You’ve done it. After hours of lessons and practising, you have officially passed your driving test, got your UK driving licence and are ready to begin your new life on the road. What now? Surely your driving licence photo can’t last forever? You’re right, it does have an expiration date – 10 (ten) years, to be precise. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are in charge of driving licences, and it is with them that you must renew your driving licence photo. To find out how, read on as Passport Photo Online puts you in the driving seat to get the new licence photo that you want with no fuss.
In this article:
- Regular renewal of UK driving licence
- UK provisional driving licence
- Driving licence photo requirements
- When your driving licence gets stolen, becomes lost or is damaged
- Renewing your Northern Ireland driving licence photo
Regular renewal of UK driving licence
The only way to renew your driving licence photo is to renew your driving licence entirely. Your full UK driving licence already requires regular renewal if you want to keep driving. For a standard driving licence, the validity period is 10 (ten) years, and you will receive a reminder letter when yours is getting close to expiring. Other forms of licence may have different periods of validity.
While 10 (ten) years is the bare minimum for renewing your driving licence photo, you can apply to renew your driving licence, and therefore your driving licence photo, whenever you want. When you do come to renew your licence photo, there are three main options you have.
Update your photo on driving licence – online
The first method is to apply online. This part couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is go to the DVLA’s page on the UK Government website and look for the application form for renewing your UK driving licence.
Once you fulfil all those criteria, simply submit the online form, mail your supporting documents to the vehicle licensing agency and you’ll be ready to go! The DVLA will replace your driving licence photo with your current passport photo, so if you do not have a passport, you won’t be able to use this option. Instead, you will need to use one of the following methods on our list.
Updating your driving licence photo – on paper
If you do not wish to renew online, then you may also renew through a paper application. Specifically, you require a D1 (Application for a Driving Licence) form, which can be found at most post offices. Simply take a copy home with you and fill it out. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to send it off to the DVLA at this address:
You will need to include a new passport-style photo, your current licence, provided you have it, as well as a postal order for the renewal fee of £17, made payable to the DVLA. If you have recently changed your name, you will need to provide identity documents to prove that you are still the same person.
Updating your driving licence photo with the Post Office
Much like the Passport Check and Send service, the Post Office allows you to submit your driving licence photo renewal directly to them. They will work with you to check over your application, to make sure it’s been filled out correctly and will take a new driving licence photo with you, to make sure it is compliant with the rules. All you need to bring with you is your old licence, if you have it, and enough money to pay the £21 fee. If you haven’t yet received a reminder letter, you will need to bring your driving licence to the Post Office if you wish to apply this way. If you have recently changed your name, you won’t be able to apply at the Post Office, you will need to apply by post.
UK provisional driving licence
Before you pass your test, you will need to get a provisional driving licence, which allows you to drive on UK roads, when accompanied by someone over 21. This allows you to learn to drive and train for your test without needing a full driving licence. Like the full licence, you will have 10 (ten) years of validity on your provisional licence. While most pass their test within the 2 (two) year window after passing the theory test, you may wish to renew your photo during that time, for example, if your appearance has changed substantially.
Renew a provisional driving licence photo – online
The process for renewing a provisional driving licence online is exactly the same as it is for a full driving licence. Simply go to the UK Government website and work your way through the application form, as usual. All the same criteria apply, and you will still be informed of which supporting documents you’ll need in good time. The DVLA will still default to using your passport photo to replace your current driving licence photo.
Renew a provisional driving licence with a new photo – on paper
As with a full driving licence photo renewal, your first step is to go down to your local Post Office and retrieve the relevant D1 form. Fill it out at home, and send it to the DVLA, along with your current driving licence, a recent (taken in the last month) passport-style photo and a postal order for the £17 fee, payable to the DVLA. After that, simply wait for your new provisional driving licence to be delivered to your door!
Renew a provisional driving licence with the Post Office
It’s possible to renew your provisional driving licence at the Post Office, too. Just take your current licence in and the Post Office employees will help you take care of the rest – it can give you a little extra peace of mind when preparing your application. Make sure you can pay the fee in-branch.
Driving licence photo requirements
When you’re getting your new driving licence photo ready, the most important thing to remember is to make sure it fits the government requirements. Luckily, driving licence photos only need to meet the passport photo requirements, which makes the whole thing nice and easy. Here’s what you need to remember:
- The picture needs to be well-focused and clear. Black and white photos will not be accepted, so make sure your photo is in colour. Best to either use a digital camera or a phone that has a good quality camera.
- The picture needs to be recent. The government rules specify that it must have been taken within the last month.
- Make sure that your whole head can be seen. Your head needs to be taking up between 29 and 34 mm of the picture.
- Make sure that nothing is covering your face, especially your eyes and eyebrows. Remove any red-eye effect from the picture as well.
- Face your body forwards and look straight into the camera.
- Wear a natural facial expression (that means avoid smiling or frowning). Make sure that your mouth is closed and your eyes are open.
- You need to use a plain background, cream or light-grey in colour, and make sure no shadows or other objects are cluttering it up.
- You should remove any prescription glasses unless it is medically necessary for you to wear them. Sunglasses or other tinted glasses are not allowed under any circumstances.
- Head coverings must also be removed, in case they cover your face. Religious or medical headwear is allowed.
Getting your new photo right is the most important part of the driving licence renewal application process. Familiarising yourself with these rules is the best way to make sure that your application is accepted.
When your driving licence gets stolen, becomes lost or is damaged
If your driving licence is lost or stolen, the first thing you need to do is contact the police to inform them of what’s happened. As the perennial form of ID in the UK, losing your driving licence may expose you to identity theft, so telling the police should protect you from the effects of this. If your passport is merely damaged, you won’t need to contact the police, but will still need to replace your licence if you are not recognisable.
To replace your licence, you’ll need to contact the DVLA to put in a request for one. If you wish to qualify for a replacement licence, you will need:
- To be eligible to drive (e.g. not disqualified);
- To be residing in Great Britain;
- To be able to provide the last 3 (three) years worth of addresses.
In general, the DVLA will use your passport photo, if:
- You currently hold a valid UK passport.
- Your driving licence will be expiring within the next 2 (two) years.
- You are prepared to give the DVLA permission to use your photo.
If a suitable passport photo is not available, then you will be sent a form with which you can select your own driving licence photo.
If you find your lost/stolen licence after asking for a new one, you can’t cancel the application. You should send your old driving licence to the DVLA at the address listed above, explaining what happened.
Renewing your Northern Ireland driving licence photo
In Northern Ireland, driving licences are slightly different. They are made up of two parts, the photocard driving licence, much like the one issued in England, Scotland and Wales, along with an old-style paper driving licence. Northern Ireland’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will send you a notice two months before your expiry date, so you can begin the process of applying for your renewal.
The reminder notice also carries a paper application form, the DL1R form, which you can use to apply for a new passport. When you submit this form, you will need to include your current photocard licence along with your paper licence and your new biometric photo. All of these materials must be submitted to the DVA at this address:
Driver & Vehicle Agency, County Hall
Castlerock Road, Waterside
It is possible to renew your Northern Irish passport online, too. The process is much like it is in Great Britain, simply go onto the DVA’s website and apply through the online portal. You will be asked to provide a passport photo (fitting the same specifications as British passport photos) and upload it to the online application. Once your application has been processed, then both your photocard licence and your paper licence will reach you within 10 (ten) days. Most driving licence renewals will cost £30.00, however, this fee will be waived if you are aged 70 or over, or are on a temporary medical licence.
In general, the DVA will only begin to accept driving licence renewals when you are 2 (two) months from the expiration date, so you won’t be able to renew your photo whenever you feel like it. They will let you renew it earlier, but only if you need to change your address, or if you need to replace a licence that has been lost or stolen.
If you need to replace a lost or stolen licence, you will be able to do so online or by post as usual. You will need to return any remaining parts of your Northern Ireland driving licence to the DVA, as these will no longer be valid. Provided you have held a licence issued since 1st January 1976 and have no reason, medical or otherwise, to be banned from driving, you will be able to drive while waiting for your licence.
If you find your old licence in the meantime, send it to the DVLA with an explanation of what happened.
Renew your driving licence photo with Passport Photo Online
Now you’ve got all the information you need to renew your driving licence photo, you just need to get a suitable picture. If you want an easy way to get a photo that is guaranteed to be accepted by the DVLA or DVA, then consider giving Passport Photo Online a go!
Our advanced AI can get you a professional-quality photo, quickly and simply, from the comfort of your own home! All you need to do is follow our simple 3 (three) step process:
- Locate and prepare your setting. Make sure there’s even lighting (look for natural light if you can) and no glare or shadows. If you can’t find a background of a suitable colour, it doesn’t matter! Our app will remove the background, making a perfect neutral setting. In some circumstances, we can even erase shadows and glare, too!
- Get a friend or family member to take your picture (you can’t use a selfie) and upload it to our website or mobile app (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play). You can also upload an existing photo (taken within the last month) if you’d prefer, but remember the picture must meet the criteria.
- Wait 3 seconds and your new driving licence photo will be ready! If you’re not satisfied, you can repeat the process until you are.
Getting your new driving licence photo using Passport Photo Online can save you up to 54%. This is a huge saving, freeing up money for you to invest in your next big road trip (every long journey needs a snack budget 😄). Our company guarantee also covers every photo we send out: if your driving licence application is denied because of a photo we edited, we’ll refund you 200% of what you paid.
You’ll only ever need to pay for the final picture, so you can make as many attempts as you want, 10, 100, even 1000, it doesn’t matter to us! Once you’re photo’s ready, we can send you a digital copy or a paper reel, ready for your driving licence application.
Renew your driving licence photo: summing up
It doesn’t matter how far along your licence’s validity you are, it’s still possible to renew your driving licence photo. If you’d like to choose your own photo rather than just using your passport photo, you will need to take on a paper application. Helpfully, British driving licence photos in the UK are no different to UK passport photos, so you won’t need to learn a whole new system.
This is where Passport Photo Online shines, as the AI checker can easily spot even subtle infractions to help you get the perfect driving licence photo. Once the application’s ready, you can just send it off and begin prepping for that epic cross-country drive you’ve been meaning to take, seeing all the beautiful sights and taking in the peace of the open road. 🚗
Renew your driving licence photo: FAQ
So you know how to renew your driving licence photo. Still got questions? That’s okay, we’ve got all the questions you might ever need answering right here.
How to renew a driving licence photo?
There are two main ways to renew your driving licence photo. First, there’s the online application. This involves simply going onto the UK Government website and filling out the online form, making sure to send off the relevant materials when prompted. The other option is to take a D1 application form from your nearest post office, fill it out at home and submit it through the post. Both renew your passport photo, however, only the postal application form will allow you to select your own photo, whereas the online application will merely use your current passport photo to replace your driving licence photo.
How to renew your driving licence photo with your passport?
It’s very easy to use your passport to renew your driving licence photo. All you need to do is submit an online application to renew your licence. You will be required to submit your passport, and your passport photo will become your new driving licence photo automatically. If you wish to use a different picture, you will be required to use other channels.
What are the requirements to renew a driving licence photo?
Provided you’re eligible to drive and have access to all the materials listed above, you don’t need to fulfil any specific requirements to renew your driving licence photo – you can do it whenever you want! All you need to do is make sure that the driving licence photo you pick fits the relevant criteria, which you can also find above.
How much will it cost to renew a driving licence photo?
The cost of a driving licence photo renewal will depend on the method you use to get it. Here’s a breakdown of the costs (all information is correct at the time of writing):
– Online licence renewal: £14
– Paper licence renewal: £17
– Post Office licence renewal: £21.50
How to renew a driving licence photo at the Post Office?
If you want a bit of extra assurance that your driving licence photo renewal will pass muster with the DVLA, the Post Office offers a service that will be extremely helpful. If you bring your current licence, a reminder letter (where applicable) and £21.50, they can go through the process of preparing the application with you, for that little bit of extra peace of mind.
Having graduated with a History degree from the University of Birmingham, Sam has proven writing experience in local journalism, marketing and events. Born in the UK, he has travelled extensively both nationally and internationally. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cycling and skateboarding.