How to change your name on your driver license and/or identification (ID) card

To apply for a name change you will need to:

Acceptable evidence of your new name may be provided by showing an original or certified copy of a Birth Date and Legal presence document or a true full name document.

Please contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change your name on SSA records before you make an appointment with DMV to have your name changed on DMV records. DMV electronically verifies your name, birth date and social security number with the SSA.

If your information does not verify, you will not receive your new California driver license or identification card. You will receive a Request for Verification of Information letter from DMV informing you that the information you provided (name, birth date, and/or SSN) does not match SSA’s records.

You will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days and/or a receipt for your ID card until you receive your new photo license and/or photo ID card in the mail. Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new license and/or ID card will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you do not receive your license and/or ID card after 60 days, call 1 (800) 777-0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license and/or ID card receipt with you to provide information when requested.

Note: A name change on your driver license or identification card will not change your vehicle registration information. Follow this link to find out how to change or correct the name on your vehicle/vessel’s DMV record.

DMV Social security number (SSN) requirement

The Social Security Act allows any state to use the SSN to establish the identification of an applicant. The California Vehicle Code requires the collection of the social security number.

All applicants must submit to DMV their social security number. Evidence of your social security number is required only on applications for an original commercial driver license and any request to correct a SSN that is already on the driver record data base, regardless of the class. The SSN is considered confidential and will not appear on the photo license or be encoded on the magnetic stripe. Any documents that the department is authorized to release to the public will have the SSN masked. The SSN is electronically verified with Social Security Administration while you are in the DMV office for all DL/ID card transactions, if it has not already been verified.

The only documents acceptable for SSN verification are originals of the following:

  • Social Security Card (cannot be laminated)
  • Medicare card
  • U.S. Armed Forces Identification Cards:
    Active-DD 2
    Retired-DD 2
    Reserved-DD 2
    Dependent-DD 173
  • Military separation document-DD 214

Exception to the SSN requirement:

If you are legally present in the US, but ineligible for an SSN, you are exempt from SSN requirements. However, you must still provide an acceptable BD/LP document for any DL/ID card application OR provide a valid SSN.

What happens if I lose my Permit?

If you lose your driving instruction permit, you may apply for a duplicate.

  • Complete a Driver License and/or Identification Card application (DL 44) form.
  • If you are under 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the application form.
  • Visit a DMV office to apply for your duplicate permit.

Make an Appointment(s) to apply for your duplicate permit.

When you are required to report an accident to DMV

If you are involved in a vehicle accident that occurred in California, you must report it to DMV if:

  • There was property damage of more than $1,000 (750 for accidents prior to January 1, 2017) or
  • any one was injured (no matter how minor) or killed.

Each driver must make a report to DMV within 10 days, whether you caused the accident or not and even if the accident occurred on private property.

You must complete a DMV Traffic Accident Report form SR 1 (PDF).

To submit the form electronically, use the eForm version or complete the PDF form and mail it to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Financial Responsibility (Mail Station J-237)
PO Box 942884
Sacramento, California 94284-0884

If you do not submit this report, your driving privilege will be suspended. DMV may ask your insurance company to verify that you had coverage in effect at the time of the accident. If you did not have insurance, your driving privilege will be suspended for one year. To get your license back, after the suspension, you will need to provide proof of financial responsibility and maintain it on record for three years. The accident may count as one point on your driving record (California Insurance Requirements).

For information about violation points and your driving record, see negligent operator violation point count.

For information about what vehicle section violations count as negligent operator points, see common California vehicle code violations used in negligent operator count

For additional information regarding accident reports, call the Financial Responsibility section at (916) 657-6677 .

DMV Vision exam requirement

A 20/40 visual acuity with or without glasses is the department’s vision guideline. Applicants applying for a Class A, B, or commercial C license must see 20/40 with both eyes and each eye individually. The departmental authority for administering the vision exam is 12804.9 (a) (1) (E) of the California Vehicle Code.

Visual acuity measurements are obtained for both eyes together and for each eye separately while both eyes remain open, as in normal driving. There are two methods of testing, a Snellen chart or Optec 1000 Vision Tester.

The Snellen chart contains five lines of letters and measures the portion of an applicant’s general seeing ability, known as visual acuity or keenness of vision. The Optec 1000 Vision Tester obtains a more precise vision score by providing a test situation, which is equivalent to placing the applicant at one end of a room 26 feet long to read a test target at the opposite end of the room.

Applicants who do not pass either exams may, depending on the circumstances, be referred to a vision specialist. The vision specialist may prescribe eye glasses or a stronger prescription for the current eye glasses worn.

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What other languages is the knowledge or audio test available in?

Besides English, the basic Class C knowledge driver license tests are also available in the following languages:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Besides English, the basic Class C audio driver license tests are also available in the following languages:
Armenian, Cantonese, Cambodian, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering knowledge or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

The Department of Motor Vehicles provides interpreters, including American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, at no cost to the customer.

If you need an interpreter, please let one of our staff know and an appointment will be scheduled for when a foreign language or an ASL interpreter is available. Appointments may also be scheduled during regular business hours by calling 1-800-777-0133 and indicating foreign language assistance is needed. For the California Relay Telephone Service from TDD phones, call 1-800-735-2929 or, from voice phones, call 1-800-735-2922 for assistance in contacting DMV and making arrangements for an ASL interpreter.

DMV Residency Documents

You must provide 2 different forms of acceptable residency documents when applying for an original California driver license or California identification card. When using a mailing address that is a post office (PO) box or general delivery, you must provide an actual place of residence on your application.  The address on the residency documents must match the residence address on your application.

NOTE: If you are applying for a driver license in compliance with AB 60, you are only required to provide 1 residency document.

Residency documents marked with a single asterisk (*) do not need to display the California address.

  • Rental or lease agreement with the signatures of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident.
  • Deed or title to residential real property.
  • Mortgage bill.
  • Home utility bill (including cellular phone).
  • School document as defined in California Code of Regulations §16.06(a)(1).
  • Medical document.
  • Employment document.
  • Faith-based document that includes the name and address of the issuing organization.
  • Insurance documents, including medical, dental, vision, life, home, rental, and vehicle.
  • Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return.
  • California title or registration for a vehicle or vessel.
  • Change of Address Confirmation by the United States (U.S.) Postal Service (Form CNL 107).
  • Document issued by a government within the U.S. or the U.S. government institution as defined in California Code of Regulations §16.02(b).
  • Property tax bill or statement.
  • Record of a financial institution as defined in California Code of Regulations §16.10(c)(16).
  • *Court document that lists the applicant as a resident of California.
  • *Letter on letterhead from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, nonprofit entity, employer, faith-based organization, or government within the U.S. attesting that the applicant is a resident of California.
  • *A parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate, a spouse or domestic partner may use a marriage license domestic partner registration certificate to trace his/her relationship to the individual to whom the acceptable residency document(s) were addressed

The 3 following documents do not apply to AB 60 applicants:

  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard issued by the California Secretary of State or a local California county elections officer.
  • Proof of payment of resident tuition to a California public institution of higher education.
  • Original copy of an approved Claim For Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption (BOE-266) form filed with a local California County Assessor.

For AB 60 applicants only, a California DL/ID card is acceptable.

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