Driving licence renewal

Motoring advice

4 January 2023

As a driver, it’s a must to know about driving licence renewal – so if you’re new on the road or just want to know more, our guide’s got you covered. 

Did you know that the photo on your licence must be replaced every 10 years? Luckily there’s a handy date printed on your photocard licence to check this instantly. The DVLA suggests up to two million of these images in the UK are out of date, so be sure to check you’re not one of those. 

The penalties for driving with an expired licence can range up to £1,000, so don’t wait to find out how to renew your identification on UK roads. It costs a lot less to renew, so make a note of the date and avoid being stung by an expired driving licence fine.

In this section:

When to renew your driving licence

Your licence is valid for ten years from the date you initially took it out. Making a note of the driving licence expiry date ahead of time will help you avoid being caught out when the time comes to renew yours. 

In the UK, you will also receive a DVLA licence renewal reminder ahead of this date – ensure that your address is still valid on your photocard and online account to make sure you get this reminder in good time.  

Wondering exactly where is the expiry date on a driving licence? Your photo card’s expiry date is marked next to your photo with the 4b heading.

Ways to apply for your driving licence renewal

Whether you’ve lost your ID card or it’s recently expired, the driving licence renewal/replacement process is similar.

These are the three main ways to apply for driving licence renewal, and also the costs associated.

  • Online: Anyone with a valid UK passport can renew their driving licence online via the Gov.uk website portal
  • Send by post: To send your renewal via a post-box, you need a D1 form which you can get from the post office or DVLA website
  • In person at post office: To send off this form via the Post Office you will pay an additional £4.50 for taking your photo and sending in the application

Cost of licence renewal

In terms of budgeting on the road, driving licence renewal fees are one of the smaller costs you face as a motorist. If you renew online, the DVLA charges £14 and this increases to £17 when you renew by post.

Remember, if you’re stopped by the police and have forgotten to keep your address up to date, you can receive a fine of up to £1,000 so make sure you keep this up to date when changing address.

Driving licence renewal for over 70s

Renewing your driving licence over 70 calls for more regular reminders as you are required by the DVLA to renew your licence every 3 years. 

In terms of how to renew your driving licence at 70, the DVLA’s online process is free for this age group. You can also update your licence ahead of time, as you can renew 3 months before you are 70.

A DVLA eye test for those over 70s is recommended every two years to make sure you still meet the eyesight standards for driving:

  • You are able to read to a standard number plate from 20 metres away – with or without the assistance of glasses.
  • You also have an adequate field of vision and your acuity is at least 0.5 on the Snellen scale – this is tested by reading rows of letters in ascending size.

Renewing a provisional driving licence

If you’re yet to take your driving test and just exploring the UK’s roads for the first time, you may be wondering do provisional licences expire? This type of licence is valid until you turn 70, but it will need to be renewed every ten years from the date of issue (until you pass your test). 

In case of loss or expiry, the cost of renewing a provisional driving licence is £20.

How long does a driving licence renewal take?

If you’re wondering why is my driving licence late, the DVLA suggests that it will take up to 4 weeks to process applications. And, this may take longer when checking medical or personal details.

Where to return your old driving licence?

Once you’ve received your new licence, you’ll need to send your expired ID back to the DVLA. If you’re not sure where to return your old driving licence, the letter that comes with your new licence should tell you, if not a quick search on the internet should bring it up.

Can I still drive when renewing my driving licence?

While you are waiting to receive your replacement licence – UK law states you may still drive providing that you have:

  • Sent your DVLA licence application in the last twelve months
  • Been certified fit to drive by a medical professional
  • Still meet any conditions that your licence may include 
  • Have not been disqualified to drive in court

We hope these helpful tips will make renewing your licence a smooth ride.