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.

Do I need identity documents?

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 documentation 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 in the near future. DVA cannot guarantee return for a specific date or event.

In some instances 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 documentation)
  • proof of entitlement for the State Retirement Pension

If your name is now different 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 now different from that shown on your birth certificate, you must also supply 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 supply, 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 customer enquiries.

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, please supply an appropriate pre-paid Royal Mail Special delivery envelope.

Please 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 specified 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 appropriate 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 required:

  • utility bill - for example, gas, electricity, telephone (not mobile)
  • bank or building society statement (not credit card statement)

Please 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.

Is a photograph required?

In some circumstances a photograph is not required. The link below gives details on whether or not a photograph is needed.

More useful links

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