MVA Now Allows Apostrophes, Hyphens on Licenses, ID Cards


GLEN BURNIE, Md.—After many decades of not allowing apostrophes or hyphens on MVA-issued driver licenses or identification cards due to computer compatibility issues, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration modified their computer systems in 2010 to allow customers to have their names corrected and spelled with an apostrophe or hyphen.

MVA Administrator John Kuo said the agency is again publicizing the change because they heard that many of their customers were not aware that their information could be changed. For customers who wish to have their names corrected and spelled with an apostrophe or hyphen at the time of their next renewal, MVA will make the correction with the proper documentation, such as a birth certificate, Social Security Card or valid passport.

The long-standing practice of not printing apostrophes on a driver’s license or identification card had been in place since the driver license process became computerized back in the late 1970s. Because MVA computers had to interface with external computer systems, apostrophes and hyphenated names created verification issues with other computer systems across the country. In mid-2010, MVA began allowing the apostrophes when computers became more sophisticated and allowed the use of non-letters.

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