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Driving licence renewal guide: how to renew your licence, change the photo or address

Renewing your driving licence or changing the address is really simple: here’s how it’s done

Driving licence

Renewing your driving licence or updating the information on it is now a much more straightforward process, thanks largely to our old friend the Internet. It can all be done on the official gov.uk website. If you don’t have online access, this isn’t a problem as you can still get the appropriate forms for a licence renewal or change of address and go through the process at a Post Office branch or by post.

Whether you hold a full or provisional UK driving licence issued by the DVLA, it will need to be renewed every ten years. If, however, you are over 70 years of age, a renewal is required every three years.

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If you change address when you permanently move house, failing to update the details on your driving licence could land you with a fine of £1,000. A temporary move such as moving for university is fine as long as you can still be contacted at your original address.

Be wary of companies that offer ‘online support’ for renewing your driving licence: they usually charge a service fee and it will end up costing you more money. If you’re going through the process online, only use the official gov.uk website.

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The DVLA will send a reminder in the post to drivers whose licences are about to expire. If you want to double check for yourself, the expiry date is item ‘4b’ on the front of your licence photocard.

How to change the address on your driving licence

To do this, you’ll need your driving licence photocard, your passport and your National Insurance number. You also need to be a resident of Great Britain (there’s a different process in Northern Ireland) and be able to provide all the addresses you’ve lived at over the previous three years. You must not be banned from driving.

You can change the address on your driving licence for free using the government’s online form. Simply fill out the details as required, making sure that all the information you’ve given is accurate.

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Once your application has been submitted, your new licence photocard should be with you within a week. It can sometimes take a little longer, but if three weeks go by and you have not received anything in the post, you should contact the DVLA.

Applying to change your driving licence address by post is also free: if you still have the D741 form when you first received your old licence, you just need to fill in the ‘changes’ segment and send it off to the DVLA along with your photocard. Failing that, all you need to do is order a licence application form, which can be obtained online or via certain branches of the Post Office: car drivers and motorcyclists need the D1 form, while lorry and bus drivers need the D2 form.

Photocard update website

How to change your driving licence photo

If you wish, you can simultaneously update the photo on your licence when you change other information on it, if it’s valid for less than two years. If it has longer than this still to run, you’ll need to renew it fully in order to change your picture.

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Doing this online costs £14, and you can either use the same photo that appears in your passport, or you can wait for a letter from the DVLA telling you where to send a fresh, passport-style photo. If you want to change your driving licence picture as part of a postal application, this costs £17, which can be paid via a postal order or with a cheque made out to the DVLA. 

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You can still drive while you’re waiting for your new licence photocard to arrive. If you’re over 70 or you have a medical short period licence, you won’t have to pay to update your picture.

How to renew your driving licence

Just like when updating your address, you’ll need your driving licence, passport, addresses from the past three years and your National Insurance number (if you know it) in order to renew your driving licence. You’ll also need to be a GB resident who isn’t disqualified from driving. Again, this process differs for residents of NI.

Applying online costs £14. All you need to do is fill out the form, and be ready to pay the fee with a debit or credit card. Once you’ve received your new photocard through the post, you’ll need to return your old card to the DVLA via the address given to you at the end of your application, or confirm that you have destroyed the old one.

Renewing your licence via post costs £17. As well as a cheque or postal order for this amount, you’ll need to send the DVLA a recent passport photo, your current photocard licence, and a completed pack of D1 pack of forms. You can pick these forms up at most Post Office branches.

As with changing the photo on your licence, if you’re over 70 or have a medical short period licence, the fees are waived.

If you have a paper driving licence issued before 1998, you don’t have to update your licence every 10 years. However, you will have to apply for a new photocard licence if you need to update your address or your name, or if your original paper licence has been damaged, lost or stolen.

Frequently Asked Questions
You need to renew your UK driving licence every 10 years and that includes updating it with a new picture. If you have a valid UK passport, the DVLA can take the picture and signature from your passport to use on your new driving licence. If you don’t have a UK passport you will need to supply a new picture.

Find out how to SORN a car with the DVLA here...

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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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