How to update or renew your driving licence – the ultimate guide

    In the UK, you need a valid driving licence to legally get behind the wheel. Just like road tax, you need to keep a close eye on when your licence expires to make sure that you’re driving lawfully. 

    The licence you get when you pass your driving test is the first of many – you’ll need to renew your photocard licence once every 10 years for the rest of your driving life. 

    For full T&Cs click here.

    Renewing an expired driving licence

    It’s relatively easy to renew a driving licence in the UK. The most important part is simply making sure you do it! 

    You can renew your licence three different ways: online, by post, or at the post office.

    Online through the DVLA site

    The quickest and easiest option.

    Paperwork needed – UK passport or the document used to set up your online immigration status

    Cost: £14 

    Timeline: Your driving licence should arrive within a week of applying online.

    Note: If your name or title has changed, you cannot renew your driving licence online and will need to apply by post. 

    If you do not have the required paperwork, you cannot renew online.

    By post

    This is necessary if your name has changed.

    Paperwork needed – The ‘D1 pack’ of forms from a Post Office that deals with DVLA photocard renewal, vehicle tax or recent passport-style photo

    Cost: £17

    Timeline: Your driving licence should arrive within 3 weeks of applying.

    Note: Also include new identity documents if your name or title has changed.

    At the post office

    A good option if you need to update your licence photo. a Post Office that deals with DVLA photocard licence renewal.

    Paperwork needed – Reminder letter received by post or current photocard licence

    Cost: £21.50

    Timeline: Your driving licence should arrive within 3 weeks of applying.

    Additional services offered: Taking new licence photos (subject to additional fees)

    Note: You cannot apply at the Post Office if your name has changed; you’ll need to apply by post. If you do not have a reminder letter, you’ll need your photocard licence to apply at the Post Office. You can also follow the above processes if you need to replace a lost or stolen licence. The price for replacing a licence begins at £20.

    When should I renew my driving licence?

    You can renew your license by post or online.

    You should renew your licence according to the date on your current licence photocard — if it has expired, you need to apply for a new one. Generally, this is once every ten years. Once you pass 70 years old, though, you will need to renew your licence once every three years.

    The DVLA will mail you a reminder that your licence is due for renewal, much like how you receive a V11 reminder about road tax. However, like the V11, don’t depend on this letter as your only reminder. Take a note of your licence’s expiry date, and keep on top of your renewal application. If you are selling your car, you may need to present a driving licence that is valid as well.

    What if I didn’t receive my reminder from the DVLA?

    The licence renewal reminder sent by the DVLA, also known as a D798 Renewal Reminder, is a courtesy reminder. Not receiving this reminder will not be accepted as a valid excuse for late licence renewal. 

    Generally, you can still complete your licence renewal application without this reminder, as long as your details remain the same. If you do not have this reminder letter, you’ll need your photocard licence to apply for renewal at the Post Office. However, if your name or address has changed, then you will have to apply via post.

    Can I drive while my licence is being renewed?

    As long as the DVLA has received your licence renewal application, you can still legally drive. However, it is recommended to wait for your new photocard before getting behind the wheel. This is to ensure that, if you are pulled over, your photocard is up to date and accurate. 

    Driving without a valid licence can lead to a fine of up to £1,000 and 3 to 6 points on your licence.

    How to renew driving licence at 70

    If you’re over 70 or will be 70 in the next 90 days, you will need to renew your licence more frequently. The DVLA will continue to send courtesy reminders to renew once every three years. The renewal cost is free.

    While your licence is being renewed, you can continue to drive if you meet all of the following conditions: 

    ✅ You have the support of your doctor to continue driving

    ✅ You had a valid licence

    ✅ You drive only under the conditions of the previous licence

    ✅ Your application is less than a year old

    ✅ Your last licence wasn’t refused or revoked for medical reasons

    ✅ You are currently and have not been disqualified as a high-risk offender since June 2013

    Requirements for updating your driving licence

    To update your driving licence, you will need to provide several key details, including:

    ✅ A valid UK passport

    ✅ Proof you are a resident of Great Britain

    ✅ Addresses where you’ve lived in the past 3 years

    ✅ Your current licence (or an explanation as to why you don’t have it)

    ✅ Your national insurance number

    You must also not currently be disqualified from driving. For applying online, you will also need a debit or credit card to pay the £14 renewal fee. When your new licence arrives, you will be asked to cut your old licence in two and return it to the DVLA.

    If you are over 70 years old, you will also need to prove:

    ✅ You meet the minimum eyesight requirement

    ✅ You are not currently banned from driving for any reason

    It costs £14 to renew a license, but addresses and name changes can be made for free.

    Licence updates


    You will need to renew your full or provisional driving licence if you want to update your photo. There is no option to update only your photo, so this process is exactly the same as general renewal. Your updated photo card will have a ten-year validity and make your old licence outdated.

    Name, address and gender

    If you are found to be driving on a licence that features the wrong address, you can face a fine of up to £1,000. The same goes for driving under an old name – e.g. if you were recently married and took your partner’s surname, or if your gender is no longer accurate. 

    Renewing a licence in order to update these details is free, no matter how often you apply for a change. Changing your name, address, or gender must be done via mail. If you want to change your photo as well, you need to send in a passport style photo to the DVLA as well.  

    As with general renewal, it’s advised you wait for your new photo card to arrive before driving.

    All changes should also be reflected in your vehicle’s V5C logbook.


    Are points on my licence removed when I renew it?

    No. Points on your licence last either four or eleven years depending on your offence. So, even if you gained a point in the final year of your licence photo card being valid, it will still be there when the card is renewed. After the set period of four or eleven years, the points will expire and the DVLA will remove them.

    How long does it take for my driving licence to be renewed?

    Generally, it should take around one week for your new licence to arrive if renewed online. For postal applications, this can be as long as three weeks. 

    It’s recommended you apply for a renewal around one month before your card’s expiry date. This is also when you can expect a reminder letter from the DVLA.

    What about my paper driving licence?

    To renew a driving licence, UK drivers used to have to present the paper part of their licence along with a photo card. This is no longer required.

    Ready to sell?

    Need to sell your car, or want to understand more about documentation or maintenance?Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from the paperwork you need when buying and selling, to various notices you may need to file with the UK’s driver and vehicle licensing agency.