If you’ve still got your pre-1998 paper driving licence, you can exchange it for a photocard licence – but don’t feel forced to do so, as paper driving licence is still valid and won’t leave you having to replace it every 10 years.
Find out the essential information here, including how to change to a photocard licence and if you can drive while the exchange is taking place.
You must get a new licence if:
- You change your address
- Your licence has been defaced, lost, stolen or destroyed
- You change your name
- You’re getting a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence driver qualification card.
If none of the above apply to you, then your paper licence is still valid and you won’t need to exchange it for a photocard version.
Even if my paper licence is still valid, can I exchange it for a photocard licence anyway?
If your paper driving licence is still valid, then you can exchange it for a photocard licence if you want – Just follow the application process below.
How can I apply for a photocard licence?
You can apply online using your Government Gateway ID here – or register if you do not have an account.
If you’re applying online, according to the DVLA you’ll need to:
- Have your driving licence
- Be a resident of Great Britain
- Meet the minimum eyesight requirement
- Not be prevented from driving for any reason
- Pay £20 by Visa, Electron, Maestro, MasterCard or Delta debit or credit card
- Have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
- Have your National Insurance number
- Provide addresses of where you have lived for the last three years
You can also apply in person or by post.
You’ll need to complete a D1 form, which you can obtain from the DVLA form ordering service or from a Post Office.
You’ll also need to include:
- Original identity documents
- A colour passport-type photograph
- The fee of £20 if you’re applying by post make cheques or postal orders payable to DVLA – do not send cash)
Send all your documents to
Can I drive before I get my new licence?
If you meet all the following conditions according to the DVLA, you can drive while your licence is being exchanged:
- You have a valid licence
- You have the support of your doctor to continue driving
- You can only drive under the conditions of the previous licence
- Your application is less than one year old
- Your last licence was not revoked or refused for medical conditions
- You’re not currently disqualified
- You were not disqualified as a high-risk offender on or after June 1, 2013