Is your driving licence valid?

Is your driving licence valid?

A  driving licence provides you with the legality to drive a vehicle but it is not eternal, and does in fact have to be renewed every now and then in order to remain valid.

Why is it so important to renew your driving licence?

There are penalties that follow if you drive with an out of date licence. It’s illegal to drive without a valid UK driving licence and it can land you a £1000 fine and future car insurance difficulties. With the risk of potentially breaking the law, you could also have your licence deemed invalid by car hire firms.

Below are three quick checks you can do to ensure you are driving with a valid licence and to avoid being fined up to £1000:

1. Check the photocard driving licence expiry date

Photocard licences replaced paper licences in 1998, and must be renewed every 10 years. The DVLA says 2.3 million photocards are out of date!

Driving licence photos must be replaced every 10 years (no matter how young you look!)

It’s easy to forget, but a quick check now could save you a fine of up to £1,000 if your photocard has expired. It’s £14 to renew (£17 if you renew by post), but that’s a far better option.*

There are a few dates printed on the photocard, but the one you need to check is the photo expiry date printed on section 4b on the front of the card.

You can renew your licence online and will need the following to complete your application:

  • A valid UK passport
  • To be a resident of Great Britain – (if this isn’t the case then you require a different service in Northern Ireland)
  • To pay £14* by debit or credit card – (however, if you are over 70 or have a medical short period licence, there is no fee)
  • Addresses of where you’ve lived over the last 3 years
  • Your current driving licence (if you do not possess this, you must say why)
  • Your national insurance number
  • To not be disqualified from driving

Once, you have completed your application, your updated driving licence should arrive within a week.

2.  Check your correct address is on the photocard

Forget to update your address and you risk a fine of up to £1,000 if stopped by the police – so check now to make sure it’s correct.

If your address isn’t accurate, or if you’ve moved since you registered, it’s free to update it online.  Simply apply online at  The address you provide must be one in Great Britain where the DVLA can contact you at any time (they do not accept PO box addresses).

3. Check your name is correct if you’ve changed it

The third check is to make sure your name is correct on your driving licence, particularly if you’ve changed it since getting married.

Direct Line previously found that 3% of married women had an out-of-date name on their licence, which could also incur a fine of up to £1,000. So if you think you could be affected, check now.

If your name has changed you will need to fill in forms D1 or D2 (forms are available to order online or from most Post Offices).  You will also need to send proof of your new name.If you’re only changing your personal details, the photocard’s renewal date won’t be updated. While it’s free to change your personal details, if you decide to include a new photo to renew your photocard at the same time, this will still cost £14 online, or £17 by post.

Please note that if you are updating details on your driving licence, you should also ensure that the information on your vehicle registration document is correct.

Note: always ensure you use the official GOV.UK website.  

Click here to find out more about how our Driver Risk Management service can help ensure your drivers are legal to drive your fleet vehicles.



* Prices are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change.