Driving licence expired – Can you still drive?

Last updated November 2nd, 2023

As a driver, you have numerous responsibilities, such as renewing your car insurance, MOT certificate and vehicle tax on an annual basis. It is also important to remember to renew your driving licence and obtain a valid replacement before its expiry date.

In this guide, we will explain the law around driving with an expired licence. We’ll also cover how to identify your driving licence expiry date – and what you should do if you discover it has already expired.

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Can I still drive if my driving licence has expired?

It is illegal to drive without a valid licence, with no exceptions. As a driver, you must be able to present a valid UK driving licence when asked to do so by a police officer (or another authorised official).

If you are ever caught driving without a licence, you may face a fine of up to £1,000 and 3 to 6 penalty points on your licence. You could also have your vehicle seized.

Where is my driving licence expiry date?

You can find the expiry date on a UK driving licence in Section 4b, on the front of the photocard (immediately underneath the date the licence was issued).

How often do driving licenses expire?

  • You must renew your driving licence before the date printed on your current licence photocard. This is usually once every 10 years.
  • Around one month before your driving licence is due to expire, you should receive a D798 letter from the DVLA. This is a courtesy reminder to renew your licence.

Licence renewal for older drivers

  • If you are aged 70 years or above, you will have to renew your licence once every three years.
  • You will receive a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday (and once every three years thereafter).
  • You must complete this form and return it to the DVLA to renew your licence.
  • If you didn’t receive your D46P form, you can obtain a ‘D1 application for a driving licence form’ from your local Post Office.

What should I do if my licence has expired?

If your licence has expired, you can usually renew it online via the gov.uk website.

To do this, you’ll need:

  • Your current driving licence. (If you do not have this, you’ll need to state why in your application.)
  • Your National Insurance (NI) number.
  • A valid UK passport.

You’ll also need to pay a £14 renewal fee when submitting your application, unless you are 70 years of age or above, in which case, no renewal charge will apply.

If your application is successful, your new driving licence should arrive within a week.

You can also apply by post or at your local Post Office. (You’ll need to apply through one of these channels if your name or title has changed since you received your previous licence, as in this scenario, it is not possible to renew online.)

Can I drive whilst I’m waiting for my driving licence to arrive?

You cannot drive whilst waiting for a replacement driving licence if your old licence expired before you applied to renew it.

However, if your driving licence expires whilst the DVLA is still processing your application for a replacement, you may be able to drive if you meet the conditions outlined within Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The law explained

Put simply, it is illegal to drive your vehicle without having a valid UK driving licence photocard, unless you are authorised to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you are ever caught driving without a valid UK driving licence, you could face a fine of up to £1,000 and receive up to six points on your licence. Repeat offenders may be disqualified from driving and could even have their vehicles seized and destroyed.

Returning your old licence to the DVLA

Once you have received your new driving licence, you should cut your old one in half and return it to the DVLA by post.

The return address is: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DH.