Make sure your driving licence photo is up to date

Research recently carried out by Sainsbury’s Car Insurance warns that more than 1.6 million drivers may have an out of date photograph on their driving licence which could leave them at risk of incurring a fine of up to £1,000.

The report, which follows a Freedom of Information request carried out by Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, discovered that many motorists were unaware that they were under a duty to update their photographs every ten years (whether or not they are active drivers), meaning that a further 3 million must be renewed by the end of 2012 and that within the next five years a staggering 13 million drivers must do so if they are to remain within the law.

The report goes on to say that according to the DVLA, fewer than one in three of those drivers with an expired licence are aware that their licence has expired and that a further 10 million people do not know when their driving licence expires whilst 234,984 of expired photo card licences have been out of date since 2009 or before.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s car insurance said:

“The photo card driving licence was introduced in 1998 so it’s unsurprising that those issued with a licence around that time may not remember that they need to update their photograph. We would therefore encourage all drivers to check when their photo card was issued and ensure that they arrange to update their photo when required to avoid risking a £1,000 fine.

“Drivers should also remember that their photo card licence serves as more than just a driving licence. Should they intend to use it as a form of identification for other things such as hiring a car or an internal flight, for example, having an out of date photograph could cause problems or delays.”

So how can you check whether your photo, or even your licence, has expired and how can you go about renewing it?

If the photo on your driving licence no longer resembles you – for example because it is very much out of date, you have dramatically changed the style of your hair or added/removed a beard, then you need to think about changing it anyway. Otherwise, you need to look at the renewal date on your licence.

Renewing the photo on your licence could not be simpler and can be done in a number of ways:


To renew your driving licence online you need to go to the Directgov web site (www.direct.gov.uk), select the motoring link and choose the driver licensing section. There you will find a link to enable you to apply to update the photo online.

You will need to:

  • have a valid UK passport issued within the last five years;
  • be a resident of Great Britain;
  • pay £20.00 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card;
  • not currently be prevented from driving for any reason;
  • provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years; and
  • have your driving licence (if you do not have your driving licence you must indicate why as part of your application).

If your name has changed you will not be able to apply online.

At a Post Office

You can apply to renew the photo on your driving licence at a selected Post Office. If you have received a D798 renewal reminder form, you will be notified of the closest Post Office branches to your address or you can find out where a suitable Post Office is by going to the Post Office website or by telephoning the Post Office Helpline on 0845 722 3344.

If using the Post Office you will need to take with you:

  • The photo renewal form D798;
  • Both the photocard and counterpart of your licence if you have them; and
  • The fee of £20.00.

There will be a fee of £4.50 in addition to the renewal fee for using the Post Office service.

Your details will be sent electronically by the to DVLA who will then issue you with a new licence which should arrive within three weeks (longer if the DVLA have to check your medical or personal details).

In the event that you have not received a renewal reminder you can still renew your photo at selected Post Offices. Again you should take with you the photocard and counterpart of your current licence.

By Post

If you do not want to apply online or at a Post Office you can do so by post. You’ll need to:

  • fill in the photo renewal form D798;
  • include a new passport type photo of yourself. This must be recent and a true likeness;
  • return both the photocard and counterpart of your licence. If either or both parts are lost you will need to indicate this at the appropriate place;
  • enclose a cheque or postal order for £20.00; and
  • send your application and fee (if applicable) to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1DH.

If you have changed your name, you’ll also need to provide identity documents as proof.

Contact Us

For more information about how Richard Nelson LLP can assist you with motoring and road traffic matters, get in touch with our experienced solicitors on 0333 888 4040.

We offer telephone advice during which we can provide preliminary advice in respect of all road traffic offences. If the matter is one which requires representation at court, we can agree a fee on an hourly rate or fixed fee basis. In certain circumstances, we may be able to offer representation on a legal aid basis.

Should you require advice or representation in respect of a road traffic matter please:

  • request a free call-back using the call-back form on the home page,
  • phone us during office hours on 0333 888 4040,
  • email us at help@rnllp.co.uk.
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