You can check if your driving licence is valid by looking at section 4b on the front of your licence. 4b is the date at which your driving licence will expire. This applies to both full or provisional driving licences. You may also see the driving licence expiry date printed on your photo.
Why do Driving Licences Expire?
Driving licences expire because of the digital identification photo. The black and white photo makes up part of the driving licence security, enabling more efficient and accurate identification by authorities. An up to date licence also can help to prevent fraud and identity theft.
How Long is a Driving Licence Valid?
As you age, your facial features change and over time may differ significantly from the photo on your licence. It’s due to the photo that a photocard driving licence is valid for 10 years. Before your current licence expires, you must renew it if you intend on driving. The DVLA write to all photocard licence holders informing them that their licence is due for renewal.
Note; If you still hold the old paper driving licence (issued pre-1998), these tend not to expire until you’re 70 years old.
Is it Illegal to Drive with an Expired Licence?
Yes, it is illegal to drive with an expired driving licence and it comes with the potential of being fined £1000 and gaining between 3 and 6 penalty points. Driving with an expired licence is quite a common offence, in fact the DVLA state that there’s currently over 2 million photocard licences that are out of date.
There’s also a greater risk if you’re involved in an accident. If your licence has expired, it’s therefore invalid and this may affect your car insurance policy. You car insurance provider may be well within their rights to refuse a payout or may offer to pay a reduced amount leaving you significantly out of pocket and potentially liable to legal action.
How do I Renew My Driving Licence?
The easiest way to renew your driving licence is via the Gov.uk website. If renewing via the government website, you’ll need a valid passport. If you do not have a valid passport, you can renew at a Post Office that has the facilities to deal with DVLA photocard renewal, or you can renew your licence by post. If renewing by post, you’ll need to order the D1 Pack forms to send the DVLA.
My Licence has Expired, Will I be Fined?
If there’s a delay in renewing an expired driving licence, the DVLA tend to be lenient, so you wont be fined. However, if the delay has been for two or more years, the DVLA may request a valid reason for the delay and as a result, there is the potential for you being required to take another driving test.
Do I Need to Renew My Licence if I Move Home?
If you have changed address and not informed the DVLA, there’s a risk of being fined £1000 if caught driving by the police. You can do this free of charge via the the Gov.uk website. Note; updating your address will not renew your driving licence and the expiry date will remain the same. If you want to renew your driving licence, you’ll also need to send a new photo. Updating your address details is free, but updating your photo (renewing your licence) is charged at a fee detailed on the government website.