How to Renew Driver’s Licence Guide

How to Renew Driver's Licence
Many people are not aware of it when they are supposed to renew their driving licence. In fact, the DVLA estimates that more than two million drivers in the UK have an out-of-date photocard licence. If you fail to renew your licence when it expires and continue to drive, then you are breaking the law. This could result in a fine of up to £1,000 if the authorities catch you driving without a valid licence. Read this guide to check how and when to renew your licence.

When do I need to renew my driver’s licence?

Lots of drivers assume that their driving licences are valid until they turn 70 years old. However, this is not the case. Like passports, photocard driving licences are only valid for 10 years from the date of issue. It is advisable to apply for renewal before the expiry date on the document. You can look for the details about driving licence renewal in the small print under section 4b. This is on the back of the photocard driving licence. The date when it is “valid to” should be 10 years from the issue date. Next to this date, it will show the date before the driver’s 70th birthday. This confuses some people who do not understand the difference between these expiry dates. Really, the licence does not expire until you turn 70, but the photo needs renewing every 10 years. The DVLA should contact you by post in advance of your licence expiring. If you don’t renew within 2 years of this, you may have to retake your driving test.

How to Renew Driver’s Licence Online

The fastest way to renew your driving licence is to do it online. When you do it this way, you’ll only have to wait 2 weeks for the DVLA to deliver your updated licence. You can only renew your driving licence online if you have a passport less than 5 years old. The DVLA will use your passport photo for your new photocard licence. If you want to use a different photo, then you will have to renew it another way. To renew a driving licence online, you will need:

  • Government Gateway ID log-in details
  • valid passport details
  • driving licence details
  • National Insurance number
  • residential addresses for the last 3 years
  • a debit or credit card for payment of £20


The DVLA should send you a confirmation e-mail once you finish your renewal application. They will send your new licence in the post. Your new driving licence will be valid from the date of the renewal approval, not the expiry date of your previous licence. When you receive the replacement, you must post your old photocard licence to the DVLA.

How to Renew Driver’s Licence at the Post Office

Another way to renew your driver’s licence is to take your reminder documentation from the DVLA to a Post Office. The D798 renewal form should list the nearest branches which offer the driving licence renewal service. You must complete the renewal form beforehand and then take it to the Post Office along with your current photocard licence (and paper counterpart if you have it). They will take your photo and your digital signature and check your renewal application documents for any problems. You will have to pay £24.50 (£20 plus £4.50 administration fee) and then they will send it all to the DVLA for you. The DVLA will post your new driving licence to you within the next 3 weeks. While you can update your address at the same time, you cannot renew at the Post Office if you change your name.

How to Renew Driver’s Licence by Post

Your renewal pack should arrive in the post from the DVLA around 2 months in advance of your photocard expiry date. If you do not receive one, then you need to order a D1 form pack from the DVLA. Fill out the form and enclose it in an envelope with the required documents. You must include a recent passport-style photo which was taken in the last 30 days. It is not necessary to sign the back of it. You can pay for a digital photo at a shop or print copies in a qualifying photo-booth. The payment for applying by post is £20. You need to enclose a cheque or a postal order for this amount. You must also send your original current driver’s licence and paper documents. If you change your name or gender, then you need to update this on your licence. You should include original identity documents. Then seal all of this in a secure envelope and send it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DH. You should pay for trackable delivery to ensure that your documents get there safely. The DVLA should send your new licence in the post within 3 weeks.

Do I need to renew a paper driving licence?

For licences from 1998 onwards, the photocard’s paper counterpart has no legal status. This came into effect in 2015, meaning that you can dispose of it. The paper document was necessary for penalty points, but the DVLA stores them in an online system now. You can request a code online if a third party needs to legally check your driving record. Remember, this only applies if you got your licence after 1998. If you got a licence before this, and you only have a paper driving licence, then do not throw it away. You only need to upgrade to a photocard if your name or address changes or if you turn 70 years old. All driving licences should be photocards by 2033. Otherwise, you can avoid the £20 fee and only renew when you are 70. The all-paper driver’s licence is still valid until then. If you want to use it to drive abroad, however, then you might need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

How to Renew Driver’s Licence at 70 Years Old

Whenever you acquire your driving licence, you have to renew it every 10 years. You will also need to renew it just before your 70th birthday. After you turn 70, you must renew your licence every 3 years instead. This is free, so you won’t have to keep paying for each renewal. The DVLA should send your renewal forms in the post about 90 days before your 70th birthday. If you do not receive this, you can enquire at a Post Office to get a copy of the form. Once you have a form, you can follow the steps for postal application as above. The reason for more frequent renewals at this point is that the likelihood of developing health conditions which affect your ability to drive increases with age. It is your responsibility to report it to the DVLA if you develop a medical condition which may require taking a driving ability re-assessment. This applies regardless of age. You may have to reduce or give up driving, but there are other ways to maintain mobility and independence. Speak to the DVLA about Blue Badges or transport options.

Can I drive while the DVLA has my licence renewal application?

You normally need to return your expiring licence to the DVLA when you submit your renewal application. However, you should still be able to drive while you’re waiting for your new licence. If your old licence expires while the DVLA is processing your new one, you could continue driving according to Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 if you:

  • had a valid driving licence
  • are medically fit to drive (according to your doctor)
  • sent your renewal application to the DVLA within the last 12 months
  • are not or were not disqualified from driving for any reason
  • only drive under the conditions of your previous licence which apply to your renewal licence


It is up to yourself and your doctor to decide if you can continue driving under Section 88 while the DVLA is looking into your renewal application. Section 88 is valid until more than a year passes since submitting your application or the DVLA refuses it or revokes your licence and disqualifies you from driving. Bear in mind that Section 88 applies within the UK. If you want to drive under Section 88 while travelling abroad, you must check with the local authority.