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Renewing Your Photo Driving Licence Every 10 Years

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 22 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Dvla Photo Licence Licence Renewal

Every day, thousands of UK drivers are facing the threat of prosecution without even realising that they are doing anything wrong. Could you be one of them?

Am I doing something wrong?

If you didn't know that you need to renew your photocard driving licence after 10 years, then you may well be one of the more than 40,000 drivers across the UK who are breaking the law – many of whom are doing so unwittingly.

My licence is valid until I’m 70 – isn’t it?

Many motorists believe that their photocard - like the old style green paper licences - are valid right up until they turn 70. In actual fact, they expire after a relatively short ten year period.

I didn’t know this – does it say it on the card?

It’s thought that many motorists are being caught out because the small print about licence renewal is exactly that – very small print. It’s tucked away on the back of the photocard under the section named ‘4b’. To find out what section ‘4b’ pertains to, the driver has to check the even smaller print on the reverse of the card, and when they do, they’ll see that it refers to a photocard ‘valid to’ date, which will be 10 years from the date of issue. The DVLA have sent out reminders to everyone who needs to get their photocard licences renewed but it seems that people aren't reading them or don't understand what is being asked of them. This could be because confusingly, next to the 'valid to' date, is another date which is the day before the driver turns 70 years old, and this is the date when the actual driving licence expires – not the photocard.

What do I have to do to get my photocard renewed?

To get your photocard renewal, you have 3 options:
  1. Renew online
  2. Rewew by post
  3. Renew at a Post Office

1. Renewing by Post

To renew your licence by post you need to take the following steps :
If you have had a renewal application pack (should arrive approximately 2 months before your licence is due to run out) then you should:
  • Complete the form as detailed in the pack
  • Include a new passport style photo taken within the last 30 days. You don't need to get this signed.
  • Return the photocard and the paper counterpart of your driving licence
  • Enclose a cheque or postal order for £20.00 (unless you have a medical short period licence or you are aged over 70 in which case it is free)
When you have completed the application form, send it to the DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DH.

If you haven't received the renewal pack then you need to get a D1 form from the Post Office or from the DVLA online form ordering service (link at the end of this article). The form name is 'Application for a Driving Licence'.

2. Renewing online

You can also renew online for the same fee. It's very easy to do simply visit the government website and follow the steps (link at the end of this article). To renew online, you will need:
  • The renewal form you received from the DVLA and your Driving Licence details
  • Your passport details (the DVLA will attempt to retrieve your photo image and signature from your passport)
  • Your passport must have been renewed within the past five years to do this
  • Means of payment by debit or credit card
Once you've completed the online process save the reference number and/or a screenshot of the the final screen. You will be sent an email confirmation too. Usually - you will receive your licence within 2 to 3 weeks.

3. At the post office

You can also renew your photocard licence with your reminder (mentioned above) at participating Post Offices for an additional fee.

For more information visit the Direct Gov website.

So can I drive while my licence is renewed?

According to a DVLA spokesman, qualified drivers are still entitled to drive a vehicle if their licence has expired, but what they must be aware of is that they could be charged with the offence of failing to renew their licence. If the matter went to court, then the motorist could end up with a £1,000 fine. The spokesman went on to say that the reason photocard licences needed to be renewed every ten years was because people's faces would change over that period, so updates are essential.

What happens if I have an accident in the meantime?

You may find that if your photo card has expired, then your insurance company may refuse to pay up for any claims you make. If this happens, you will be able to appeal, and if your photocard is being processed then you will usually be ok. However, it will often come down to the insurance company themselves and what their policies are in this type of situation. If you were involved in a bump, you would still be covered for third party claims, regardless of whether or not your photocard was still in date.

Re-applying for driver's licence

If you have been disqualified from driving and need to re-apply for your driving licence, read our article on this site which explains exactly what you need to do.

More on the photo licence?

We've produced a complete guide, to renewing your photo licence here.

Useful External links:

The licence renewal page on the government website.

The DVLA online form ordering service.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi, I am currently abroad. I attempted to renew my licence before I left the UK however they said it was too early. My licance has now expired. When I return to the UK I will send my licance off to be renewed first thing. Will I be able to drive or do I need to wait until my new licance has arrived? Thanks
Esther - 22-Feb-18 @ 12:21 PM
Hi my licence has expired however i dont drive do i need to renew it.
Grange - 21-Feb-18 @ 12:39 PM
The issue date on my licence is 2010 but it said the renewal date was 2017. I thought I had 10 years. Why is this?
Lee - 14-Feb-18 @ 2:31 PM
teddy9 - Your Question:
I am unable to find my photo licence bit I think it has expired I have the paper part but it is for my old address do I send the paper part with the d1 form with my new address and put it as lost or stolen or as a renewal thanks

Our Response:
If you're not sure whether your photo card licence has actually expired or not, just do it as a Change of address
YourDrivingLicence - 26-Jan-18 @ 2:23 PM
I am unable to find my photo licence bit i think it has expired i have the paper part but it is for my old address do i send the paper part with the d1 form with my new address and put it as lost or stolen or as a renewalthanks
teddy9 - 24-Jan-18 @ 1:40 PM
Hi I am asking for a friend, she is living aboard at present. Her driving licence is going to expired next month, she is 69 and not been driving for long time. Do she need to renew her photo card? If she need to renew how can she renew? If she not renew will she be fine .
piggy - 18-Jan-18 @ 6:35 PM
dear , sir / madam, my dvla licence expired i cant do online and i didnt received reminder letter from dvla i moved from my old address londonto west yorkshire,my nationality is pakistani. please inform me how i will do that.thank you
kazmi - 22-Dec-17 @ 3:19 PM
al - Your Question:
My photo has run out and my license expires on my 70th in a few weeks time. I no longer drive but want t keep the license for ID. Is there a regulation that says I MUST return the expired licence to the DVLA even if I no longer drive?

Our Response:
You are supposed to return the old licence if you're not planning on renewing it. Whether the DVLA will actually write to you and ask you for it is unlikely though.
YourDrivingLicence - 18-Dec-17 @ 11:22 AM
My photo has run out and my license expires on my 70th in a few weeks time. I no longer drive but want t keep the license for ID. Is there a regulation that says I MUST return the expired licence to the DVLA even if I no longer drive?
al - 15-Dec-17 @ 12:42 PM
DRIVER AV - Your Question:
Why is the system not allowing me to register online? I have a valid UK passport. I have lived overseas at a BFPO address for the last few years. Does this affect me not being able to apply online?

Our Response:
We're not sure as we're not the DVLA, but it could have something to do with your not having a current UK address?
YourDrivingLicence - 11-Dec-17 @ 11:11 AM
Why is the system not allowing me to register online?I have a valid UK passport.I have lived overseas at a BFPO address for the last few years.Does this affect me not being able to apply online?
DRIVER AV - 10-Dec-17 @ 6:10 AM
Can I change address and renew at same time. Thanks
JB - 21-Nov-17 @ 6:35 PM
Alex - Your Question:
My wife has lost her photocard license, but we suspect it is also soon due to expire. Filling out the D1 form I see I would have to return the original if I wanted to choose the option of renewal. But if I choose the option of replacing a lost card does that mean the replacement will still have the same expiry date?

Our Response:
You don't always have to return the original. It may be simpler to just renew it.
YourDrivingLicence - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:24 PM
My wife has lost her photocard license, but we suspect it is also soon due to expire. Filling out the D1 form I see I would have to return the original if I wanted to choose the option of renewal. But if I choose the option of replacing a lost card does that mean the replacement will still have the same expiry date?
Alex - 13-Oct-17 @ 9:54 PM
Hels - Your Question:
I have not driven for a few years. My licence has expired and it is in my maiden name. Can I apply for a new licence and change the name at the same time if I send my passport as proof?

Our Response:
Has your licence expired or just the photocard part? Yes you should be able to renew and name change at the same time. Your passport or marriage certificate should be sufficient.
YourDrivingLicence - 29-Sep-17 @ 10:10 AM
I have not driven for a few years. My licence has expired and it is in my maiden name. Can I apply for a new licence and change the name at the same time if I send my passport as proof?
Hels - 27-Sep-17 @ 6:41 AM
My driving licence is due to expire in a few days. I no longer reside in the UK. Is it compulsory to renew my lisence from overseas, can renew later if I decide to return in a few years time or will I need to do the driving theory and practical tests again?
Ram - 14-Sep-17 @ 8:49 AM
Chael - Your Question:
I passed my test back in 1994 and was issued with a full licence. I drove until about 2003 when I got married and then haven't driven since and have lost my old licence that was in my maiden name. I have tried to find my old licence online so I can renew as would like to start driving again but can't find info of it. Can I renew my licence and start driving again or would I need to retake my test?

Our Response:
If the DVLA cannot find you on their system, you may need to re-apply unfortunately. Contact them giving your maiden name and any previous address, together with your date of birth etc. If details can be found, you should not need to re-take the test.
YourDrivingLicence - 12-Sep-17 @ 10:50 AM
I passed my test back in 1994 and was issued with a full licence. I drove until about 2003 when I got married and then haven't driven since and have lost my old licence that was in my maiden name. I have tried to find my old licence online so i can renew as would like to start drivingagain but can't find info of it. Can I renew my licence and start driving again or would I need to retake my test?
Chael - 10-Sep-17 @ 6:08 AM
Lol - Your Question:
I have a car licence with other entitlements on it, D1 , Car and Caravan etc. because I passed my test in 1974. My question is which form do I need to use, and will I still keep all my driving entitlements

Our Response:
You shouldn't lost entitlements but there have been cases where people have renewed (especially at the age of 70 renewal period) online and found that the additional entitlements haven't been included. Just double check when you get your card.
YourDrivingLicence - 22-Aug-17 @ 11:14 AM
I have a car licence with other entitlements on it, D1 , Car and Caravan etc. because I passed my test in 1974. My question is which form do I need to use, and will I still keep all my driving entitlements
Lol - 19-Aug-17 @ 4:57 PM
Beney - Your Question:
I have 're newed my driving licence can you please tell me the full address and dept to send the old one back.Kind regards Ryan Beney

Our Response:
Yes return it to:
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1ZW.
YourDrivingLicence - 16-Aug-17 @ 11:03 AM
max - Your Question:
I renew my license thru post office and they took my old one and I am waiting for my new license am I allowed to drive now?

Our Response:
Yes as long as there are no potential medical conditions etc that will prevent its renewal.
YourDrivingLicence - 15-Aug-17 @ 12:15 PM
I have 're newed my driving licence can you please tell me the full address and dept to send the old one back. Kind regards Ryan Beney
Beney - 14-Aug-17 @ 9:20 AM
i renew my license thru post office and they took my old one and i am waiting for my new license am i allowed to drive now?
max - 13-Aug-17 @ 2:19 PM
Espearl - Your Question:
Hi,I hope I could get some advice on renewing my driving licence.I recently got married and this has not yet been updated on my passport and now I need to renew my driving license. Considering changing these details on my passport will take some time, would it be possible to renew my driving licence with my married title without my passport details? or could I renew my passport as it was previously and change the marriage status later on once my passport is updated?

Our Response:
Has the name on your licence already been changed? You might be able to do this online anyway, even though your passport has not been updated. Alternatively the DLVA might just ask you to apply via post with two photos, so it's probably worth giving them a call. Changing your passport details doesn't take long, so waiting until your passport is changed is probably a perfectly viable option too!
YourDrivingLicence - 27-Jun-17 @ 12:01 PM
Hi, I hope I could get some advice on renewing my driving licence. I recently got married and this has not yet been updated on my passport and now i need to renew my driving license. Considering changing these details on my passport will take some time, would it be possible to renew my driving licence with my married title without my passport details? or could i renew my passport as it was previously and change the marriage status later on once my passport is updated?
Espearl - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:41 PM
Chrissie - Your Question:
My daughter got a letter sent to my house which states that if she doesn't renew her driving licence she will get a fine of £1000 because it's been more than 10 years since she had one.She has only ever had a provisional licence which she used in order to have ID. She has never driven or even taken lessons.Does she really have to renew it regardless? She no longer needs it for ID since she is in her 30's. She left home some time ago and the letter states that I should destroy the letter if that is the case.Seems a bit harsh though, that I should destroy a letter which may mean she can get a fine for not realizing she is supposed to renew it.It doesn't state in the letter that she will get a fine if she drives without renewing it, just that she will get a fine if she does not renew it.

Our Response:
Pass it on to your daughter to respond to. She should write to/call the DVLA simply stating that she no longer wants a provisional licence. It could well be a "blip" on the DVLA systems.
YourDrivingLicence - 19-Jun-17 @ 10:19 AM
My daughter got a letter sent to my house which states that if she doesn't renew her driving licence she will get a fine of £1000 because it's been more than 10 years since she had one. She has only ever had a provisional licence which she used in order to have ID. She has never driven or even taken lessons. Does she really have to renew it regardless? She no longer needs it for ID since she is in her 30's. She left home some time ago and the letter states that I should destroy the letter if that is the case. Seems a bit harsh though, that I should destroy a letter which may mean she can get a fine for not realizing she is supposed to renew it. It doesn't state in the letter that she will get a fine if she drives without renewing it, just that she will get a fine if she does not renew it.
Chrissie - 15-Jun-17 @ 8:01 AM
Can I still ride a moped on a provisional if it's being renewed?
Pip - 7-Jun-17 @ 5:32 PM
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