The last thing any of us need during a time of high inflation, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, is a completely avoidable £1,000 fine. However, the DVLA has announced that more than 900,000 drivers (2% of all UK drivers) are at risk of a £1,000 fine after failing to renew their photocard licence which expired in the past year.
Many drivers may not realise that photocards need to be renewed every 10 years with an up-to-date photograph. Why not check your photocard expiry date right now: find it listed in section 4b on the front of your card.
Here’s the cinch: if a driver fails to return an expired licence to the DVLA, it becomes an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and is punishable with a fine of up to £1,000!
The only time the DVLA permits anyone to drive with an expired licence is while it is processing your renewal application.
How do I renew my driving licence?
In theory, you should hear from the DVLA 56 days before your licence expires to remind you to renew. However, many drivers don’t receive the letter as they forget to update the DVLA when they move address!
With intermittent Royal Mail strikes there is a risk of delays and perhaps even getting lost in the post, so the key to ensuring you are ‘above board’ is to be proactive. Check the date right now and contact the DVLA if your licence has expired.
It’s also a case of being reassured that, even if your licence has now expired, the DVLA will not fine you for renewing it – so you really have nothing to lose in updating it, even if it is a little late.
The DVLA advises people to renew on its official website, which you can find here, as it is the quickest and cheapest method. Renewals by post can take around 4 weeks.
- Online applications cost £14 and are usually processed within five days.
- You can apply by post using the ‘D1 pack’ which you can obtain from a post office.
- You can also apply at the post office, but they do charge an extra £4.50 to take your photograph, on top of the £17 fee, but the cost includes postage.
If you simply need to change your address (to ensure you get a reminder 56 days prior to your licence expiry date) you can do so here. There are no limits to the number of times you can change your name and address with the DVLA. And, don’t forget to also update your V5C (vehicle log book), which is completely free to do here.
It’s worth noting that:
- Once you reach the age of 70 there is no renewal fee to pay, however you will still need to renew your licence every three years.
- If you still have a paper licence that was issued before 1998, these tend not to expire until you are 70, so you won’t need to do anything unless your name or address details have changed.
- All licences will need to be in the photocard format by 2033.
Do I need to renew my driver’s licence if I’ve stopped driving?
A small proportion of the 926,000 are likely to have stopped driving without notifying the DVLA.
If this is due to a medical condition, you can download a ‘Declaration of voluntary surrender’ and send it to the DVLA with your driving licence.
If you obtain your doctor’s approval to drive again after surrendering your licence, you will need to reapply for a new licence.
If your circumstances have changed and you are no longer driving, don’t forget to get in contact with us and we will ensure that you are not paying for car insurance cover you no longer need. You can find your local branch here – give your friendly team a call directly, they are here to help.