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How to Change Your Name in North Carolina

Though straightforward, changing your name can be a daunting task when you have never before considered the process and all it entails. In North Carolina, the name change process is governed by Chapter 101 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Under this provision, you are only allowed to change your name one time if you are an adult. Children, however, may have their name changed up to two times under the statute. To make the name change process both easier to understand and to accomplish, we’ve enumerated the basic steps below.

  1. Complete before filing an application:

    1. Get your fingerprints taken at your local sheriff’s department.

    2. Submit a request to obtain a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) background check.

    3. Submit a request for a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background check.

  2. File the Notice of Intent to File Name Change which must remain on the courthouse door or bulletin for ten days.

  3. Fill out application materials:

    1. Petition for Name Change

    2. Two notarized Affidavits of Character from people who reside in the same county as you

    3. Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations.

  4. Sign the documents listed above in the presence of a notary, and have the notary complete the Notary Verification Form.

  5. Bring all of the following materials to the Clerk of Superior Court of the county in which you reside to file your complete application:

    1. SBI background check

    2. FBI background check

    3. Petition for Name Change

    4. Two different Affidavits of Character

    5. Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligation

    6. A photo ID

    7. A certified copy of your birth certificate

    8. Proof of address

    9. Filing fee in cash or money order (varies by county)

    10. A self-addressed, postage paid envelope if you would like your court order and Certificate of Name Change to be mailed to you after it is issued.

  6. Pay the fee at the courthouse.

  7. Wait for your request to be heard. Name change petitions are subject to hearings which may be granted or denied even if all the forms are filled out correctly and all the required documentation is submitted.

  8. If you are granted the name change and issued a court order, use the court order and Certificate of Name Change to change your driver license, Social Security card, and passport and/or Visa (if applicable.)

For transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people, changing the gender designation on identification documents is just as important if not more so than changing names. To change your gender designation on your state-issued driver license or identification card, follow these general steps.

  1. Surrender your current state-issued driver license and/or identification card to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

  2. Submit one of the following to the DMV:

    1. A completed Sex Designation form (DL-300)

    2. A valid U.S. passport displaying your sex

    3. An updated birth certificate displaying your sex

    4. A court order issued by a United States court granting change of sex or gender.

  3. Pay applicable fees for the new license or identification card

    1. Driver license: $5.50/year

    2. Identification card: $14

  4. Have a new photo taken for your updated license or card

A name change is a legal process that may affect your rights. This is general overview of the process, but it doesn't go into an in-depth exploration of legal issues or your rights. If you need assistance, clarification, or are concerned, please consult with an attorney.


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