Update Your Vehicle Registration
If your name or address has changed, you'll need to update your vehicle registration. In most states, this must be done within 60 days of the date the change took effect. Typically you can change your address online. However, changing your name requires a trip to the DMV.
Changing Your Address
- Visit your state's licensing website. Different states use different entities for vehicle registration. You may be able to find the address for your state's website on your current vehicle registration.
- You can always go to your local DMV or vehicle licensing office to change your address in person, but you'll typically save a lot of time and hassle by doing it online.
- Gather the necessary information to pull up your registration. Typically, you'll need your license plate number and VIN (vehicle identification number) so the system can find the correct registration. You may also need to enter or verify the year, make and model of your vehicle.
- If you have a copy of your current registration, it should have all of this information on it.
- Enter your new address. Once you've found the right registration, follow the website's instructions to change the address listed to your new address. Proofread it carefully before you submit your change to make sure there aren't any typos.
- Most states don't charge you anything to update your vehicle registration record. However, you'll have to pay a fee if you want a fresh copy of your registration showing your new address.
- Print confirmation of the change. When you change your address online, the change goes into effect immediately. The website may provide you a confirmation number, or you may be sent a confirmation email. Print this for your records and keep it with your old registration document.
- Once the change has taken effect, you can cross out the old address on your registration and carefully write in the new, correct address. When your registration is renewed, it will automatically be printed with the address on file.
- Order new documents if you want. Your address is changed in your state's official records, but it doesn't necessarily have to be reflected on your registration. Your current registration is still valid even though it has your old address on it.
- In some states, you must visit a vehicle licensing office in person if you want a new copy of your registration with your updated address.
- Visit the DMV if your state doesn't do address changes online. While most states allow you to change the address listed on your vehicle registration online, a few states, such as Texas, don't. If you live in one of those states, you'll have to update your vehicle registration in person.
- See if you can download a change of address form from your state's licensing website. If you can fill this out before you make the trip to the DMV, it could save you some time.
Changing Your Name
- Gather documentation and proof of identity. To change your name, you'll need regular proof of identity, such as a government-issued photo ID, as well as official documents for the name change, such as your U.S. marriage certificate or divorce papers.
- Court papers should either be your originals or a certified copy. You can get a certified copy from the clerk's office of the court that issued the original documents.
- Generally, you'll have an easier time if you change your name with Social Security first, then get your name changed on your driver's license, then change your name on your vehicle registration.
- You may need to show your birth certificate as well as proof of your birthday.
- Complete a vehicle registration application. Some states have separate forms for you to fill out to change your name on your vehicle registration. Typically, however, you'll complete a new registration form.
- Go online to your state's licensing website and download a copy of the form. If you fill it out before you arrive at the DMV you may save yourself some time.
- Visit your local DMV. You must go to the DMV in person to change your name, so DMV staff can review your documents and verify your identity. It's a good idea to make an appointment, especially if you live in a densely populated area.
- You typically can make an appointment online, or you can call the DMV and ask to schedule an appointment to change your name on your registration.
- Submit your documents and fee if required. When your name is called, give your completed application and proof of identity and name change to the DMV representative. They will verify your identity and adjust the registration record for you.
- If you didn't bring acceptable documentation, the DMV representative will provide you a list of the documents you need. You'll have to schedule another appointment to come back and complete your name change.
- Some states don't charge a fee to change your name on your vehicle registration, while others only charge a fee if you want a copy of the new registration that reflects the change. Call ahead to find out if there are any fees, and what methods of payment are accepted.
- Receive your updated registration. By updating your vehicle registration in person, you'll typically get a new copy of your registration with the correct name on it immediately. In some states, you may have to wait for your new registration to be mailed to you.
- When you receive your updated registration, destroy the old registration and replace it with your new registration.
- Changing the address on vehicle registration for one vehicle typically won't automatically change it for any other vehicles. If you own more than one vehicle, assume you'll have to repeat the process for each one.
- When you update your vehicle registration, make sure you update the same information on any toll passes you have as well.
- This article covers how to update your vehicle registration in the United States. Other countries may have slightly different procedures. Check the website of the government department that regulates motor vehicles in your area.