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Guide: Changing the Name and/or Gender on your Driving Licence

Driving licence

Many people earn their driving licences in their late teens or early twenties. As a result, over the course of your life, you may find that some of the information listed on the card is no longer accurate. Be it a change in address, name or gender, the DVLA does provide a way for you to update this information.

In this guide we explain exactly how to go about changing the name (including preferred title, if applicable) and/or gender listed on your driving licence. You can also find the answers to some frequently asked questions at the end of the article. Let’s get into it!

Wait a minute, does gender even appear on the driving licence?

At first glance, no, but if you dig a little deeper, yes! Now, if you’re a bloke, you may not have noticed this before. That’s because, for some reason, only driving licences belonging to females include indications of gender.

Female driving licence with indications of gender highlighted

For starters, a title field is automatically included on the driving licences of women. In other words, the name is always preceded by ‘Miss’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, ‘Dr’…etc. Driving licences for men, on the other hand, simply state the name without a title. This has understandably caused some controversy (this is the year 2021, right?), as it seems strange that a woman’s marital status needs to be included at all.

The second place gender is revealed on a driving licence is within the driving licence number itself. The 7th and 8th character represent a person’s birth month. However, on a woman’s driving licence, the 7th character is replaced with ‘5’. So, if she was born in September, the 7th and 8th characters would read ’59’, whereas on a man’s driving licence it would say ’09’.

With this being the case, if your gender identity does not match that which is shown on your driving licence, you can get this updated in a few simple steps.

As there isn’t a gender field on the forms you fill out to acquire a driving licence, the DVLA simply get this information from your passport or whichever document you initially sent as proof of identity.

What you’ll need to do

The process for changing your name and gender on the licence is pretty much the same, and you should be able to do both at once.

Let’s start with the government body you’re dealing with, as many people don’t fully understand the difference between the DVSA and the DVLA. With this issue, you are well and truly in the wheelhouse of the DVLA (‘licensing’ is what the ‘l’ stands for, after all!) so that’s who you need to contact. The process is explained on the DVLA website, but the instructions are slightly vague, so we’re going to go into more detail to ensure that it is crystal clear.

To start with, you need to gather the following items:

  • Your current driving licence
  • A D1 ‘Application for a driving licence’ form (or D2 ‘Application for a lorry/bus licence’ if you drive one of these)
  • Any supporting documents

Application form

Close up of a man's hands writing on pieces of paper with a pen
Image source: Scott Graham via Unsplash

You can usually find the D1 form at your local post office. You’ll recognise it as the one you used to apply for your licence in the first place. Carefully read the sections regarding updating your personal information and fill in all necessary fields.

As we’ve mentioned, there is no specific field listed for gender, so if this is what you are looking to change, you should write this in the ‘previous details’ box. You can also include a cover letter if you really want to make it clear. That being said, the supporting documents you provide should clarify what you are asking the DVLA to do.

Supporting documents

To successfully change your name and/or gender on you driving licence, you must provide a document that serves as evidence of the change. On the government website the DVLA refers to these as ‘original documents’, but what exactly does that cover?

The table below lists the type of identity documents that will be accepted by the DVLA. You must include at least one with your application.

Name Change Gender Change
Marriage/ civil partnership certificate Gender recognition certificate
Decree nisi/decree absolute (as well as your birth certificate, adoption certificate or your UK certificate of naturalisation) Deed poll
Deed poll Statutory declaration
Statutory declaration

If you don’t currently have any of the above documents, the easiest route is to get a statutory declaration. You can obtain one from a magistrate, solicitor or a commissioner of oaths.

And send!

One you’ve completed the form and collected any necessary supporting documents, put it in an envelope with your current driving licence and send it to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BN. If your application is in regards to a bus or lorry driving licence, do exactly the same but alter the postcode to SA99 1BR.

The great news is that you don’t have to pay to change these details on your licence! Within a few weeks you’ll be sent a new licence with your updated name and/or gender on.

Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take longer than usual for applications to be processed by the DVLA.

Time for a photo update too?

camera on red background

If you fancy a photo update while you’re at it, that’s easy to add on too. The only thing is you will have to pay for this part. Simply include a passport-style photo within your application, along with a cheque or postal order for £17 to be paid to the DVLA. Please make sure that your photo adheres to the government’s specifications.

Changing the name and/or gender on your licence: FAQs

I’ve lost my old licence, can I still get a new one with updated name and gender fields?

Yes, but you will have to pay £20 for the new licence. Follow the steps above but also pay attention to the instructions on the form for what to do if your licence is lost or has been stolen. Make sure to provide a clear explanation of what has happened and include a cheque or postal order made out to the DVLA.

Depending on the situation, you might find our article on what to do if you lose your provisional licence useful.

Can I still drive while the DVLA have my licence?

Yes; you are fine to drive while you wait for your licence to be sent back to you.

What about my V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate? Will that need to be updated too?

Yes; if your name has changed your V5C will also need to be updated. You can find information on how to do this here.

Will I need to send my passport off with the application?

No. This is only necessary when first applying for a provisional licence (though it is no longer necessary even in this case if you hold a valid biometric UK passport).

I have one of the old-style paper driving licences, is the process still the same?

The process is pretty much the same, except you will also need to send a recent passport-style photo along with the application.


And that completes our guide on how to change the name and/or gender on your driving licence! For more useful tips and the latest news from the driving world, keep checking in with the PassMeFast blog.

By Isobel Robb

Isobel enjoys the freedom of the open road and loves driving to new places. She's here to offer helpful hints and tips to improve your motoring skills. When not keeping up to date with the latest driving info you can find her discovering new restaurants or exhausting her Netflix subscription.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Emmie Prosper

    Thanks Isobel, I really appreciate the clarity of your guidance here. I went through the name change process in 2018 for my driving licence and thought I was done. For some reason my name and title was changed but not the gender marker. It wasn’t until I had to renew my DBS check (I am a counsellor) that a mismatch was flagged between my stated gender (F) and my licence number. I cannot understand how this happened. I will now be submitting a new request to DVLA as you outline. Thanks and best wishes. Emmie

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