Is your UK driving licence about to expire?

Find out how to renew your licence - and answers to many other licence renewal questions - in our complete guide.


What is a full UK driving licence?

A driving licence is a legal requirement to operate motor vehicles on UK roads.  

Administered in England, Scotland and Wales by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), a full UK driving licence details the types of vehicles that the holder is legally able to drive.

A full UK driving licence also allows you to drive in Europe, so start planning those road trips to France!

Image of driving icence

How long is a UK driving licence valid for?

A common question that many motorists have is how long does a driving licence last.

Your first driving licence will expire 10 years after issue and it should then be renewed every 10 years until you’re 70.

Before expiry, as a UK motorist you are required by law to apply for a new one - which will also expire after a decade.


Why is it important to renew your driving licence?

A renewed licence - with an up-to-date photo - ensures police and other enforcement agencies have a true likeness of you.

This helps ensure driving licences are not being used fraudulently and stops 'driving licence impersonation' - where disqualified or dangerous drivers are getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when they shouldn’t be.

You'll also need an updated driving licence if you've changed name or address.


Will I be fined if I don’t renew my driving licence?

You could face a fine of up to £1000 if you are found to be driving with an expired licence.

You may also face other fines if you do not update the DVLA with name and address changes in a timely manner.


Driving licence renewal notice reminders

You'll receive a renewal reminder letter from the DVLA before your licence is due to expire. However, your address must be up to date.

Image of woman using laptop to renew driving licence

Once you’ve received your renewal notice, how do you renew your driving licence?


How to renew a driving licence?

How to renew your driver’s licence: online

You can renew your driving licence online by using the Government website and fill out a driving licence form to complete your renewal application.

If you’re wondering: what's the simplest and easiest way to renew my driving licence? Applying online is arguably it.


How much is it to renew your driving licence online?

A driving licence renewal online costs £14.


What do I need to renew my driving licence online?

To renew your driver's licence online, you'll need:

  • To be a resident of Great Britain (Northern Irish drivers must use a different service)
  • A valid UK passport
  • Your addresses for the past three years
  • Your current driving licence (if you do not have it you must explain why on the application)
  • Your National Insurance number


What about organising a photo for the renewed licence?

If you have a digital passport, the DVLA will use the photo the associated photo to renew your licence - which they'll have on file.

However, if the photo cannot be used by the DVLA, or you wish to change the photo, you can send a photo to them in the mail.


You cannot use the online service if your name or title have changed.


How to renew your driving licence: at the Post Office

You only need your photocard driving licence and your renewal reminder to renew at a Post Office. 

The Post Office will take your photo and capture your signature. You then simply pay and the Post Office will send off the application to the DVLA (this includes the DVLA fee for postal applications of £17).


How much does it cost to renew your driving licence at the Post Office?

It costs £21.50.


How to renew your driving licence: by post

Applying by post costs £17. You’ll need:

  • D1 pack for DVLA photocard renewals (available at a Post Office)
  • a recent passport type photo (do not sign the back of the photo)
  • your current photocard licence, if you have it
  • Identification if you've changed your name


Driving licence renewal dates

There are two important dates listed on the front of your photocard:

  • 4a - licence issue date
  • 4b - date by which the licence must have been renewed


For most drivers, 4b is usually 10 years after 4a - unless you're due to turn 70 (or have medical restrictions), in which case it will expire on that date.

The photo will need to be renewed if the 4b date is imminent or has passed.

Image of driving licence application

Credit: Ascannio -


Driving licence renewals once you reach 70

You'll need to update your driving licence when you reach 70, and tell the DVLA about any medical conditions you have.

You'll also need to confirm your eyesight meets the minimum standards.

It's a good idea to get an eye test before applying for a renewal.


How long does a driving licence last once you reach 70?

Once you reach 70, you must renew your driving licence every 3 years.

There is a different service for doing this.


When renewing your driving license, are the penalty points removed?

No, depending on the offence, points on your licence are valid for four or ten years. So, even if you earned a point in the last year of your licence photo card's validity, it will be retained when the card is renewed.

The points will then expire after four or ten years and will be removed by the DVLA.


What if you’ve been disqualified from driving?

If you have been disqualified from driving, you can apply to renew your driving licence up to 56 days (90 days for high-risk offenders) before your driving disqualification is due to end.


Short-term medical driving licence

You may need a short-term medical driving licence due to a particular condition. 

Short term medical driving licences last for 1, 2, 3, or 5 years.

The DVLA will send you a renewal reminder 90 days before expiry.


How do I renew a short-term medical driving licence?

You can renew your short-term medical driving licence online if you have Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, epilepsy, a visual impairment, a sleep condition, or a heart condition.

If your driving licence was surrendered or taken away due to a medical condition, you'll need to use a different service.


How to renew a provisional driving licence?

While few people need to renew their provisional driving licence, sometimes it is necessary.

You can apply to renew your provisional driving licence on the DVLA website.

You’ll need the same information required for a general online renewal.


How long does a provisional licence last?

If you applied for a provisional licence before 1 March 1973, you’ll need to apply for your “first” provisional licence again.

Note that a provisional driving licence does not expire until your 70th birthday, so you’ll have plenty of time to pass your test.


Renew or change a lorry or bus licence

You can renew or change your 5-year lorry or bus driving licence on the Government website.

There are different procedures for under or over 45s, and an entirely separate process if you live in Northern Ireland.


Can I still use my paper licence?

For paper licences issued before 1998 there are no 10-year renewal to contend with. You won’t need to update your paper driving licence to a photocard if your circumstances are the same.

However, you WILL need to update it to a photocard if your address or name has changed, or if your licence has been lost, damaged or stolen.

You'll also need to update it to a photocard if you're getting a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. Updating a photocard in these circumstances can be done online and costs £20.


Name, address or gender changes

If your name, address or gender has changed you'll need to renew your driving licence.

There is no charge for this.


Renewal of your driving licence in advance:  Can you renew your driving licence in advance?

You can renew your driving licence anytime in advance of the renewal date.

The new licence will be valid from the application approval date - as opposed to the expiry date on the outgoing driving licence.

You may wish to renew your driving licence in advance, for example, if you’re planning to travel or work abroad for a long period.


How long does it take to get a new driving licence?

If you applied to renew your driving licence online, it usually takes around a week to receive your new licence.

For applications via the Post Office, your new driving licence should arrive within 3 weeks. It might take longer if your medical or personal details need to be checked.


Can I keep driving while I wait for a new licence?

Yes, you can continue driving while your application is being processed by the DVLA.


If you still have questions about how to renew your driving licence, you can contact the DVLA directly. Find the right DVLA contact details here.


Driving with an overseas license in the UK?

If you plan on driving in the UK with an overseas license you can check out our blog to fully explain the rules.


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