How to renew your driving licence

Forgetting to update your licence and letting it expire could lead to a hefty fine. Make sure you keep your licence up to date with our guide to renewing your driving licence

Written by Verity Hogan
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Not many people know this, but not renewing your driving licence and continuing to drive can lead to a hefty fine of £1,000.

And did you know that approximately two million people in the UK have expired driving licences? That’s a lot of potential fines!

If you’re one of those two million, or you’re just planning-ahead and want to know how to renew your licence, we’re here to help.

We’ll give you the full breakdown of everything you need to know about renewing your driving licence in the UK, how to do it, and what information you need. Read on to find out more.

Why is it important to renew your driving licence?

The fine for driving with an expired licence is up to £1,000 and can affect your car insurance – so it’s not worth the risk!

The reason why the fine is so large is because it’s illegal to drive without a valid licence. It’s also important to keep it up to date so you can benefit from anti-fraud checks, which in turn can help prevent things like identity theft.

When do you need to renew your driving licence?

You need to renew your photocard every 10 years. However, your driving licence is valid until you reach 70, after which you must renew the license every three years.

You might find that you need to update your licence before the 10 years is up, for example if you change name or address. You can do this unlimited times and it’s free.

And don’t worry, you’ll receive a reminder to renew about a month before it’s due.

It’s best to renew your licence as soon as you can after receiving your reminder. This will allow time for the DVLA to process your new application.

After your application is passed, you’ll receive your brand-new licence within a week.

How to check the expiry date of a UK driving licence

You can quickly check the expiry date of your driver’s licence on your photocard under section “4b”.

On the back of the licence, you’ll see a “valid to” section, which in most cases will be the date of the day before your 70th birthday. This is because you’re required to renew your licence every three years after you reach 70.

What are the costs involved?

If you’re renewing online, it’ll cost £14 but if you’re renewing by post, it’ll cost a little more at £17.

You can also renew at the Post Office for £21.50 and they’ll take care of taking the photo and sending the application for you.

If you’re over 70 or have a medical short period licence, it’s completely free to renew.

Can I drive while I wait for my driving licence to renew?

You can still drive while you wait for your driving licence to be renewed if you’ve sent the D1 application online, by post, or through the post office.

There are some exceptions to this though, including:

  • You’ve been told by a doctor that you can’t
  • You haven’t previously held a driving licence
  • Your licence has been revoked
  • You’ve been disqualified or suspended from driving

If any of the above applies to you, you won’t be able to drive your car while you wait for your licence to renew or get accepted.

How to renew a photo driving licence

You need to renew your photocard every 10 years.

Thankfully, it’s a quick and easy process. To renew, you need to either:

  • Apply online
  • Apply by post to the DVLA using a D1 form
  • Apply through the Post Office

Read on the find out more about how to renew your driving licence for each method.

How to renew your driving licence


To renew online, you can visit the Government’s website.

Before heading online, make sure you have the following ready:

  • A valid UK passport
  • Be a resident of Great Britain (Northern Ireland residents need a different service)
  • Be able to pay £14 by debit or credit card (unless you’re 70 or over or have a medical short period license
  • A history of your addresses from the past three years
  • Your current driving licence
  • Your National insurance number

You must also be qualified to drive. If you’ve been disqualified, you won’t be able to apply for another licence online.

By post

Alternatively, you can renew your licence by post. You’ll need a D1 pack, which you can get at most Post Offices, or you can order one directly from the DVLA website. This will cost a little extra as you’ll need to pay £17.

At the Post Office

Finally, you can renew your licence at the Post Office. This is the most expensive option as it costs £21.50, but this including taking your photo and posting the application for you.

Verity Hogan

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