Changing legal name, birth certificate and driver's license in Massachusetts

How to:

Receive a Legal Name Change in Massachusetts

Where to Go
To file for a legal name change, go to the office of the Register of Probate in the Probate and Family Court in the county in which you reside. In Hampden County, the court is at 50 State Street in Springfield. In Hampshire County, the court is at 33 King Street in Northampton. The hours for both courts are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

What You Will Need to Bring

A certified copy of your birth certificate
One can be ordered here. The cost for the birth certificate is $45, which includes shipping. After the online request form is sent in, instructions will be emailed to you about how to mail in a check or money order. Once payment is received, normal delivery time for the birth certificate is 10 – 14 business days. For an additional $45, the delivery time is 3 – 5 days.

Previous name change decrees (if any)
If your name has been previously changed by decree of court or at marriage, either a copy of record of birth so amended, a copy of such decree, or a copy of record of marriage must be filed with the application.

Name Change Petition Form
This form is available here. The form asks why you are changing your name. You do not have to indicate that you are transgender/transsexual and do not need to be on hormones, to have had gender reassignment/confirmation surgery, or to have a letter from a doctor or therapist. Some people choose to write "common usage," "personal reason," or "it's the name I use."

As long as you are not changing your name in order to commit fraud, you have the legal right to change your name. A criminal record check will be done for all name-change petitioners over the age of 7 years. If you are denied the right to change your name because of a criminal record, you may wish to contact a lawyer.


The cost to file for a name change is $150, plus a $15 surcharge. Fees may be paid with cash, money order, or personal check. If you receive public benefits, have an income below the poverty line, or otherwise cannot afford $165, you may request that the fee be waived by declaring indigence. The forms to do so are available here.

The Process

All name change petitions are published in a local newspaper. There is a separate charge for publication and you can usually choose the paper in which the notice is published. If you have a good reason that the notice should not be published, you can file a motion to waive publication and an affidavit (a sworn statement) stating why you do not wish to have this information published. You may have to appear before a judge to explain your reasons.

Each probate court has a different process for handling name changes. In some courts, you may go before a judge or before a judge's clerk. In other courts, the judge looks at the name change application outside of the petitioner's presence. You may be able to finish everything that day or you may be required to return in about two weeks.

Adapted from information provided by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition


Change the Name and/or Gender on Massachusetts Driver's Licenses

Changing the Name on Your License

To file for a name change on a Massachusetts driver's license, you need to go to a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office. In Western Massachusetts, RMV offices are located in Easthampton (16 Pleasant Street), Greenfield (280 Main Street), Chicopee (1011 Chicopee Street), Springfield (165 Liberty Street), Pittsfield (333 East Street), and North Adams (33 Main Street). Hours, directions, and wait times are available on the RMV website.

What You Will Need to Bring

A court order showing your legal name change (see "How To Receive a Legal Name Change in Massachusetts," above).
Your Social Security Card with your new legal name.

After obtaining a name change court order, you need to go to a Social Security office to obtain a new Social Security card before you can change your name with the RMV. In Western Massachusetts, Social Security offices are located in Holyoke (200 High Street), Springfield (70 Bond Street), Greenfield (1 Arch Place), Pittsfield (78 Center Street), and North Adams (37 Main Street). Hours and directions are available on the Social Security website.


The cost to obtain a license with a new name is $25.
Although changing the names on driver's licenses is standard procedure for RMV employees, there have been some incidents where a clerk will try to deny a name change. As long as you have all of the necessary legal paperwork, you cannot be denied a name change. If an RMV clerk refuses to make the change, ask to speak with a supervisor. If the supervisor likewise refuses to honor your request, ask to speak with the RMV branch manager. Be sure to record the names of the people with whom you speak, the dates and times of the interactions, and the reasons you were given for the denial.

Changing the Gender on Your License

What You Will Need to Bring

A completed  Massachusetts Gender Designation Change Form. The form no longer require a medical/therapeutic signatory. Now, applicants are asked to sign a "self attestation," to affirm their gender marker change is consistent with their gender identity.

Adapted from information provided by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition


Change the Gender on a Massachusetts Birth Certificate

Proof of surgery is no longer required to change the gender marker on birth certificates in Massachusetts. Applicants must still provide a notarized statement from a physician indicating that they have had medical intervention to permanently reassign their gender. Undergoing hormone replacement therapy counts as medical intervention. To have the name changed on a birth certificate, proof of a legal name change is required. Complete details are on the  Massachusetts state website.