Providing proof of identity for a driving licence

If you want to apply for a photocard driving licence, you may need to provide some form of identification. The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) can’t issue a driving licence until your identity is confirmed.

When identity documents are needed

If you currently hold a Northern Ireland (NI) or UK photocard licence, identity documents are not normally required.

If this is your first NI licence, or if you are changing your name or correcting your date of birth on your existing licence, you must provide valid identity documents.

Identity documents accepted

If you need to provide identity documents, they must be originals. DVA will not accept photocopies or laminated certificates.

DVA prefers the following documents as confirmation of your identity:

  • full valid current passport in your current name
  • a valid UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • UK or Republic of Ireland birth certificate

You should not send your passport if you are likely to need it for travel purposes soon. DVA cannot guarantee its return for a specific date or event.

In some cases DVA will accept:

  • certificate of registry of birth (provided your name is present on the certificate)
  • adoption certificate
  • ID card issued by a member state of the EEA (ID cards issued by the UK Passport Agency are not accepted by DVA as confirmation of your identity)
  • travel documents issued by the Home Office
  • certificate of naturalisation or registration (with supporting documents)
  • proof of entitlement for the State Retirement Pension

If your name is different now from that shown on your passport or identity card, you must have your passport or identity card updated to show this change.

If your name is different now from that shown on your birth certificate, you must also provide original documentary evidence to confirm your change of name - for example: marriage certificate, decree absolute or decree nisi papers, deed poll or statutory declaration. The evidence you provide must show a clear link between the name on your identity document and your current name.

If you are in any doubt about the identity documents you need to provide, you can contact DVA:

Return of supporting documents

DVA will normally return your documents within 10 working days, separate from your licence. If you don’t receive them, contact DVA :

The driving licence fee includes return of your supporting documents (where applicable) by second class post. If you would like your supporting documents returned by secure delivery, provide a suitable pre-paid Royal Mail Special delivery envelope.

Note – DVA will not provide compensation for any loss or delay resulting from the use of second class post.

DVA can't guarantee to return your documents by a set date, for example, a holiday.

Proof of residency

If you are exchanging a licence other than a licence issued in Great Britain, or you have previously been resident outside Northern Ireland and wish to apply for a provisional licence, you must provide DVA with proof of residency.

Documents accepted by DVA as proof that you are resident in Northern Ireland are listed below. At least one of these documents is needed:

  • utility bill - for example gas or electricity bill
  • bank account or credit card statement (signed and stamped by bank official) 
  • hospital appointment notice
  • court notice 
  • correspondence from a United Kingdom government department for example 'Northern Ireland domestic rates bill' or 'HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) income tax notification'
  • correspondence from a Northern Ireland university confirming that you've been on a course of study for at least the last six months 

Note - your document must be an original copy, not a photocopy.

Your document must be dated within the last three months, immediately preceding the date of your application for an exchange or provisional driving licence. The document supplied must also be in your name and show your Northern Ireland address.

Checking service

A DVA MOT test centre may be able to check your application if you don’t want to send your identification through the post.


In some circumstances a photograph is not needed. The link below explains when a photo is needed:

More useful links

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