Under current government legislation, you will need to renew your photocard driving licence once every 10 years. If you’re in any doubt as to what the expiry date is, you can check your current photocard (and the paper component if you’re in Northern Ireland) for the date that your driving licence expires.
The DVSA will make every effort to get in touch, normally by post, to remind you that it’s time to renew your driving licence. This is why the agency is so insistent that they are informed of any changes to your address well in advance.
These days, most changes to the driving licence — including renewals — can be made effortlessly through the the Government’s website.
Choose the Government’s website for a simplified procedure
Using the application form provided here, all you need to do is enter your addresses over the past three years, your National Insurance number and your passport details. It costs £14, and the new licence is posted to you within just seven days. You can pay using your debit card or credit card using their secure service.
Once all of this has been completed, you will be provided with an address where your old driving licence should be sent. After applying, the DVSA will send a confirmation to your email address.
In order to speed things up (and if your passport has been issued fairly recently), the photograph and signature which you provided during your passport application will be replicated on your new photocard driving licence.
Unfortunately, you will need to apply by post if you are attempting to renew a driving licence for larger vehicles such as buses and lorries — or if your full name has changed, perhaps through marriage or a civil partnership.
If you prefer, you can find a Post Office which deals with photocard renewals instead. You will need to do a little bit of research, as not all branches are able to offer this service. It does cost a little more — £21.50 to be exact — and you will need to take your old driving licence and the reminder letter sent by the DVSA with you. Again, you cannot use this method if you need to change your name on your next photocard.
Choose the branch which provides renewals
If you’re applying by post, you can also get the relevant D1 forms from most post Offices. After applying at a Post Office, your driving licence can take up to 3 weeks to arrive. If medical or personal details need to be verified, it may take longer.
Once you have acquired the D1 pack of forms, either by ordering online or visiting your Post Office, you should fill out the relevant sections and pop them in an envelope. Also include a recent photo taken to the same standard as passport pictures, your old licence, and a cheque for £17 that’s payable to the DVSA.
If your name has changed, you will also need to provide identity documents which can help verify this if you haven’t got a biometric passport. Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate, your decree nisi in the event of a divorce, or a deed poll will be sufficient.
Do bear in mind that photocopies are not accepted — but rest assured that these documents will be returned to you in reasonable time. That said, if you need are going to need the documents in question within a one-month period, you might want to consider seeking an alternative or delaying the application if possible.
In rare cases where the DVSA can’t check your identity through Her Majesty’s Passport Office, you may need to get someone to sign your form and photograph. Although it needs to be someone who has known you in a personal capacity for at least two years, they can’t be related to you or live at your address.
Good examples of someone to ask may include a police officer, a vicar, a teacher, a local business person or a civil servant — essentially, someone who is an upstanding member of your community. The DVSA can provide further guidance if you need it.
The address for sending postal applications is as follows:
There are no costs associated with renewing your driving licence if you are a British pensioner who is aged 70 and over. This, in part, is because you are expected to renew your licence far more frequently — every three years instead of every 10. With each application, you are going to need to demonstrate that you satisfy the minimum eyesight requirements for driving safely on the UK’s roads.
As with all other affairs pertaining to driving licences, there is no way to apply online in Northern Ireland. Because of this, you will need to fill out a DL1R form, return your licence, and provide a new photograph which has been signed and dated by a local professional.
It costs £20, and it can take up to four weeks before your new licence is sent to you. Occasionally, there can be backlogs which means there are further delays before your new documents are delivered.
Here’s the address for sending renewal applications in Northern Ireland:
Driver Licensing Enquiries
Yes, you can still renew your driving licence after it expires. Keep in mind that it can take up to 1 week for your licence to arrive so make sure to renew before your licence expires or you can face a number of issues including fines and having your car impounded. After receiving your new licence you are required to send your old photocard licence to the DVSA. Also, be aware that your new licence will be valid from the date that your application is approved and will not be backdated to the date your licence expired.
No. It is illegal to drive with an expired licence. You must renew your photocard licence every 10 years. The reason your photocard licence needs to be updated is that the appearance of the licence may change in that time period. It is important for police and other enforcement agencies to be able to identify the licence holder correctly and prevent driving licence impersonation.
It is illegal to drive without a valid licence. While reminders may be sent out by the DVLA, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that your driver’s licence is current. Keep in mind that if you are caught driving on an expired licence it could result in a fine up to £1000 and three to six points on your licence. In addition to any fines that may be imposed, your car can be seized which may lead to impound fees that you will need to pay to have your car released.
The fee to renew your licence depends on the circumstance of your renewal. To renew an expired driving licence the cost is £14 if you renew online and £17 if you renew by post. If you are over 70 years of age your renewal cost is free whether you apply online or by post. Keep in mind that after the age of 70, you will need to renew your licence every 3 years.
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