How to renew your driving licence after age 70

Once you reach the age of 70, your driving licence automatically expires. If you want to carry on driving, you’ll need to renew your licence. But before you do, there are a few factors to consider – the main one being that you still feel safe to drive.

Our guide tells you what you need to know about renewing your driving licence at 70.

Once you reach the age of 70, your driving licence automatically expires. If you want to carry on driving, you’ll need to renew your licence. But before you do, there are a few factors to consider – the main one being that you still feel safe to drive.

Our guide tells you what you need to know about renewing your driving licence at 70.

Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
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Last Updated 12 AUGUST 2022

How to renew your driving licence online

The quickest way to renew your driving licence is on the Government website. First you’ll need to register to use the online service. When you’ve done that, you can complete the online form and send off the necessary documents. It’s an easy process - six out of 10 over-70s now renew their licences online.

How to renew your driving licence by post

You should automatically receive a licence renewal application from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) 90 days before your 70th birthday. The form is known as a D46P (or a DL1R in Northern Ireland). Renewing by post is a slower process and usually takes three to four weeks, but it can be longer if your medical or personal details need to be checked.

What documents do I need to include with my renewal application?

When you apply online for the first time, you’ll need an email address, addresses of where you’ve lived in the past three years and, if you know it, your National Insurance number. If you want to change the picture on your licences, you’ll need a valid UK passport number.

If you have a photocard licence you’ll need to return your completed form to the DVLA, together with your current licence and a passport-style photograph.

If you have a paper licence you’ll need to send the DVLA your completed D46P form, along with a passport-style photograph and a document showing proof of your identity (this must be an original – the DVLA won’t accept copies.)

What proof of identity documents will the DVLA accept?

Acceptable proof of identity documents include:

  • Your passport
  • An official letter confirming you’re eligible for the State Pension
  • A biometric residence permit (identity card) if you’re a foreign national.

Can I drive while the DVLA has my driving licence?

If you’ve sent your driving licence off to the DVLA to renew, it’s generally okay to carry on driving as normal. But there are a few exceptions. You’ll have to stop driving if:

  • Your GP doesn't think you’re fit to drive
  • You don’t think you’re medically fit to drive
  • Your most recent licence was refused or revoked on medical grounds
  • You didn’t have a valid licence when applying for your renewal
  • You’ve been disqualified from driving

What if I have a medical condition?

You’re legally required to tell the DVLA if you have certain medical conditions or disabilities and your health deteriorates. This applies even if you’re not yet 70 when you become ill, or if you’re between renewals when you’re diagnosed.

If you fail to disclose a medical condition that affects your driving, you could be fined up to £1,000. You could even be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident resulting from your condition.

The full list of medical conditions that require notifications can be found on the Government website.

These include:

  • Dementia
  • Diabetes requiring insulin treatment
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis
  • Conditions affecting both eyes or resulting in total loss of sight in one eye
  • Strokes of certain severity
  • Cancers of certain severity.

The DVLA won’t automatically ban you from driving if you have one of these conditions. They may instead ask you to have a medical examination to assess the severity of the condition. It may be that you’re given a short-term, one-year licence, or asked to modify your car in some way.

The DVLA may also want to assess your driving ability. You can take a driving assessment course at a local mobility centre, or take an RoSPA Experienced Driver Assessment course.

Even if you don’t have a medical condition, a driving assessment course could reassure you that your driving skills are still up to scratch.

If you’re diagnosed with a medical condition, you must tell your car insurance provider right away. If you have an accident and an undisclosed medical condition may have played a part, your car insurance policy could be invalidated. You could even be prosecuted.

How good does my eyesight need to be to drive?

Regardless of how old you are, you must meet certain eyesight requirements to legally drive in the UK. It’s okay to do this with the help of glasses or contact lenses though.

To legally drive you must:

  • Be able to read a modern number plate (one made after September 2001) from 20 metres
  • Have a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale (which uses an eye chart)
  • Have an adequate field of vision.

Your optician can tell you more and carry out the tests. These requirements are for car drivers – there are stricter rules if you drive a lorry or bus.

How do I get a blue badge for disabled parking?

According to the UN, more than 46% of people over 60 have disabilities. But having a disability doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to stop driving. In fact, it could entitle you to a Blue Badge. This gives you:

  • Free on-street parking and at pay and displays
  • Parking on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours
  • Accessible parking at supermarkets and shopping malls.

Different boroughs have different criteria, so to apply you’ll need to contact your local council. You should find all the information you need on their website.

Can I find cheaper car insurance after the age of 70?

Once you’ve renewed your driving licence, it may also be time to shop around and see if you can get more competitive car insurance quotes for older drivers.
Use our price comparison service to see if you could save money by finding the right car insurance policy for you.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to renew my driving licence?

It’s free to renew your driving licence with the DVLA.

How long does it take to renew my driving licence?

If you renew your licence online, it should take around a week to arrive.

How often do I need to renew my driving licence?

Once you’re over 70, you’ll need to renew your licence every three years.

What happens if my licence is lost, damaged or stolen?

Replacing a lost, damaged or stolen licence is easy to do online, but will cost you £20. If your licence is stolen, you’ll need to tell the police.

How much does it cost to get a blue badge?

A blue badge costs £20 in England and £10 in Scotland. It’s free in Wales.

Do I have to take another driving test at 70?

No – your driving ability won’t be reassessed when you renew your licence unless you have a medical condition that affects your driving. But if you want to have your skills reviewed and get tips for safer driving, you could do an advanced course aimed at older motorists.

Will my car insurance cost more when I turn 70?

You might find that you pay slightly more for your car insurance than you did in your 60s, but you should be able to find a good deal by shopping around for over 70s car insurance.

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