Florida DMV Clarifies Name-Changing Policy

Florida DMV Clarifies Name-Changing Policy


The Supreme Court's decision in June, striking down significant portions of the federal marriage ban, has sparked many same-sex couples to go out of state to marry now that they are eligible for a range of federal legal protections and family benefits. Consequently, Equality Florida has been inundated with requests for help from couples who encounter problems getting their driver's license changed to their new married name back home in Florida.


The bad news is proof of your marriage is not sufficient to secure a name change due to the DMV's interpretation of the marriage ban that was voted into Florida's Constitution in 2008. The good news is there is a path that doesn't require you to go the costly route of going to court to get the name change recognized. Last year, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agreed to clarify the name-changing policy in their operation’s manual.


Here's the bottom line:  In order to change the name that appears on your Florida Identification, you need to apply for and obtain both a new Social Security card and a new passport, both reflecting your new name. Once in hand, take both your new passport and Social Security card to your local Florida DMV. The DMV has assured Equality Florida that all offices are instructed to accept these documents as acceptable for changing one’s name.


In February of 2013, the DMV changed their operations manuals to clarify the policy language as follows:


LR11 – Name Requirements

5. U.S. Passport


A U.S. passport can be used to change a customer’s name, providing the customer can present substantial evidence of the name change. Some of the factors that can be used to establish a link are listed below:

  • Date of birth matches on the existing DL/ID card and the U.S. passport match.
  • The first name on the existing DL/ID card and the U.S. passport match.
  • Photo on passport matches the photo in the customer’s record or on DL/ID credential.
  • Other secondary identification that can be utilized for substantial name compliance linkage between the DL/ID card and the passport, such as name on social security card, military identification card, etc.

If you have provided your local DMV with the proper documentation and are still having trouble getting your name-changed, please contact us at [email protected].

Special thanks to Ray and Mark Opthof whose story helped clear the path for other married couples. Thanks also to the ACLU of Florida for legal assistance in clarifying the policy.


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