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Exchange Paper Licence for Photocard

In some situations, such as when changing your name or address, exchanging an old paper driving licence to the new photocard version is compulsory. The information in this section explains how to replace, or convert, old-style paper driving licences for photocards online or by postal methods.

How to Change Your Paper Driving Licence?

Common reasons for getting a new photo licence include:

  • Changing your registered address.
  • A change of name or gender (you must use paper form D1 or D2 and apply by postal methods).
  • It got destroyed, defaced, lost, or stolen.
  • To become a qualified lorry or bus driver (e.g. to get the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) driver qualification card (DQC).

Note: The process to exchange a paper licence to photocard is also available in Welsh language ‘Cyfnewid eich trwydded yrru bapur am drwydded cerdyn-llun‘ (Cymraeg).

It is not compulsory to have a photocard driving license if none of the reasons for exchanging apply to you. Thus, as long as your paper licence is still valid, there is no need to exchange it for the photo version.

You will need to:

Important: You must apply by post for a change of name. Use form D1 for cars and motorbikes and form D2 for lorries and buses. You can get the forms from most Post Office branches.

Photographs Used for Photocard Licences

As a rule, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will use a UK digital passport photo. But, what if the DVLA cannot use it, or you want them to use a different one?

In this case, you would need to send a photograph to the DVLA address by post. The online application process would send you the correct form after completion. Thus, you would be able to return the form with your chosen photograph.

Driving While Exchanging Your Licence

As long as you meet all the conditions below, you can drive while the DVLA exchanges your licence. To continue driving (all must apply):

  • Your driver’s licence was valid and you will drive under the same conditions as the previous one.
  • The application for your new licence is not more than one year.
  • Your doctor also supports the decision for you to continue driving.
  • The previous licence did not get revoked or refused based on medical reasons.
  • You are not currently disqualified from driving or disqualified as a high risk offender (since the 1st of June 2013).

The DVLA sends out a confirmation email after receiving online applications. They may also ask you to take part in some research by email (you can opt out of the survey).

Note: The DVLA produces promotional material titled ‘Can I drive while my application is with DVLA? (INF188/6)‘ (e.g. the rules for driving while waiting for a licence).

Replace Paper Driving Licence by Post

There are several other ways to apply for the new plastic photocard driving licence. You can make an application in person at the DVLA in Swansea. You can also apply using normal postal methods.

Complete form D1 to exchange a paper licence to photocard by post. You can get it from the DVLA form ordering service or from any large Post Office branch.

You would need to include:

You should send all the relevant documents and payment to:

SA99 1BU

Note: The DVLA try to send a new photocard driving licence within three (3) weeks. But, it can take longer if they need to check any medical details or personal information.

DVLA How to Change Paper Driving Licence in the United Kingdom