instances Where You Must Change Your Name on Your New York Driver’s License

Obtaining a name change on a driver’s license in NY is the second thing you should do after legally altering your name and updating your SSA account. Marriage is a common reason for a driver’s license name change because most couples choose to use the same last name, or create a new or hyphenated surname. When a divorce is finalized, many people also choose to return to their maiden or previous last name. Adoption, or reconnecting with a birth parent are also reasons that adults may pursue a name change on their license and other legal documents.

Transgender individuals may also opt to legally change their name as a mark of their new identity, and others seek a name change after switching to a new name that better reflects their religious or ethnic affiliations. Americans are free to choose a new name for virtually any reason, but are responsible for documenting the name change on driver’s licenses and other government records as soon as possible.

New York Driver’s License Name Change Time Limits

Though the DMV does not specify a time limit for changing your name on a driving license, other license changes must be obtained within 10 days. This includes address changes and other changes to your personal information. If you change the name on your documents in a timely manner, you know that your information will be correct in the event of a traffic stop or other legal matter that requires an updated license.

How to Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

Because the forms you file for a New York driver’s license name change include a place for your Social Security Number, you must change your name with the Social Security Administration before pursuing a name change at your local DMV office. It is free to change your name at the Social Security Administration and the process may be completed in person at your local SSA branch office or through the mail. Note that the SSA only accepts original documents for name changes, so you may find it easier to apply in person rather than have your original documents out of hand for a few weeks.

The basic documents you need for an NY DMV name change are the same ones needed to change your name on your Social Security card. This includes your current NY driver’s license or another form of photo identification and the document that link your old and new names together. Such documents include marriage certificates, adoption or divorce decrees and any court-ordered name change record.

Some individuals will need to provide proof of legal immigration status when applying for a driver’s license name change or a new Social Security card. Every SSA applicant requesting a card with a new name must complete the official Social Security card application form. All SSA related changes must be performed in person or by mail. Online applications are not available at this time.

Online Driver’s License Name Changes

Every New York driver’s license name change must take place in person at an NY DMV office. Changing the name on your driving records requires that you relinquish your previous driver’s license directly to the DMV, which cannot be done online. Additionally, your photo must be updated every time you obtain a NY DMV name change, and the photo must be taken in person at the DMV office.

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

The NY DMV recommends that you make a reservation online when changing the name on a driving license in New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Onondaga or Albany counties. Doing so makes the driver’s license name change process easier by reducing your wait time. To update your records, bring all of the following to your appointment:

  • A completed copy an Application for Permit, Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card.
  • Your current NY driver’s license, permit or state-issued non-driver ID card, or any combination of identification documents that meet the state’s 6 points of proof of identity and date of birth.
  • An original or certified copy of your name change court papers, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or adoption decree.

The NY DMV name change agent will process your request, take a new driver’s license photo and issue a temporary non-photo document that will allow you to drive until your new driver’s license card arrives. After changing your name on your driving license, it takes approximately two weeks to receive your new license in the mail, similar to when you request a replacement license after having lost or damaged your precious license.

New York DMV Name Change Fees

Getting an up-to-date replacement drivers license that reflects a name change in New York requires an applicant pay a $17.50 fee. Overall, this cost is payable by cash, card, check or money order. Application fees are relatively low and will never be more than a few dollars, but the price may go up if you are also up for a license renewal when you change your name.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.