North Carolina Identity Documents

North Carolina Name Change Laws

To obtain a legal name change in North Carolina, an applicant must submit a petition to the court. Before filing the petition, the applicant must publish notice at the courthouse door for ten days, however the publication requirement can be waived with evidence that the applicant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual offense, or stalking. Along with the petition, the applicant must submit proof of the applicant’s good character by two county citizens and FBI and State Bureau of Investigations Record Checks. Registered sex offenders are not permitted to obtain a legal name change. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 101-1 to 101-8). 

For instructions on legal name changes for minors under 18 in North Carolina, see NCTE's Name Changes for Minors in North Carolina resource.

North Carolina Drivers License Policy & Procedures

In order to update the legal name on a North Carolina ID, the applicant must obtain a court order for name change, and must update their name with the Social Security Administration at least 36 hours before going to the DMV. Then the applicant should visit a driver's license office with the legal name change order. The North Carolina Department of Transportation website has additional information on name changes.

In order to update the gender marker on a North Carolina ID, the applicant may submit any ONE of the following:

  • Gender Designation Form, signed by the applicant and by one of the following licensed professionals: physician, psychiatrist, physician's assistant, licensed therapist, counselor, psychologist, case worker, or social worker
  • A passport or birth certificate with the proper gender marker
  • A court order recognizing the gender

Applicants should submit the form to a driver's license office and will have to surrender the old ID, have a new photo taken at DMV, and pay the fees for a driver’s license. Applicants can update their name and gender at the same time or separately. For more information on the North Carolina DMV gender change policy, see these Frequently Asked Questions.

North Carolina Birth Certificate Laws

North Carolina state registrar will issue a new birth certificate upon receipt of a written request by an individual "to change the sex on that individual's birth record because of sex reassignment surgery, if the request is accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery." G.S. § 130A-118.

To apply for an amended birth certificate the applicant should submit:

  • A handwritten request detailing what changes are to be made to the birth certificate
  • The Application for a Copy of a Birth Certificate with section 2. Record Changes completed (Other = Gender Change)
  • A certified copy of the court ordered name change (if applicable)
  • A notarized original letter from the doctor stating that individual has completed surgical procedures OR a certified copy of a court ordered gender change
  • Payment of any applicable fees (name change = $15, gender change = $15, certificate search and first copy = $24)

Mail application to:

​North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
​Division of Public Health - Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
​Raleigh, NC 27699-1900 

Please note: North Carolina will accept court orders from other states to update the name and/or gender on a North Carolina birth certificate.

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