How You Replace Your Lost Driving Licence: Step-by-Step Guide

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Losing your driving licence can be quite annoying -- but also worrying if you’re concerned you may have left it in a public place where it might fall into the wrong hands.

Don’t worry: the DVLA has made it easy to get a replacement organised pronto.

6 Tips for Easy Replacing of a Lost Driving Licence

  1. 1

    Ordering a Replacement When Your Licence Is Lost or Damaged

    To get the ball rolling, it is fastest to apply on the Government’s website. Do bear in mind that this service is only for residents in England, Wales and Scotland. If you’re in Northern Ireland, there’s a separate agency you need to use -- and we’ll come to that a little later.

    replacing licence
    Applying for a replacement licence on the Goverment site is quite easy (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency)

    Getting a replacement driving licence costs £20, and most debit and credit cards are accepted. The same steps and costs apply for provisional and full driving licences. If all goes well, you should have a shiny new card within a week or so.

    Here are the details you’re going to need to provide:

    • The addresses where you have lived for the past three years. This will help the DVLA to verify your identity.
    • Your driving licence number. Don’t worry if you don’t know this -- other information such as your passport number or your National Insurance number can also be provided.

    Remember: you cannot follow this process if you are currently disqualified from driving.

  2. 2

    What If Your Photocard Has Been Stolen?

    You should follow the same steps as above, but make sure that you report the theft to the police so they can investigate and give you a crime reference number.

  3. 3

    Other Ways to Make an Application

    -- Give the DVLA a call. If you have a photocard licence and your details haven’t changed from the last time you acquired your licence, you should be able to apply by phone instead if you prefer. Their number is 0300 790 6801, and they’re open Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 7pm, as well as Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. Unfortunately, phone applications cannot be made if your licence has been damaged in any way, or if it is due to expire in the coming eight weeks.

    -- Apply for a replacement by post. You will need to order a form online or acquire one from a nearby Post Office. Remember: to replace a car or motorbike licence, you’re going to need the to fill out the relevant section of a D1 form, while lorry and bus drivers require the D2 form instead. This has all the details of the fees associated with getting a replacement. There can be quite a wait associated with postal applications, and it could be up to 21 days before a new licence arrives.

  4. 4

    What’s the Deal with Photos?

    Assuming you acquired a passport over the past five years, the DVLA uses an electronic copy of the photograph already on file and puts it on your new driving licence.

    Don’t worry if this isn’t the case. During your application, you will be notified if there isn’t a digital image which can be used. In this case, you will need to apply by post and attach a new photo. It will need to have been taken to the same standards as what is expected for passport pictures.

    photo booth in the uk
    You photos must be 45 by 35 mm (the standard size used in photo booths)

  5. 5

    What to Do If You Find Your Lost Driving Licence

    If your driving licence emerges down the back of a sofa after you’ve made your application, or a member of the public returns it to you, all you need to do is write a brief letter to the DVLA explaining how it’s come to be in your possession again.

    This should be sent along with your old photocard to this address: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB.

  6. 6

    How the Process in Northern Ireland Differs

    If you’re in Northern Ireland and your driving licence is lost, stolen or damaged, you need to complete a DL1 application form which can be acquired from Post Offices and selected MOT centres. Applications cannot be made online.

    post office in Northern Ireland
    Even the smallest local post office should have DL1 forms available

    If you do have any remaining part of your licence -- such as the paper component -- this should be included along with the application and sent to the following address: Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), Castlerock Road, Waterside, Coleraine, BT51 3TB.

    You should attach a new photograph if you look different to the image which adorned your old licence, and your replacement licence will arrive within three weeks.

    Unfortunately, you’re going to face a heftier fee than motorists in the rest of the UK, as it’s £30 in Northern Ireland compared to £20 on the mainland.

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