How to renew or update your driving licence

Last updated December 16, 2022

To drive anywhere legally, you must hold a driving licence; this is a fundamental rule that every driver should know. Even if you intend to sell your car or scrap your vehicle with no intention of driving it again, you’ll still need a valid driving licence before you can get behind the wheel.

A valid driving licence is not only in date, but also bears its owner’s full name, date of birth – and current address.

If you know that your driving licence is approaching its expiry date or your personal details have changed, it’s crucial that you renew or update your licence accordingly. Here’s our guide to driving licence renewal - and how to update your licence details:

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How do I renew my driving licence documents that have expired?

The process of renewing a driving licence is near enough the same as replacing a licence that has been lost or stolen. There are three ways that you can renew your expired driving licence:

Renewing your driving licence online is the quickest way to do it. However, Post Office driving licence renewal is ideal for those who do not have the capacity to take a new driving licence photo at home - or would like some assistance with the renewal process.

When do I need to renew my driving licence?

If you are aged 70 or under, you’ll generally need to renew your driving licence once every ten years. Those over the age of 70 must renew their licence once every three years to continue driving.

The DVLA will send you a reminder when your licence expiry date is coming up. However, we would advise against using this letter as your only reminder to renew your licence. Instead, you should familiarise yourself with the expiry date on your licence and complete your renewal application with plenty of time to spare – ideally leaving at least a month before the expiry date.

How long does it take to renew my driving licence?

Once you’ve submitted your renewal application, it should take around a week for your new licence to arrive. Don’t panic if it takes slightly longer – processing postal applications sometimes takes up to three weeks. This is why it’s important to allow plenty of time before your expiry date to ensure you aren’t left without a valid licence.

Can you drive whilst your licence is being renewed?

Legally, you are able to drive as soon as the DVLA has received your application. With that said, it’s recommended that you wait for your new licence card to arrive in case you are pulled over whilst driving. Failure to present a valid photocard could lead to a fine of £1,000 - and several points on your licence.

How much does it cost to renew a UK driving licence?

The cost of renewing your licence depends on the renewal method you choose. Renewing online via the website is the cheapest way, costing just £14. Renewing by post costs £17 (payable by cheque or postal order) - and renewing at your local Post Office is the most expensive option - costing £21.50.

Please note, if you wish to have a new driving licence photo taken at the Post Office, you’ll be asked to pay an additional £5 fee.

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

Your DVLA renewal reminder (the D798 reminder) will generally be sent to you around a month before your licence expiry date. Like the V11 letters sent as a reminder to renew your vehicle tax, the D798 is considered a courtesy reminder - and not receiving one won’t be accepted as a valid excuse for late licence renewal.

You can still make your renewal application without a D798, though this may be requested by the Post Office if you choose to renew your licence at your local branch.

How to renew your driving licence at 70

Drivers aged 70 and over are required to renew their licence once every three years. The process for this is exactly the same - it just needs to be done more often.

How do I update the details on my driving licence?

If your licence is in-date and you simply need to update your personal details, you can do this for free, as many times as necessary. You should update your details if there are any changes to the following:

  • Your address
  • Your full legal name
  • Your signature

You should also update your licence photo if it no longer accurately represents your physical appearance. The simplest way to update your details is online with the DVLA, though you can do this by post or at the Post Office, just as you can for renewals.

If you want to update your legal name via the DVLA, this needs to be done by post.

What if I need to surrender my driving licence?

There are three scenarios where you must surrender your driving license to the DVLA:

  • If your doctor tells you to stop driving for three months or more.
  • If you develop a medical condition lasting three months or more that affects your capability to drive safely.
  • If you cannot drive safely due to a medical condition.

You may also decide to stop driving of your own volition.

To surrender your driving licence to the DVLA, you should download and complete a ’Declaration of Surrender for Medical Reasons’ from the DVLA website and post it to the following address:

Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1TU

If you are no longer driving and wish to sell your car, you have the option of selling privately, to a dealership – or to a car buying service, such as webuyanycar.

To find out how much your car may be worth, enter its registration number and mileage into our free car valuation tool.