When you reach the age of 70 you have to renew your driving licence and then every three years after that.
You can renew your licence online, which takes about a week, or via the post which takes a little longer – approximately three weeks.
Whilst accepting that not everyone is online, renewing your licence via the Internet is the simplest and easiest way to do it. To access the service you need to be registered with GOV.UK and obtain a Government Gateway ID. The website address is: www.gov.uk/renew-driving-licence-at-70.
You can start your renewal at anytime from 90 days prior to your 70th birthday. At this point the DVLA will automatically send you form D46P in the post advising you of the need to renew – if you receive such a form don’t ignore it, if you do your licence will expire on your 70th birthday and you won’t be able to legally drive until such time as you have renewed it.
There is no fee to renew your driving licence.
What are the rules?
To be able to renew, you must meet the eligibility criteria which is as follows:
- Your British licence has expired – or it’s going to expire within 90 days.
- You’re a resident of Great Britain (there’s a different service in Northern Ireland).
- You meet the minimum eyesight requirement (see below).
- You aren’t prevented from driving for any reason.
What is the minimum eyesight requirement?
The Government website states that:
- You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres.
- You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) using both eyes together or, if you have sight in one eye only, in that eye.
- You must also have an adequate field of vision – your optician can tell you about this and do a test.
If you wear glasses or contact lenses to help you meet the “standards of vision for driving” then you must wear these every time you drive. You must also tell the DVLA if you’ve got any problem with your eyesight that affects both of your eyes, or the remaining eye if you only have one eye. However, this doesn’t include being short or long sighted or colour blind. You also don’t need to say if you’ve had surgery to correct short sightedness but can meet the eyesight standards.
What you need
If you are renewing online, as well as your Government Gateway ID (mentioned previously) you will also need:
- Details of all the postal addresses you have lived at during the last three years.
- Your National Insurance number.
- A valid UK passport number (if you want to change the photo on your licence at the same time).
Can I still drive until my licence is renewed?
The simple answer is yes, you can still drive while your licence is being renewed but you must meet all the following conditions:
- You have the support of your doctor to continue driving.
- You had a valid licence.
- You only drive under the conditions of the previous licence.
- Your application is less than a year old.
- Your last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons.
- You’re not currently disqualified.
- You weren’t disqualified as a high risk offender on or after 1 June 2013.
Make sure you know the rules and if you need to renew your licence don’t delay.