Can I legally change my name?

Maybe. The California Courts website gives step-by-step instructions for changing your name online: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-namechange.htm. The website has specific information for people who are divorcing, getting married, changing their legal gender, and other requests.

A judge must approve legal name changes. In all cases, you will need to prove that your name change doesn’t pose any security risk to the community.[6] A judge may find that you cannot legally change your name if:

    The judge finds that you are changing your name to commit fraud; OR
    The judge finds that you are changing your name to hide from the police or law enforcement or for some other illegal reason; OR
    You are currently on probation or parole — UNLESS your probation or parole officer is aware of your legal name change AND gives you written approval; OR
    If you are incarcerated in prison.
    If you are incarcerated in a California state prison, you need permission from the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to change your name.
    If you are incarcerated in federal prison, you need permission from the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to change your name.[7]

I am an undocumented person? Can I get official ID?

No, you cannot get official ID that works for all government purposes if you are an undocumented immigrant living in California, BUT you may be able to get special types of ID that can be used in limited circumstances.

Learn more about the following types of ID for undocumented people on PG. 58:

    California AB 60 “Undocumented Person” driver licenses, which allow some undocumented individuals to drive legally in California (and California only!);
    Consular Identification Cards; and
    Municipal ID Cards (created by some cities for their local residents).
  1. 6

    See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1279.5.

  2. 7

    See “Name Changes,” The Law Office of Natalia Malyshkina, http://www.immigration-business-law.com/name-changes.html.