Anna Maria Locke

name changing part 2 (the DMV)

(Us on the plane headed to Mexico for our honeymoon last year. The literal buttcrack of dawn is shining on Ben's face.)

After my trip to the social security office last month, my new SS card arrived in the mail in less than a week. It still has my wrong middle name on it, but I'm going to worry about that later.

Today I set out to accomplish step 2 of the name change ordeal: getting a new driver's license. To make matters more complicated, my parents decided that since I'm married now and officially an adult, it was time to give me the title to the Ford Focus I've been driving since high school. (Just in time for its last legs.) So I had to officially transfer the title over to myself and get a new registration and license plates in addition to changing the info on my license. To make matters less complicated, I fortuitously procrastinated on the name change just long enough that it's time for me to renew my license anyway, so I felt I was lucky to be able to accomplish a triple whammy with only one trip to the dreaded DMV.

A perk to being underemployed is being able to go to the DMV in the morning on a random weekday. I looked up the nearest facility to me, which is about a 20 minute drive away. Apparently there are less driver services facilities in Chicago than there are Social Security offices, but I guess it's fun to explore a new area of town. So I cleaned the mountain of snow off my car and set off to discover the BIGGEST FREAKING DMV office EVER. It was like a warehouse-sized labyrinth of lines, counters, booths, people, oh my God. And it was like 78 degrees which is 14 degrees hotter than I keep our apartment because we're too broke for warmth, so I was immediately parched in my long underwear, two sweaters, and puffy coat. Luckily the lines moved pretty quickly and I made it through the FOUR lines/counters/stations it took to transfer the title, then headed to a different section of the building to deal with my license.

First I had to visit the line at the "check in" counter to get a number and verify that I had the necessary documents, then luckily my number was immediately called to the next counter where an extremely chatty Asian man entered my information and taught me about the etymology of Dutch names (apparently having the "Van" prefix means you are descended from the upper class, sweet!), how Europeans never used to have last names, how Asian cultures don't use middle names, and how his co-worker's son just moved to Davenport (he saw Rock Island on my marriage license). Then I moved to the cashier counter where I paid $30 to renew my license (I got to skip the name change fee because I took care of it at the same time, yay!), on to the pre-photo counter where a lady took my old license away, and then FINALLY got my new picture taken. I'm kind of sad my old license is gone because I loved the picture, but oh well.

So I was in and out in a little over an hour, and now I'm officially Anna Vandervlugt Locke. I want to go by Anna Locke socially but I couldn't eliminate the Vandervlugt. Just thinking about it made me feel really shaken up and panicky. I am not sure how I'll feel about my decision 10 or 20 or 30 years from now but right now, this was the way to go for me. My family is pretty conservative and I've had to explain myself a couple times but you know what? It's 2013, and we can make a choice. Plus, your legal documents have to match but other than that you can be known as any name you want, and I like being able to be Anna Locke without completely giving up the previous identity I've held for the past 25 years.

(I decided to omit the middle name/initial completely on my license just to keep it simpler. I think I'll omit the M on everything else I change too to avoid confusion, and also to buy myself more time before I have to go back to the SS office to correct my card that says Marie when I'm really a Maria.)

So in summary, here are my tips for changing your name on your license in Illinois:
-Go on a weekday morning, if you can!
-You need 2 documents that verify the new name, so get your SS card first (I used SS card and marriage license)
-If you have a new address you need 2 documents to prove that too. I used my new car registration and a pay stub. I also brought our lease just in case.
-If you can, coordinate your trip so it lines up with renewing your license. You'll save the name change fee!
-Renewing and name changing fees are $30 each.
-Transferring a title/renewing registration/getting new license plates is very expensive (almost $200). If you're just changing your name on the title/registration it's only $18.
-They don't take VISA cards (whyyy?), so bring your checkbook and cash if you carry VISA!!
-Here's the link for changing your name on title/registration
-Here's info for changing your name and address
-Here's the list of documents you need to update your drivers license

And here are a few articles that were EXTREMELY helpful to me in the whole name change decision process!

I hope you've been entertained and have found my experiences useful if you're engaged! I'm probably not going to share the rest of the name change journey since I can do most of it online. Hopefully I don't forget anything. Oh the joys of being a if society needed to make it even more complicated.