First name discrepancy might cause problem with Oregon DMV

I recently discovered the first name I have used all my life (I am a senior) is not the same as shown on my birth certificate. I have had no problems but may in the future when I go to renew my license with Driver and Motor Vehicle Services. How and whom should I contact to get this corrected?

— R. Harris, Medford

We hate to agree with you on this, but you could have a problem on your hands. If you have a valid passport that contains the name you've been using for years, you should be OK. All you need, generally, to get a new license is a valid passport and a Social Security card. But if you don't have a passport, you will need a government-issued birth certificate.

A DMV representative said that if you don't have any legal documents to prove you have changed your name, you have a couple of options. You can choose to use the name that was issued on your birth certificate, or you can go to court to have your name legally changed.

The rules were created to weed out people falsely claiming to live in Oregon, which corresponds with regulations already in place in other states.

The new law would make it difficult for illegal aliens to get a license and moves the state toward compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, designed to create identity cards that will be required for airline flights and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants. It also could provide more information for law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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