Although there are many reasons for requesting a driver’s license name change in Ohio, there is only one simple process for obtaining a new license. Before applying for a name change on your license, drivers must register their new legal name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as detailed below.

After changing your name with the SSA you can begin the name change process by learning about the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and appearing in person at any OH BMV branch office. For more information on how to change a name on a driver’s license in Ohio, including the associated documents and fees, continue reading the following sections.

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

After a legal name change, obtaining a change of name on a driver’s license documents in OH is second only to updating the name you have on file with the SSA. Marriage is one of the most common reasons for a name change in Ohio, because most couples choose to use the same last name. Usually, the name change reflects the husband’s last name, but some couples opt to create a unique or hyphenated surname. When a divorce or annulment decree is finalized, many people decide to return to their maiden name or another previously-used surname.

When an older individual is adopted or reconnected with an absent birth parent, they also sometimes choose to pursue a name change on legal documents. Transgender individuals may opt to legally change their name as a mark of their new identity, and may also file a Declaration of Gender Change with the state.

Still, other Ohio drivers seek a driver’s license name change after switching to a name that better reflects their religious status or ethnic background. Whatever the reason for choosing a new name, licensed drivers must document their name change on their license and other government records as soon as possible.

Ohio Driver’s License Name Change Time Limits

The Ohio BMV does not specify a time limit for changing your name on your driving record or other driving credentials. However, it is still best to change the name on a driving license document as soon as possible. That way, if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, you know that the license you present contains accurate, up-to-date information that will not result in a fine or citation of any sort.

How to Change Your Name with the Social Security Administration

An Ohio driver’s license name change cannot take place until you register your new name with the Social Security Administration, so you must visit the SSA before pursuing a name change at your local BMV office or driver license reinstatement center. The name on your Social Security record must exactly match the name you put on your new driver’s license, or the BMV will not allow you to make an official change.

Unlike an Ohio driver’s license name change, you may change names with the SSA at no cost. You have the option of visiting a local SSA branch office or sending your documents through the mail. Keep in mind that the SSA only accepts original documents, which is why many drivers prefer to apply in person rather than wait for their original documents to be returned in the mail.

The same documents you need for a driver’s license name change can be used by the SSA. This includes identity verification with your current Ohio driver’s license, state-issued photo ID card or a valid U.S. Passport. The SSA must also view the document that links your old and new names together, such as your marriage certificate, adoption decree, divorce decree or a court-ordered record of a name change.

Some SSA and BMV applicants may be asked to show proof of legal immigration status when applying for a new Social Security card or later when obtaining a driver’s license name change at the BMV. Petitioners must also complete and submit the SSA’s official Social Security card application form.

Although you will not leave the SSA with a new Social Security card, your name change will be updated within a business day or two. At that time, you may go to the Ohio BMV for your driver’s license name change without needing to wait for a hard copy of the Social Security card to arrive in the mail.

Online Driver’s License Name Changes

Ohio’s BMV online site offers a variety of driver’s license services, including license verification and address changes. Unfortunately, you cannot currently obtain a name change on a driver’s license record through the online BMV system.

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

The Ohio BMV maintains a statewide network of offices dedicated to processing name change requests and many other driver-related services. Changing the name on a driver’s license in Ohio is a simple procedure, requiring applicants to simply show their current Ohio driver’s license, provide the original document that legalized the name change and pay the associated fee.

Appropriate documents for driver’s license name changes include:

  • A marriage certificate.
  • A divorce decree.
  • An annulment or dissolution of marriage certificate.
  • An adoption decree.
  • A court-ordered name change decree.

Ohio DMV Name Change Fees

Obtaining a change of name on driving licenses in Ohio is considered the same as duplicating or replacing your driver’s license for other reasons. Therefore, the state requires motorists applying for a name change to pay the standard duplicate or replacement license fee of $24.50. The Ohio BMV accepts cash, checks, money orders and most major credit cards.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 5 2019.

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