How to renew a driving licence?

It is a simple chore we need to do once every ten years, so it is an easy process to forget about! However, renewing your driving licence is an essential legal responsibility. Not to mention that you can face a fine of £1,000 for driving with an expired licence.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about when and how to renew your driving licence.

How to renew a driving licence?

How often do I need to renew my photocard licence?

You must renew your photocard licence every ten years. You should receive a reminder from the DVLA before the expiration date if you have supplied them with an up-to-date address.

Where do I find the expiration date on my licence?

The relevant dates you need are on the front of your photocard licence, numbered as section 4.

The date displayed in section 4a is the date you were issued the photocard licence.

The date shown in section 4b is the date you must renew your photocard licence.  

How do I renew my driving licence?

There are three different ways to renew your driving licence. These are either by post, through the Post Office or online.

Depending on your choice of renewal method, you will need different documents, and the costs will vary.

How do I renew my driving licence online?

To renew your licence online, you will need the following documentation:

  • A valid UK passport
  • The addresses of anywhere you have resided for the last three years
  • Your current driving licence
  • Your National Insurance number

The cost of applying online for your renewal is £14.00. You can pay this via MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card. 

However, if you are over 70 or have a medical short period licence, then there is no charge.

You also need to be a resident of Great Britain to renew online. If you live in Northern Ireland, then there is an alternative service.

You will receive an email from the DVLA once you complete and submit your online application. Your new licence is valid from the date the DVLA approve your submission, not the expiry date of your former licence.

How do I renew my driving licence through the Post Office?

To renew your licence at a Post Office, you should take your reminder letter to a Post Office that deals with photocard renewals.

You will also need to take:

  • Your current photocard licence
  • Payment for the £21.50 fee

If you have not received a reminder letter, then your existing photocard licence will suffice.

How do I renew my driving licence via post?

You can apply to renew your photocard driving licence through the post by using a D1 application pack. The D1 forms are available from your local Post Office.

To complete the D1 forms, you will also need:

  • A recent passport photo. However, you do not need to sign the back
  • Your current photocard licence
  • A cheque or postal order to cover the £17.00 fee, made payable to the DVLA. However, if you are over 70 or have a medical short period licence, then there is no charge.

How long does it take to receive my new driving licence?

The time it will take to receive your new licence depends on your method of application.

If you apply online, your new licence should be posted to you within seven working days. If you apply through the Post Office or via the postal service, then it could take around three weeks to receive your new photocard.

However, if you have medical conditions or if your details need to be verified, then it could take longer.

I am over 70 years of age. How do I renew my driving licence?

Renew your driving licence for free if you are over 70 years of age. You can also apply for free if you are 70 years of age within 90 days of your application.

You can apply to renew your licence either online or by post. Those over 70 must renew their licence every three years.

I am over 70 years of age. How do I apply to renew my licence online?

You can renew your licence online if your current British licence has expired or is going to expire within 90 days. Your new licence should arrive within one week following your online application.

You will need to meet specific requirements, and these are:

  • For this type of application, you must be 70 years of age or turning 70 within 90 days of your submission
  • You must be a resident of Great Britain. If you live in Northern Ireland, then there is an alternative service. You must meet the minimum eyesight requirements
  • You must confirm that you are not prevented from driving for any reason

Before applying online for the first time, you will need to register for the service. To register online, you will need:

  • An email address
  • The addresses of anywhere you have lived in the previous three years
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • A valid UK passport number

Once you have applied, the DVLA will send you an email confirmation of your application.

I am over 70 years of age. How do I apply to renew my licence via post?

To apply via the post, you will need a D46P application form. You will receive this form from the DVLA 90 days before your 70th birthday.

If you do not receive the form, or the DVLA do not have a current address for you, then you will need to use the D1 application form. The D1 application form is available from most Post Offices.

Do I need to renew my provisional driving licence?

A provisional licence permits you to drive a car, moped or motorbike if you are not yet old enough to have a driving licence. To obtain your initial provisional licence, you must:

  • Be at least 15 years and nine months old
  • Have good eyesight
  • Be able to provide a UK address
  • Adhere to the provisional licence restrictions. These include being accompanied by an appropriate adult and displaying L plates.  

Your provisional licence will last until the day of your 70th birthday, but you will also need to renew it every ten years. So you have plenty of time to pass your test if needed!

The provisional licence renewal method is the same as renewing a full licence. To renew online, you must:

  • Have a valid UK passport and your expired driving licence to hand
  • Be a resident of Great Britain. If you live in Northern Ireland, then there is an alternative service
  • Pay a £14 renewal fee
  • Provide the addresses of any places you have lived in the last three years
  • Not be disqualified from driving for any reason

When applying online, you should allow one week for delivery of your photocard licence. Therefore if you need the licence to sit your theory or practical test, ensure that you allow plenty of time when renewing. Have it in-hand before booking!

How do I supply a photo for my photocard licence renewal application? 

If you are applying online, you will require a valid UK passport. This is because the DVLA will take a photograph and signature from your passport to use on your new licence. If you do not have a valid UK passport, then you cannot renew your licence online.

To renew your driving licence by post using the D1 form you need a passport-style photograph. You must ensure that your photo meets the requirements, or it can delay your application.

For an extra fee of £4.50 your Post Office branch will also take your photo, check your application and return it securely to the DVLA.

For guidance on how to supply an acceptable passport-style photograph, you can refer to the HM Passport Office guidance advice.

Can I continue driving while my license renewal application is pending?

If you have applied to renew your licence late, then your current licence may expire while you are awaiting receipt of your new one. Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act means that you may be allowed to continue driving even though you do not hold a current valid driving licence.

To legally continue driving under Section 88, while your application is pending, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • There must be no medical reason for you not to drive. Your doctor must have told you that you are fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  • You must have already held a valid driving licence
  • The types of vehicle you have applied to drive on your new licence must match the types of vehicle you held on your previous licence
  • If you hold a Group 2 licence, then your entitlement must not have been suspended, revoked, or refused
  • You must meet all conditions specified on your previous licence that still apply
  • The DVLA must have received a correct and complete application renewal from you within the last 12 months
  • Your licence must not have been revoked or refused for medical reasons
  • You must not currently be disqualified from driving by the Courts
  • You must not be disqualified as a high-risk offender on or after the 1st June 2013

What happens if I forget to renew my photocard driving licence?

It is illegal to drive using an expired licence. You must renew your photocard licence every ten years. The reason for this is that your appearance can change. A current photograph needs to be used to identify you and prevent driving licence impersonation easily.

While the DVLA will try and send you a reminder, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure your licence is valid and current.

If you are found driving on an expired licence, then you could receive a fine of £1,000 and 6 points. Your vehicle could also be seized and impounded, which means additional costs.

What about renewing my licence if I still have a paper driving licence?

If your driving licence was issued before 1998, then you may still have a paper licence. If you have a paper licence, then you do not need to worry about renewing every ten years.

You also do not have to change your licence to a photocard one legally. On the provision that your paper licence is still valid and all your details are the same, then you can continue using it.

However, you may need to exchange your paper licence for a photocard licence if:

  • You change your name or address
  • If your licence has been damaged, lost or stolen
  • If you are getting a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

To change your paper licence for a photocard, it will cost £20, and you can do this online or through the Post Office.

What about driving licence renewals and the effects of Coronavirus?

Drivers with a photocard licence due to expire between the 1st February 2020 and the 31st August 2020 will be granted an automatic 7-month extension.

The 7-month extension will run from the date of expiry, meaning that drivers can continue making their essential journey’s without having to obtain a new photograph for the renewal process.

Those drivers falling into this category do not need to do anything; the extension happens automatically. The drivers will also be sent a reminder to renew before the 7-month extension ends. They will then need to renew their licence in the usual way.

Key Takeaway

In normal circumstances, renewing your photocard driving licence can be an easy and straightforward job to tick off your to-do list.

However, it can also be easy to get caught out. Have you been stopped for driving on an expired licence? Are you confused about your legal rights to drive? If so, then do not delay. Get in touch with one of our motoring solicitors today.

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