All individuals applying for a first time Maryland Driver’s License, Learner’s Permit or Identification card must present proof of identity and residency. There are 2 types of products that are issued:
Federally Compliant Product: A driver's license /identification card that is acceptable by federal agencies for certain official purposes. Proof of lawful status in the U.S. is required.
Non-Compliant Product: A driver's license/identification card for immigrants presenting foreign issued documentation without valid U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation. This type of product is not acceptable by federal agencies and may not be used to purchase firearms.
Exceptions: There are certain cases to which an applicant may not be able to obtain the items that are listed under either of the Compliant or Non-Compliant lists, or need additional documentation; Example: Individuals born abroad to U.S. citizens, or adopted by U.S. Citizens.
All identification cards, new driver's learner's permits, and all new federally non-compliant drivers’ licenses are mailed to your Maryland mailing address on file.
Additional Information Regarding Document Sources:
The source document(s) must be:
- The original;
- A Certified copy; or
- A true test copy from the issuing agency.
- If multiple pages, all pages must be present.
- Photocopies, notarized copies, and documents with alterations, erasures, and tears are NOT acceptable.
- If the document is damaged, or overly worn (cannot be authenticated), the applicant may be required to obtain a replacement document.
Full Legal Name
Maryland requires an applicant's full legal name (no initials or nicknames).
- If the name on the identity source is different from the current full legal name, supporting documentation is required (e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree, certified court order of name change).
- Your Social Security card must match the name used for your driver’s license/ID card.
- If there are discrepancies or mismatches in the name as used on the documents, the applicant may be required to obtain additional or corrected documentation.
- If a previous Maryland resident returns to Maryland with a different name, supporting document is required to cross-reference the names (eg: marriage license, divorce decree, certified court order of a name change).
- The use of an apostrophe (') or a hyphen (-) in a person’s name is permitted.
The MVA will only accept a marriage certificate that has been certified and issued by a jurisdiction's proper government authority:
- The Department of Vital Records/Statistics; or
- The local or state court system.
Certified copies of the marriage certificate must be presented if a name change is requested.
- Minor applicants under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is responsible for cosigning the minor's application. No proof of Maryland Residency is required if the co-signer has a Maryland Driver’s License/ ID Card.
- The cosigner must provide acceptable proof of relationship to the minor. Examples of acceptable documentation to prove relationship may be:
- Birth certificate
- Court order
- Current tax return that shows dependency
- Health insurance card or policy
- Certificate, Decree or Declaration of Adoption
C. When a minor is assigned to the custody or guardianship of a local Department of Social Services (DSS), including those in foster care, the director of DSS or the director's designee is the authorized co-signer of the minor. Even if DSS has limited guardianship.
- In addition to identity requirements, the DSS director or designee should provide the following:
- Original (with seal) court document reflecting that the minor is under the custody of the DSS.
- The DSS employee's state identification card (work ID.) A driver's license is not required.
If an applicant for a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or ID card is a minor, and was adopted, the adoption papers must be presented to prove relationship of the cosigner of a minor’s application.
If the applicant was born abroad and adopted by U.S. Citizens, the identity documents may vary. The applicant may present:
- A Maryland Birth Certificate (issued to adopted individuals) with:
- Adoption Certificate, Adoption Decree, or Adoption Declaration: OR
- Other U.S. State or Territory Birth Certificate (amended, or created for the same purpose Maryland creates a birth certificate for adopted individuals) with:
- Adoption Certificate, Adoption Decree, or Adoption Declaration: OR
- Valid, unexpired U.S. Passport; OR
- U.S. Certificate of Citizenship.
- The adoption records are required when presenting a Maryland (or other US State) birth certificate for someone born abroad to be used as proof of lawful status.
- The records are not required when a US Passport or US Certificate of Citizenship is presented, however, proof of relationship is still required; Therefore the adoption records or any of the other sources listed in the Minor's section above may be presented.
- To obtain a Maryland Birth Certificate for adopted individuals (including those born abroad and adopted by U.S. citizens) contact the Maryland Division of Vital Records at 410-764-3052. Website: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- If the adoption records/documents are in a language other than English, the original translation done at the time of the official adoption is acceptable. If there is no translation, a translation may be obtained by:
Exceptions related to proof of identity and date of birth:
If the applicant was born prior to June 1, 1939 and is unable to provide the source documents listed under Age/Identity (for reasons beyond their control), the MVA may accept:
- An original discharge document from the military with the applicant's name and date of birth; or
- A statement on Social Security Administration letterhead, indicating the applicant's name and date of birth.
Exceptions to the residency requirements may apply:
1. An inmate or former inmate, the MVA may accept:
- An order of parole; or
- Order of mandatory release, or
- An address certification issued by the MD MVA, signed by a Department of Public Safety official, and dated within 60 days of release.
2. Homeless or a resident of a nursing home, the MVA will accept: certification from nursing homes or homeless service providers (on letterhead of home/provider).
3. A dependent (may be of any age: minor, college student, elderly parent): The MVA may accept a certified statement (MVA form DL202) from the parent or guardian, signed in the presence of a MVA official.
a. Proof of relationship AND dependency are required if applicant is not a minor. Examples of documents to prove relationship and dependency (these are examples, if you have other items that you would like for the MVA to consider, present them at the time of application):
- Federal or MD income tax filing, not more than 18 months old
- Military ID card that lists the dependent
- Health insurance policy/card that lists the dependent
- Letter on official letterhead from a school (identifying student and parents/guardians)
b. Proof of relationship only required for minors (dependency not required):
- Birth certificate (as long as parents’ names are listed)
- Certificate/Decree/Declaration of Adoption(as long as parents’ names are listed)
- Guardianship papers
- Certified school records
- Medical records
You may also visit our Online Document Guide to guide you through our list of acceptable documents.