Almost half a million drivers could have paid less for their licence if they'd renewed online - here's how to ensure you don't lose out
Around 460,000 (23% of) motorists could have saved a collective £2.3 million by renewing their driving licence online between April 2020 and March 2021, instead of by post, according to new figures from the DVLA. Meanwhile, an unknown number of other drivers could have saved by avoiding the Post Office's renewal service.
For most drivers, it costs £14 to renew your photocard driving licence online using GOV.UK and you will receive your new licence in five days. However, posting an application to the DVLA costs £17 and takes longer, while using the Post Office's application service costs an even pricier £21.50.
You are legally required to renew your photocard driving licence every 10 years and will receive a reminder from the DVLA before your current licence expires. Below we explain how to avoid paying more than you need to. You can also see our Driving Licence guide for more info on making sure your driving licence is up-to-date.
How to avoid paying more to renew than you need to
Renewing your licence online is straightforward – and it is always the cheapest way to do it. Here's how:
- To renew your licence if you're under 70, use the Gov.uk website, so long as you have any type of UK passport. You'll also need your current driving licence (if you do not have your licence you must say why in your application), and provide your national insurance number if you know it.
- If you're renewing your licence and you're 70 or over, there's a separate online process you'll need to follow. You can use the Gov.uk website to do this and you will need an email address, the addresses of where you’ve lived for the past three years, your national insurance number if you know it, and a valid UK passport number if you want to change the licence photo. You need to renew every three years once over the age of 70.
To apply for a provisional licence for the first time you can also use the Gov.uk website, which again is cheaper than using the postal or Post Office services. You'll need proof of identity, such as a valid UK biometric passport or a birth certificate, along with another form of ID, such as your national insurance number, if you don't have one of these. You'll also need to provide proof of address for the past three years, as well as your national insurance number if you know it.
If you do choose to apply or renew online, you can also track the progress of your driving licence application or renewal. You can also change the title, name and address on your driving licence for free online. You can also change your gender for free on your driving licence, although this can only be done by post.
Always make sure you're using the official Gov.uk website to avoid being caught out by unofficial copycat websites, which charge extra – see our Copycat Sites guide for full info on what to watch out for.
What if I have a paper driving licence?
If you have a paper licence issued before 1998, these generally don't expire until you're 70, so you don't need to do anything until then unless your address or personal details change. All licences must be in the photocard format by 2033.
Once you reach 70 there's no fee to renew, and you'll then get a photocard. If you want to upgrade before then, you can apply to change your paper licence for a photocard, though it'll cost £20 and you'll need to show extra ID (see Gov.uk). You can also do this at the Post Office for a fee of £20.
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