In the UK, changing your name is relatively easy, and there are a variety of reasons why one would want to change your name. Depending on whether you’re taking your partner’s family name after marriage or getting a double-barrel, or maybe you’ve never quite liked the name your parents gave you, the steps to legally declaring a new name would be slightly different. As long as you’re over the age of 18 and pay the appropriate fee, you are free to change your name by applying for a deed poll.
But in terms of marriage, as long as you have a legally-binding certificate (like a marriage certificate), you or your partner are free to take either surname. Just remember to have this discussion with your partner beforehand!
However, once there has been an official change in your name, you are obligated to inform the relevant authorities and update all your identification documents to match your new name. This includes the Passport Office and even DVLA. Fun fact: the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the only entity that must update its records to reflect any legal changes — including a change in address or legal name. Not updating your licence after changing your name is a big mistake, it can result in a penalty of £1,000 fine.
We’re guessing that you’re here because you want to avoid those consequences with the DVLA — and we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll be detailing all the steps you need to take to change your name on your UK driving licence. Plus, we’ll be giving you a quick checklist of all the documents you need and clarifying expectations of how much it will cost and how long the process will take.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Changing your name on a driver’s licence is easier than you would think! Updating the DVLA of your name change is super straightforward, and it’s even easy to do it yourself.
Unfortunately, unlike changing the address on your licence, you can’t apply for a new licence with your name change online. You will have to go through this whole process with a physical form and then send your application via post. Strange, considering that it’s 2023, but the reason why it’s done this way will become clear.
You should note that DVLA forms get updated from time to time, but the gist of the information and what the sections are called should still remain the same — albeit the order may be slightly different from previous iterations. Just pay attention to the form that you’re looking at, and be sure to fill it out correctly!
With that said, we’ve outlined all the steps you need to take right here:
Depending on what type of licence you have, you’ll need to get a different form to fill out — either of which you can do straight from the DVLA form section on GOV.UK. But if you’re near a post office, you can pick up the appropriate form from there, too. Honestly, the latter is the quicker option!
If you’re the owner of a car or motorcycle licence, you have to fill out the D1 “Application for a driving licence” form.
However, if you’re a bus or lorry licence holder, you’ll need to pick up the D2 “Application for a lorry/bus licence” form instead.
With the appropriate form in hand, now you’ll need to fill out the relevant details. Before you start filling out your details, be sure only to fill out the form with a black-inked pen!
First, take a look at the section of the D1 Form named “What are you applying for?”. Put a cross (X) in the box next to the statement “To change my name on my licence”. If you want to change the address on your driving licence at the same time, add another cross to the box by “To change my address on my licence”. After doing this, you’ll only need to worry about two other sections.
In the section named “Your details”, fill out the blank spaces with your new name in CAPITAL LETTERS, along with your date of birth and current address. Since you’re changing your name, you’ll need to fill out the large box below this part that asks the question, “Has your name or address (or both) changed since your last licence was issues?” — be sure to cross out the “Yes” box.
You’ll also need to add your old address in that same box if you’re updating your address at the same time – so be sure to leave enough space for both sets of details! Also, make sure to leave your contact details so that the DVLA can contact you in case of any issues with the application.
Now, onto the section named – “Your proof of identity”. You’ll need to provide the DVLA with either your passport — regardless of whether you’re a UK citizen or a foreign national. If you’re a citizen of an EU member state, you can enclose your EC or EEA identity card instead. Then, fill out the serial number of the document you’re enclosing — passport number for passports, identity number for identity cards. Once you’ve filled this out, you’ll also need to prove your name change by using one of the following:
Regardless of which document you’re providing as proof of name change, be sure to fill out the serial number of the document that you’re enclosing.
Ignore the “Signing a photo” section if the identity document that you’re enclosing is an up-to-date passport or EC/EEA identity card, even if you’ve exchanged your foreign licence for a UK one.
Once you’ve filled out the form correctly, all you need to do is send off the form along with all the appropriate documents. And that’s it! It’s that simple.
We’ll get to all the documents you need to enclose in the next section.
The only reason why you can only change your name with the DVLA via post is because of all the documents you’ll need to enclose along with your application form. Unfortunately, the DVLA won’t accept copies of any of the documents it has requested (even if it’s certified!), so be sure to include only original documents!
Here’s a quick checklist of all the documents you’ll need to enclose when changing your name on your driving licence:
If you’re sending an old paper licence to the DVLA, you should take note that you’ll also have to enclose a passport-sized photograph. You’ll receive the newer, credit-card-sized version of your driving licence once all the checks have been made.
Thankfully, you won’t have to fork out a single penny to update your name on your driving licence if you go through the process yourself! When it comes to DVLA services, you’ll only have to pay fees to replace a lost, stolen or damaged licence. However, you might have to pay fees if you’ve decided to utilise a service to help you with this process.
But, since you’ll be handing over original documents to the DVLA, we highly recommend that you pay a little extra to get Royal Mail to ship your application securely. As an added security bonus, you should enclose a pre-paid, first-class envelope along with your application so that the DVLA can securely return your documents. Otherwise, the DVLA will return all these highly sensitive documents via regular mail and DVLA will not be legally liable if those documents are lost.
Although the DVLA typically processes applications within three weeks, there may be particular cases where it might take much longer because of a backlog. One such case was during the pandemic. However, regardless of backlog, your original identity documents will be returned to you in the mail before your new driver’s licence arrives.
You could wait for up to a maximum of eight weeks to receive your new licence, so be sure to photocopy it before sending it off. The DVLA has stated that you’ll still be able to drive while you wait for your licence, but it doesn’t hurt to keep a copy for yourself just in case!
Regardless of the reasons why you want to change your name, you should be aware that you’ll need to inform the DVLA immediately about it. Fortunately, the process of changing your name with the DVLA is incredibly simple. Be sure to go through the steps we’ve outlined in this article, and you’ll get a brand new licence with your new name in no time at all.
Plus, if you need to change the address on your driving licence, you can do that at the same time. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone to get things sorted!
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