Unlike the old paper licences, UK photocard Driving Licences need to be renewed every ten years to keep the photograph current. According to the DVLA, this is to help identify people using licences fraudulently. Driving with an out-of-date licence can lead to a £1000 fine, so it is important to renew on time. Paper licences issued before 1998 do not expire until the owner’s seventieth birthday, although they can be upgraded to a photocard licence for £20 at any time. All drivers over the age of seventy need to renew their licence every three years, regardless of whether they have a paper or photocard licence.
When does my licence expire?
The simplest way to check when your Driving Licence is due to expire is to look at the photocard itself. Section 4b to the right of the photograph gives the ‘valid to’ date. If you do not have the licence to hand, you can check the expiry date and other details using this service from the DVLA. You will need to provide some further details including your date of birth, national insurance number and home address.
All drivers should receive a D798 Renewal Notification through the post two months before the expiry date of their licence.
How to renew a photocard licence
You can renew your licence online, by post or in person at selected Post Offices. At £14, renewing online on the DVLA website is the cheapest method. You will need to be a resident of Great Britain, have a valid UK passport, provide your addresses over the last three years, and enter your national insurance number if known. Payment is by credit or debit card.
Renewing by post costs £17 pounds using form D1. You can pick this form up from a Post Office or order it online at this DVLA web page.
If you want to renew in person, you can go to a Post Office which does DVLA photocard renewals. The branch finder web page will help to find the nearest one. The Post Office service costs £21.50, including taking a photograph to DVLA standards and checking that the form is filled in correctly. You will need a D798 Renewal Notification or your old photocard licence.
Residents of Northern Ireland can only renew their Driving Licence by post, following the instructions on the nidirect website.
UK Driving Licences can be renewed for free when the driver is over seventy, or has a short period licence due to a medical condition. You can also renew a licence free of charge to change your name, address or gender, provided that the photograph is not changed at the same time. You can update these details as many times as you want, but this does not affect the expiry date of the licence.