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Driving Licence Regulations UK

A driving licence is an official document authorising its holder to drive various types of motor vehicles around the United Kingdom. This help guide covers all the popular services and legal obligations with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

DVLA LICENCE: You need a drivers licence to use or operate vehicles on the roads and highways in Great Britain.

DVLA is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. They administer driving licences in England, Scotland and Wales. The DVA operates a similar role in Northern Ireland.

The police and local authorities enforce the Road Traffic Act 1988. The law states you need a driving licence for driving vehicles on any UK highway.

As a rule, British nationals do not carry identity cards. Even so, the modern photocard driving licence may serve as one, in certain situations.

A UK driving licence can meet the same purpose as an identity card even in non-driving situations. For example it may confirm proof of your identity when opening a bank account.

In most cases, being the holder of a driver’s licence will also verify your age such as when buying fireworks or for alcohol laws under 18.

UK Driving Licences Guide

Apply for Provisional or Full Licence

First Provisional Licence

You can apply for your first provisional driving licence online or by post. You get it from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.

Full Driving Licence

You can apply for a full driving licence after passing the practical driving test. As a rule, the examiner sends the pass certificate to the DVLA. It takes around 3 weeks to get a full driving licence.

Reapply after a Medical Condition

DVLA can revoke driver licences (take them away) or you may need to surrender it. Check how to apply for a driving licence following a medical condition.

Reapply after a Disqualification

Check how to reapply for a driving licence if you got disqualified. A disqualification can be for drink driving or for other offences.

Renew a Driving Licence

You can renew a driving licence online with the DVLA. Check the current cost, payment methods, and what documents you need.

Replacing a Full Licence

Check how to get a replacement provisional or full driving licence. You can apply online to replace a driving licence if it gets stolen, lost, damaged, or totally destroyed.

Note: Check the current cost to renew, replace, or amend your driving licence in the UK. The section lists driving licence fees for the different types of licences and how to pay.

Changing Licence Details

Change of Address

There is no fee to change address on a driving licence in the UK. Check out the easy process for changing an address on a driver’s licence online or by post.

Change of Name

Getting married means you may need to change the name on a driving licence. Check how to complete form D1 and what supporting documents you must send to DVLA.

Minibus Licence Requirements

In most cases, you can drive a minibus on a normal car licence (in the UK). Check the guide that explains minibus licence requirements and the conditions (e.g. minimum age limit).

Note: You may need to upgrade an automatic car driving licence so you can learn to drive a manual car.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Contacting the DVLA

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency take between two (2) and six (6) weeks to process applications. You should wait until the processing time has past before you contact the DVLA.

DVLA Vehicle Registration Enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6802
Monday to Friday: 8am to 7pm
Saturday: 8am to 2pm

DVLA Postal Address
Vehicle Customer Services
DVLA Swansea
SA99 1AR

Note: The main driving and transport section lists a range of other topics including procedures for learning to drive and driving with medical conditions.

Paying DVLA Fines

You can pay a DVLA fine online, by phone, or by post. The digital service allows you to pay DVLA fines for untaxed vehicles or for non declaration of a SORN.

Exchange Paper Licence for Photocard

Learn how to exchange a paper driving licence for a photocard. You can use the online process or make the change by post.

Note: There is an online facility that allows you to check whether you can drive in Great Britain with a non-GB driving licence.

Identity Documents

Find out which documents you need for driving licence identification in the UK. In some cases you need to provide specific proof of your identity when you apply to get a driving licence.

Legal Obligations for Drivers

Eyesight Regulations

What are the eyesight requirements for driving in the United Kingdom? This guide explains the DVLA legal eyesight standard for driving and for passing the driving test.

Law Guide

The list of drivers legal obligations includes having valid and current documents in place. Find out what the law says you must do before you drive a car or ride a motorcycle on the roads.

When a Driver Dies

Prevent further correspondence by telling DVLA a driver has died. Discover what information you need to give and how to deal with road tax if you keep or sell the vehicle.

Over 70 Driving Licence

Licences expire when you reach 70 so you would need to renew a driving licence at age 70 or older. Over 70s driving licence renewal online is easy or you can apply by post using form D46P.

Towing with a Car Licence

Car and Trailer Test

If you need a license to drive a trailer you will need to take the car and trailer driving test (B+E). The section explains when you can book a car and trailer test and what happens during process.

Towing and Car Licences

Check the rules for towing with a car licence and the meaning of Maximum Authorised Mass. The guide explains how your driving licence categories determine what type of trailer or caravan you can tow.

Trailer Safety Checks

You should carry out certain checks before you tow a caravan, horsebox, or trailer with a car. The law requires you to tow trailers that are safe and legal.

View Driving Licence Information

Driving Licence Categories

The list of driving licence categories shows all the different classes. The explanations of category meanings describe the entitlements on a licence and what vehicles it allows you to drive.

Driving Licence Codes

The DVLA places codes on a driving licence with conditions that the holder must meet. The explanations will help you understand what the different driving licence codes mean.

Inspecting Your Licence Details

You can inspect or share your driving licence information online. It is a useful way of creating a ‘check code’ when hiring a car and to see what information DVLA holds on your licence.

Old Driving Licence Categories

Over the years there have been several big changes to the way driving licences look. Use the information in the section to compare old and new driving licence categories.

Note: You can also check someone else’s driving licence information with their permission (e.g. to find out if they have penalty points and what vehicles they can drive).

Driving Licence Regulations in the United Kingdom