How to Change Your Name on Your Drivers License in Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania drivers license name change is required whenever your name changes for any reason. Although it is not required, the PA DMV name change process goes smoother if you update your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before applying for your new driver’s license. There are documents that you must present to the licensing office to modify a driving record as well as a fee for a replacement drivers license.
Applicants for a PA change of name on driving license records must appear in person at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver License Center with their current PA driver’s license and supporting documents. The paperwork that must be furnished will depend on the reason for the name change. Continue reading for more information about how to change name on drivers license records in PA.
Instances Where You Must Change Your Name on Your Pennsylvania Drivers License
A PA name change on drivers license is a common procedure after significant life changes. The most common reasons to change name on driving license cards remains marriage and divorce, as most newlywed desire to share surnames after marriage or revert to maiden names following dissolution. Some requests are for grooms taking on their wife’s surname or for couples choosing a variation of their last names combined.
In the event of a divorce or annulment, a judge often writes into the decree an order to modify a name on driving records and other legal records. In these instances, a back change to a maiden name indicates that you are no longer married.
Sometimes, a person initiates a name change on a driving license to represent transgender lifestyle adjustments, a religious conversion or a major career move. Other PA DOT name change requests stem from an individual becoming tired of others finding their name difficult to pronounce or spell. Whatever the reason for the alteration in first or last name, residents will need to notify the proper authorities.
Pennsylvania Drivers License Name Change Time Limits
The State of Pennsylvania does not provide a specific timeline by which you must obtain a drivers license name change, but PennDOT does recommend doing so as soon as possible. Changing your name on driving license records and with the SSA is a proactive measure to avoid the hassle of explaining non-matching legal identity documents in the future. Your identification should always match your legal name.
How to Change Your Name With the Social Security Administration
Changing your name on driving license records is important, but it is easier when you change it first with the Social Security Administration. The SSA can only accept original copies of your supporting name change documents. Whether you conduct your SSA name update in person or by mail, you must submit the original copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or another court-ordered legal document.
As when changing your name on driving license documents, you must include proof of identity with your current PA drivers license, state-issued photo ID card or a valid U.S. passport. In some cases, you may have to provide proof of citizenship or legal resident status. If so, then you will likely need to submit these documents to both the SSA and the PennDOT offices. Social Security card name change applicants must complete and submit the official application for a Social Security card. SSA name changing services differ from the Pennsylvania driving license name change process in that an SSA name change is always provided free of charge.
Online Drivers License Name Changes
PennDOT offers address changes and other DMV services online, but online drivers license name changes are not available at this time. The in-person verification required for a record change cannot be successfully conducted online.
How to Change Your Name on Your Drivers License in Person
Some people assume that a PA change of name on driving license records is automatic after the marriage certificate or another legal document is filed with the state, but such updates do not occur automatically. Changing your name on your drivers license in Pennsylvania requires completing the application for a correction on credentials and replacement documents. Note that this form includes a place for your Social Security Number.
If the name affiliated with your SSA account does not match the information on this form, then processing may be delayed. That is one reason it is important to apply for a name alteration on drivers records only after you update your name with the SSA. If your current drivers license expires within the next six months, then you may use the application to renew driving credentials.
Follow these guidelines to determine which drivers license name change documents you should bring:
- If wishing to use your spouse’s surname, then present your marriage certificate.
- If you desire to use your birth name, then present your state-issued birth certificate bearing a raised seal.
- For court-ordered name changes, show a certified copy of the court order.
- For non-citizens, provide primary source ID documents with the correct name, such as the most recently issued immigration documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
If you are seeking a PA drivers license name change for any other reason, then you must present your Social Security card together with two other sources bearing the new name. This may be a tax record, voter registration card, U.S. passport, banking records or any form of government-issued photo ID.
Pennsylvania DMV Name Change Fees
The PA DMV name change process provides you with a new license bearing your adjusted name and new signature. For this service, PennDOT charges a $29.50 duplicate license fee. On the other hand, this fee may vary depending on the driving class, such as having a commercial drivers license, and if you are renewing your credentials.