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Renewing Your Photo Driving Licence Every 10 Years

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 24 Sep 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 looking for advice The photo card of my license expjted in 2011 however I have been living abroad for 10 years I wasn't aware that the photo card expired and I will be returning to the U.K. Please could you advise the status of what I will need to do Regards
Butterfly grace - 24-Sep-18 @ 8:54 PM
Hi, my driving licence says it expires on 12.2.19 but in 4a says it was valid from 23.9.15.This is not 10 years is it because my photo expires?
Skater - 17-Sep-18 @ 7:49 PM
I got pulled over an the officer told me my license was expired. An I asked how can that be cause I just renewed my license by mail in the year 2015 an my new one expires in 2020.
M.mccloud - 7-Sep-18 @ 11:42 PM
I passed in 2014 but my licence says it’s due to expire in Jan 2019, why only 5 years? Is this a mistake?
Claire - 29-Aug-18 @ 4:06 PM
What if your license is being renewed for the photo card and I need some evidence to prove I have a license to be able to rent a vehicle? How do I obtain this evidence
Wilh06 - 20-Aug-18 @ 7:14 PM
Confused - Your Question:
I have had a letter reminding me to renew my driving license, however I have only ever held a provisional license as I was going to learn to drive but in the end did not take lessons so have never held a full license. I am confused as to what I am supposed to do as the letter is telling me I could be liable for a fine etc. if I don't renew but obviously, I can't. I am assuming that this is a standard letter that is sent out but there seems to be no information in the letter that tells me who to speak/contact to inform. Does anyone know what action I should take? I am bothered that surely there should be a record that I haven't held a full license. Thank you

Our Response:
If you want to keep your provisional licence, you will need to renew this along with your photo after 10 years.
YourDrivingLicence - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:51 PM
Pam - Your Question:
My licence has expired, but I will not be driving again, due to car expenses and not having a car. What do I do with my old license.

Our Response:
You can keep hold of your licence - you do not need to surrender it unless you have a medical reason for doing so.
YourDrivingLicence - 14-Aug-18 @ 11:24 AM
My licence has expired, but I will not be driving again, due to car expenses and not having a car. What do I do with my old license.
Pam - 13-Aug-18 @ 8:34 PM
Matt - Your Question:
I have a UK driving licence for which the photo expires in March 2019. I have my licence with me here in Canada, where I currently live. I am not due to return to the UK until June 2019. I am allowed to drive in Canada until December 2018 without converting my licence, but have no need or intention to drive here beyond that time. That said, will I still be obliged to renew my licence in March 2019 or is it possible for me to wait until I return to the UK 3 months later?

Our Response:
You can wait until you return as the DVLA system has trouble handling non-UK addresses.
YourDrivingLicence - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:40 AM
I have a UK driving licence for which the photo expires in March 2019. I have my licence with me here in Canada, where I currently live. I am not due to return to the UK until June 2019. I am allowed to drive in Canada until December 2018 without converting my licence, but have no need or intention to drive here beyond that time. That said, will I still be obliged to renew my licence in March 2019 or is it possible for me to wait until I return to the UK 3 months later?
Matt - 11-Aug-18 @ 8:44 PM
Hi could you help me please I have a provisionallicencethat ran out in 2011as I lost the form with my licence in as it was ready to send of to be renewed..clearing out some old paper work I found it can I still get it done as all I need to do is redo my photo
Tiger7 - 6-Aug-18 @ 2:19 PM
I have had a letter reminding me to renew my driving license, however I have only ever held a provisional license as I was going to learn to drive but in the end did not take lessons so have never held a full license. I am confused as to what I am supposed to do as the letter is telling me I could be liable for a fine etc. if I don't renew but obviously, I can't. I am assuming that this is a standard letter that is sent out but there seems to be no information in the letter that tells me who to speak/contact to inform. Does anyone know what action I should take? I am bothered that surely there should be a record that I haven't held a full license. Thank you
Confused - 2-Aug-18 @ 4:04 PM
I got married in March 2018.I will change my name in October with the passport office after I have returned from overseas, I am due to go overseas in approximately 17 days.I have just received a Reminder letter from the DVLA that my license expires in early September.I need to send my marriage certificate to show proof of new name to the DVLA.This will then mean my passport name and my driving license name will not be the same while driving overseas.Is this legal if I am stopped by the UK or overseas Police?
PF - 27-Jul-18 @ 6:11 PM
Hi, I'm in the process of renewing my photo driving licence. My passport is out of date. I am 65. What can I provide the DVLA instead with my postal form as proof of who I am? Eu
Eu - 18-Jul-18 @ 8:28 AM
Hello.WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO RENEW LICENSE ONLINE FOR UNDER 70. THERE IS NO PROVISION EASILY FOUND. HELP US PLEASE
Yos - 18-Jul-18 @ 5:54 AM
My hubby is hgv driver. He sent his licence back for renewal and its not come back as he missed a box on the form. can he still drive
Cjayy - 16-Jul-18 @ 4:39 PM
How early can you apply for the renewal ahead of expiry?
Sk - 4-Jul-18 @ 7:16 PM
Billy - Your Question:
Hi, I applied for a photo card license when I had lost my paper one.I am now living abroad and my photo-card license has expired but I have found my old paper one which states on it that it is valid until I am 70.Am I correct to assume that my original paper license is still valid and can be used for hiring cars etc? With Thanks for your reply

Our Response:
You haven't said when you first got your licence. Here's the government information - the paper counterpart to a driving licence has had no legal status since 8 June 2015. You should destroy yours if you have one, but keep your photocard driving licence. If you have a paper driving licence issued before 31 March 2000 it is valid. Do not destroy your licence. When you update your name or address, or renew your licence, you’ll only get a photocard licence.
YourDrivingLicence - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:33 PM
Hi, I applied for a photo card license when I had lost my paper one... I am now living abroad and my photo-card license has expired but I have found my old paper one whichstates on it that it is valid until I am 70. Am i correct to assume that my original paper license is still valid and can be used for hiring cars etc? With Thanks for your reply
Billy - 3-Jul-18 @ 11:12 PM
Summer - Your Question:
Hi there,my husband’s driving licence expired after 10 years. He tried to renew it but it was declined because he doesn’t have UK passport. He’s been living in the UK for 13 years but not a citizen yet. What can he do? Thank you.

Our Response:
Here is the government advice on the ID documents you can use in place of a UK passport...he will probably need to apply at a post office or by post and have his photo validated.
YourDrivingLicence - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:02 PM
Hi there,my husband’s drivinglicence expired after 10 years. He tried to renew it but it was declined because he doesn’t have UK passport . He’s been living in the UK for 13 years but not a citizen yet. What can he do? Thank you.
Summer - 30-Jun-18 @ 11:32 AM
Fyusuf- Your Question:
Hi,I didn't realise my licence would expire (today) until last night. I have submitted the online form for a renewal and paid the fee this morning. It could take up to 2 weeks to come. My question is can I drive during this time? With an expired licence whilst I'm waiting for my new one? I've never been disqualified from driving.

Our Response:
Yes it's usually fine to keep driving while you're waiting for a renewal. Make sure you keep evidence that you have applied to renew with you until you get the new licence.
YourDrivingLicence - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:00 PM
Hi, I didn't realise my licence would expire (today) until last night. I have submitted the online form for a renewal and paid the fee this morning. It could take up to 2 weeks to come. My question is can I drive during this time? With an expired licence whilst I'm waiting for my new one? I've never been disqualified from driving.
Fyusuf - 26-Jun-18 @ 4:40 PM
Sal - Your Question:
I am a UK resident but have got an Italian driving license that expired more than three years ago. Can I convert/renew my Italian license into a British one or will I have to resit for a new exam? Thanks.

Our Response:
If your Italian licence has expired you can't exchange it if you're now living in the UK you can either try to renew the UK licence or re-sit.
YourDrivingLicence - 25-Jun-18 @ 3:43 PM
I am a UK resident but have got an Italian driving license that expired more than three years ago. Can I convert/renew my Italian license into a British one or will I have to resit for a new exam? Thanks.
Sal - 24-Jun-18 @ 1:19 AM
I moved to Spain to look after my mum who died two years ago but I have been here 19 years my license ran out six years ago and I would like to renew it again I didn’t know that it ran out I thought it lasted till you were 70 I go to my daughters in England regular and might be moving back there so want to be able to drive again could I give her address as me living there or could I give my address in Spain and still get my English license. Thankyou for any help
Lynn - 15-Jun-18 @ 5:59 PM
My licence is due to run out today at midnight but I have renewed it today am I still allowed to drive? It’s been sent by the post office today Thanks
Dw - 11-Jun-18 @ 6:33 PM
I was involved in a accident my drivers license picture is out of date. And the accident was my fault I pulled out will the insurance still pay out I had sent my license off.
Ange - 10-May-18 @ 10:03 PM
I turn 70 in just under 25 years! So flummoxed as to why licence was issued for 3 years 9 months.
Uberman - 3-May-18 @ 7:07 PM
I have a British licence being Italian citizen. My passport expired as the licence but I have my italian ID card. Shall I renew the driving licence?
Paolo3 - 29-Apr-18 @ 9:31 PM
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