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To legally drive a car in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you will need a driving licence - a document which authorises you to operate motor vehicles on highways and other public roads.
This is a credit card-sized document with a biometric photo of its holder, containing their personal data and information about the category of vehicles that the bearer is authorised to drive. Do you know what the requirements are for a United Kingdom driving licence photo?
When you apply for a driving licence in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you'll need to provide a photograph which must meet the requirements set by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (in England, Scotland and Wales) or Driver & Vehicle Agency (in Northern Ireland).
There is no requirement that states that you need to take the picture professionally, so you are allowed to take it yourself, at home, with the assistance of a tripod or a friend. We can assure you that you are definitely able to take the photo with a smartphone, tablet or a digital camera.
Remember, this picture must follow specific guidelines regarding the size, cropping, view and composition. You need to know which items (e.g. glasses, headwear, headphones etc.) are prohibited in the photo and some other details. We have gathered all of the necessary information and presented it in an easy to read article on the UK driving licence photo guidelines. After reading our article you will know:
Your photo must have been taken recently and the image must represent your current appearance. This means the photo cannot have been taken more than a month before you submit your driving licence application. You can use a passport photo as long as it is no older than one month old..
The good news is that your photo for your driving licence may also be used for other documents such as passports, visas, licences etc. as many times as you want. If you use Passport Photo Online, the UK driving licence photo generator, you can have the finished product sent directly to your email. The picture will be saved in JPEG format, and you can upload it to any online application or even print it if you wish.
There is only one correct size for this type of photograph: 35mmx45 mm or 3.5cmx4.5cm or 1.38 x 1.77 inches.
The image of your head (without your neck and the upper part of your shoulders) must measure between 29 mm and 34 mm high. Your head must be positioned in the central part of the image and there must be 3-5 mm of space between the top of your head and the upper edge of the photo. This includes the hair, so if you have a luxuriant hairstyle, make sure that this requirement is satisfied.
If you are unsure how to resize and crop your picture, use Passport Photo Online, a photo generator that is a dedicated tool designed to help users with their passport, visa or driving licence photos.
The background in biometric photos must be cream or light grey, always in one colour and with no shadows. The background must be plain and free of patterns. No other people or items must be visible in your photo. How to be sure that the background is correct?
Download Passport Photo Online background removing photo app and remove any unsuitable background. You can change it into a light, plain one in 3 seconds!
The photo that is to be used for official documents must be original. But what does this requirement mean?
All it means is that the picture cannot be a photocopy or a cut-out from a larger image. For example, some candidates try to zoom in on their holiday photos, cut out their head and try to attach it as a driving licence picture. This doesn’t work. You have to take an original photograph of your face if you want to attach the image to an application form.
Moreover, the “originality” requirement also means that the UK driving licence picture must not be altered with Photoshop or any other softwares. Of course, we all like to look good in our photos, but every picture that is used on official documents is checked by artificial intelligence and if the tool detects any kind of alteration on your face, the authorities will reject the photo because of the risk of identity theft. So, do not retouch your picture at all and do not use any filters.
In order to maintain security and protect you from identity theft, the photo in the document must be biometric and meet some rules about how to pose in this type of picture.
The camera lens must be positioned at eye level and your head must be situated centrally in the image. The picture must be a close-up and a front facing view only.
In your photo, you are required to:
Your photo that is to be included with the application form must be printed to professional standards - using photo-quality paper that is undamaged and without any creases or tears.
Moreover, your photo must be:
You are allowed to wear glasses in your driving licence photo in the United Kingdom. However, you are required to ensure that their frames do not obscure your eyes and do not cast any shadows on your face. You must also control the light so that they do not give off any glare. The glasses must be transparent and your pupils must be clearly visible.
If you wear a head covering as a part of your religious attire it may be worn in a picture that is used on a driving licence in the United Kingdom. It may be, for example, a hijab, turban, yarmulke etc. but not a niqab, because the head covering must not obscure any part of your face and must not cast a shadow on your skin or eyes. Other headwear such as caps, hats or headbands are strictly forbidden.
For proper contrast it is best to wear a shirt, and headgear if you wear it, in a colour that contrasts to the background. The only other rule regarding clothing is that you can’t wear uniforms.
You do not need to remove facial piercings and jewellery while taking a photo for your United Kingdom driving licence, as long as they don’t obscure any part of your face. You must also make sure there isn’t any reflection from your rings or studs.
Be aware that big or shiny earrings may obscure the edges of your face, so consider taking them off before taking a picture. You must also remove any headbands or large, decorative hair accessories.
Nowadays we like to do almost everything via the Internet. Due to pandemic restrictions we can't, or don’t want to, leave our houses. Taking a photo for any official document at home is easier, cheaper, and lets people save time and energy, which makes it a popular choice around the world.
We have prepared a list of the most common mistakes people make when taking these pictures. Now, you will be able to avoid a situation where your photo is rejected and you need to start the application process all over again, from the beginning.
Remember that your picture MUST NOT BE:
The most commonly made mistakes that people make when taking their UK driving licence photos are:
Also, don’t forget to check the size specifications and make sure the background colour is correct. You can use a smart resizing and photo cropping app, that is available in the Google PlayStore and the Apple App Store.
Do you want to be sure that your UK driving licence photo is 100% correct? Download an online photo App that will help you to resize your image to the required size of 35mmx45mm and adjust the size of your head and crop the photo accordingly. This tool also adjusts the background to ensure it is correct and meets the requirements, and it verifies if everything is as required. Once you order the photo on our website, you have a guarantee of approval by authorities.
Photo requirements are based on: www.nidirect.gov.uk
Last update: 24/05/2022
💡 Should I remove my piercing for my UK driving licence picture?
No, you can keep it on as long as it does not obscure your facial features.
💡 How to remove the wrong background from my UK driving licence photo?
If you want to have a plain, cream or light grey background in your photo for a driving licence, the best option is to download a background remover photo app and select the relevant document you need the photo for from our selection and upload your photo. The rest will be done automatically!
💡 Should I submit a new photo if I change or renew my driving licence in the UK?
Yes, this is a requirement. And the requirements for the photo are the same regardless of which number driving licence this will be.
💡 Can I attach a selfie as a driving licence photo in the United Kingdom?
No, selfies may distort your facial features and are not accepted as formal pictures. Ask somebody for help or use a tripod and the self-timer function to take the correct photograph for any document.
💡 Are hijabs allowed in a driving licence photo in the UK?
Yes, if you wear any head covering as part of your religious attire, you may keep it in the picture for your UK driving licence. Just make sure that it does not obscure any part of your face.
💡 What to wear in the photo for my UK driving licence?
There is no official dress-code for a driving licence photo in Great Britain. Just do not wear a uniform and shirt or top that is the same colour as the background.
💡 How to crop and resize a photo for my driving licence in the UK?
The best option is to use a cropping and resizing Photo App. Select a template for “UK driving licence photo” and upload your picture. The tool will correctly resize and crop the image in 3 seconds.
💡 What are the requirements for a UK driving licence photo?
The basic requirements for a UK driving licence photo are:
💡 Can I cut my head out from a larger photo for my UK driving licence?
No, you cannot. Your photo for your UK driving licence must be an original photo that is newly taken, and be a close-up of your head with your neck and the upper part of your shoulders visible. Do not cut it out from another picture as it may cause your application to be rejected.
💡 Can I retouch my UK driving licence photo?
No, do not use computer software, filters or Photoshop to interfere with your picture. The photo must be original, otherwise you risk its rejection.
💡 What size is a driving licence photo in the UK?
The dimensions of a driving licence photo in the United Kingdom are the same as the requirements for a passport: 35mmx45 mm.
💡 How much does a driving licence photo cost in England?
If you decide to go to a professional photo studio, it may not be cheap, however, you will pay a bit less in a photo booth. As you can see, the prices vary depending on where you take the photo. The most convenient option is taking the picture on your own, with the help of a tripod or a friend, and editing it with Photo Online Generator - you will pay just a small part of the usual costs and the quality of the photo will be exactly the same.
💡 Is there an App for creating UK driving licence photos?
Yes, the PhotoAid App, which is based on artificial intelligence. This tool not only resizes, crops and changes the background of the image into one that fits the requirements, but it also verifies if your pose and photo composition is correct. It is a real help for anyone who wants to save time and money and create photographs on their own.
💡 Where can I print my driving license photo in the United Kingdom?
Don’t do this at home, on your inkjet printer as photos for official documents must be produced using the correct printing process. You can print your shots at a one-hour printing service or go to a local photo studio to have the photos printed for you. You can also find a photo lab which delivers the ready prints to a client’s address.
💡 Can I wear glasses in my UK driving licence photo?
You can but only if your glasses are transparent and their frames do not cover your eyes, as your eyes must be fully visible.
💡 Can I wear makeup in my English driving license photo?
Yes, you can. Certain face powders are even recommended as they help your face not to shine. If you normally wear make-up, you might want to apply it more heavily than usual, but not in a way that changes your appearance to dramatic effect.
💡 Can I take a driving licence photo with my phone?
Yes and we recommend that you do. The first step is to download the UK Driving Licence Photo Editor onto your iPhone or a phone with Android. Then you simply upload your picture and this smart tool will edit it for you.
💡 Where can I take a driving licence photo near me?
You do not have to go anywhere to take a perfect photo of yourself. Download and use your phone and a Driving Licence Photo Tool that will edit it to ensure that it meets all of the requirements.
💡 Must the UK driving licence photo be taken professionally?
No, there is no such requirement. You can take it with your smartphone or a digital camera if you like, as long as you utilise the use of a tripod or a friend to hold the camera for you, no selfies allowed.
The driving permit issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in England, Scotland and Wales or the Driver & Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland is the official document which authorises its holder to drive on highways and other public roads.
Until 31 December 2020, a UK driving licence was considered a European Driving Licence and was valid in all the European Economic Area. Now UK licence holders can still use their driving licence to drive in the EU for short visits. If a British citizen wants to live in some European Union country, they must use an International Driving Permit or apply for a local driving licence.
The United Kingdom citizens do not usually have identity cards, so a driving licence containing a biometric photo of its holder can serve many of the purposes of an identity card in non-driving contexts. Its holder can use it as proof of identity when opening a bank account when buying age-restricted goods such as alcohol or tobacco.
The UK driver’s licence has the same shape and size as an ID card and contains the same personal data information plus categories of motor vehicles the bearer can operate.
In a nutshell, you have to:
You can apply for your full driving licence as soon as you’ve passed successfully your practical driving test. Usually at this moment you have a provisional driving licence with the photo (the plastic card shape), and if you haven’t changed your name or other personal data, your examiner will send your driving test pass certificate to the DVLA or DVA.
If you have a paper provisional driving licence, you must provide in person or by post:
You have 2 years from passing your driving test to submit these documents or you’ll have to take it again.
You can renew your driving licence online at any time before the extension ends.
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