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Seven-month extension for photocard driving licences

An estimated 1.4 million drivers who would otherwise have had to renew their photocards have been granted an automatic extension

Motorists whose photocard driving licences are due to expire have been granted an automatic seven-month extension to their cards’ validity, a move that affects 1.4million UK drivers who would otherwise have had to renew them.

Photocard driving licences are valid for 10 years, with replacement photos and new cards required once a decade. Now, those whose photocards were due to expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will automatically be granted a seven-month extension from the original point of expiration. 

The move will save drivers from having to renew their cards, while also allowing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to concentrate on licence and registration applications from keyworkers. The DVLA highlights, however, that motorists over 70 who need to renew their licences every three years must continue to do so as normal, as must those who require whose entitlement to drive is due to expire for any other reason.

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The move has come about due to a new EU regulation, adopted by the DVLA, whose chief executive, Julie Lennard, said: “This extension will make it easier for drivers who need to update their photocard licence with a new photograph.  This means as long as they have a valid licence, drivers will be able to continue to make essential journeys. 

“The extension is automatic so drivers do not need to do anything and will be sent a reminder to renew their photocard before the extension ends.”

The driving licence photocard was introduced in 1998 and, with over 45 million licences in circulation, administering the 10-year cards is a significant challenge. Like many other organisations the DVLA has been affected by the coronavirus, asking staff to work from home, and suffering worker shortages due to illness.

The photocard extension follows a decision back in March by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to extend MoT certificates for six months for vehicles that were due an MoT from 30 March, a move garage organisations have criticised on the grounds of safety.

Click here to read about how the new car industry is suffering during the coronavirus crisis...

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