UK photo card licence expiry

I rarely need to look at my driving licence but had to last night to complete an identity check. It was only then I noticed that it expired last October and then remembered that Photo card driving licences need to be renewed every 10 years :flushed:

DVLA say they send a reminder through 8 weeks before it’s due to expire but I didn’t receive one…

So if you don’t know when your driving licence is due to expire then it’s worth checking, so unlike me, you don’t end up with an expired licence.


A very useful reminder for people - and scary as it is illegal to drive, and you are uninsured, if your licence has expired.

And be prepared for a long wait for renewal. A 76 year old friend of mine was without his driving licence for 7 months last year, it coincidentally (?!) coming just after he got his MP to query on his behalf. I know of someone else who upon reaching 70 a year or so ago applied for renewal (at which pont validity is only 3 years), and it took 9 months to come despite much chasing. In UK it is apparently legal to drive during the renewal period once you have applied (though I’m unclear if that holds true if you apply after expiry of the previous licence) - but only if the DVLC does eventually renew the licence, so if there is anything at all questionable (e.g. relying on medical certification, that they could choose not to accept) it may be unwise to count on it.

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It took just 4 weeks for my wife to renew her 70+years licence last month, and that included a medical (vision) verification that was confirmed with a scan copy of her last eye clinic report.

I’m glad I’m on the old paper version :smiley:

This is covered by Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act.

It applies when updating or renewing a licence even if the previous licence has expired.
The main conditions to driving under section 88 are:
A valid licence has previously been held.
A valid correctly filled out application form has been received by DVLA
The licence hasn’t been revoked.
It’s not an application for renewal of a licence after suspension for a ‘high risk’ offence (particularly ‘high risk’ alcohol or dug offences)
You are fit to drive as defined in the Road Traffic Act. (As in not meeting any of the excluding conditions as defined in the RTA. Note that this is the RTA conditions not the DVLA conditions; there are differences: some conditions regarded by the DVLA as ‘notifiable’ not listed as ‘notifiable’ in the list of ‘notifiable conditions’ given in the RTA.)

Before driving under Section 88 you should read the DVLA guide (and preferably also the relevant sections of the RTA!):


All legal again now - very easy to renew via the Post Office.

James, do you mean that you have managed to renew your licence in less than 9 hours by using the Post Office ?

Hi Don, Renewed as in the electronic application has gone in to DVLA via the Post Office, so I can continue driving whilst I wait for the new licence to come through.


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I know someone who arrived abroad with their wife and young children where they had booked a rental car. Unfortunately their driving licenses had expired and therefore the rental company would not let them rent a vehicle. A 2 week holiday somewhat ruined.

It’s an easy oversight to make. I’m usually on top of all these things but just didn’t think about this. Apart from an address change quite a few years ago pre photo card, I’ve not needed to do anything else regarding changes to my licence.

I’m “looking forward” to having to renew my “lifelong?” licence in two years time when I hit the Big Seven-Oh. From what I’ve heard here, perhaps I need to start the process by the end of this year!

OTOH, I may have popped my clogs by then, which would, no doubt, please DVLA (no further action needed) & the DWP (no more pension handouts)! Cynical? Moi?

Which reminds me, I need to get the Canon out and take my dearly beloved’s photo for her passport renewal.

3 year validity (reducing after a few renewals). And be aware that in UK if you need the class C1 (e.g needed for vehicles over 3.5t, applicable to many motorhomes, that you will have on your licence now if you passed your test many years ago, you will have to specifically request it as they ceased the automatic re-inclusion recently. You will have to supply fitness to drive such a vehicle medical evidence acceptable to DVLC, apparently something you will have to pay for from your GP, and whatever your GP certifies, apparently a heart pacemaker excludes you from renewing that category.

BTW, shooting your beloved with a canon may affect her acceptability for a passport!

Electronic renewals are pretty quick, which you can do in big post offices. Once the application is in you can continue to drive - as @james_n said - and the new licence should arrive in the post in about a week anyway.

You can start the process once you are in the 90 day window before the old one expires. You should get a letter from the DVLA which makes the renewal easy.

@davidhendon , I still have my old paper licence with no photo. Will I still be able to renew that one at the Post Office? How would I submit the photo? Or do they pull it from my passport - but that will be nine years old by then.

Useful to know about the 90 day window (that would have been my next question :slight_smile: )

@Innocent_Bystander Good tip about C1 class. I need to check my licence

All the info here on what’s needed and other ways to apply

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I wonder whether it would be worthwhile getting a photo card licence now, if it makes the renewal in two years time easier.

Does this forum posses some sort of prophetic powers?!?!
Just had a message from my daughter who is in Italy- her boyfriends license has expired (discovered at the car rental desk) and he isn’t allowed to drive for the 2w trip.
Absolute result for him obviously!

We renewed recently following DVLA reminders.

Did it on line at home (they used our passport photos). Both arrived within a week.

They can use your passport photo if it’s recent enough so that it is still a good likeness. Otherwise bigger Post Office branches offer an identity service, so they take the photo, you sign on a tablet thing and it’s all despatched by them electronically to the DVLA. I vaguely remember there being a small charge, but it’s a while ago that I did this.

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My stepsister recently renewed her driving license at the Post Office they took the photo and sorted the license renewal electronically the cost I believe was £10.00 her new license arrived in about 10 days.