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How to renew your driving licence if you’re over 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. Before you do, there are a few things to think about – the main one being whether you still feel safe to drive.

Our guide tells you how to renew your driving licence when over 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. Before you do, there are a few things to think about – the main one being whether you still feel safe to drive.

Our guide tells you how to renew your driving licence when over 70.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
19 JULY 2023
6 min read
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Do you have to renew your driving licence at 70?

If you want to continue driving after you turn 70, you’ll need to renew your licence. You then have to do this every three years, so again at 73, 76 and so on.

If your licence expires and you don’t apply for a new one, you’ll be breaking the law if you carry on driving past your 70th birthday. It also means that your car insurance will no longer be valid.

The good news is that it’s free to renew your licence with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) – but beware of unofficial websites that might charge you a fee.

How do I renew my driving licence over 70?

You should automatically receive a licence renewal application from the DVLA 90 days before your 70th birthday. You can either renew online or by post.

How to renew my driving licence online

The quickest way to renew your driving licence is on the GOV.UK website. If you haven’t used the service before, you’ll need to register first.

You’ll need:

  • An email address
  • Addresses of where you’ve lived in the past three years
  • If you know it, your National Insurance number.

If you want to change the picture on your licence, you’ll need a valid UK passport number.

How to renew my driving licence by post

To renew by post, fill in the D46P form (or DL1R in Northern Ireland) you received from the DVLA ahead of your 70th birthday.

If you have a photocard licence you’ll need to return your completed form to the DVLA, together with a passport-style photo if required.

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

Acceptable proof of identity documents include:

  • A recent bank statement showing your pension payment and NI number
  • An official letter confirming you’re eligible for the State Pension
  • A biometric residence permit (identity card) if you’re a foreign national.

You can also renew using a D1 form, which you can get from most post offices.

Can I drive while the renewal is being processed?

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.

How long will my licence take to come?

If you renew your licence online, it should take around a week to arrive. Renewing by post is a slower process and usually takes around three weeks.

Be aware that it could be longer than this if your medical or personal details need to be checked.

Are there any restrictions to over 70s getting a driving licence?

There are no restrictions specific to over 70s. Like any other driver, you’ll need to meet the minimum eyesight requirements and declare any medical conditions that could affect your ability to drive.

Just because you’re turning 70 doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy life on the open road. There’s no upper age limit for driving a car, so you can drive for as long as you’re in decent health and still feel safe behind the wheel. Indeed, in England alone, more than five million drivers over 70 still hold an active licence.

If you need reassurance that your driving skills are still up to scratch, you could always take an advanced driving course.

Does my health condition mean I have to stop driving?

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.

Which conditions do I have to declare to the DVLA?

The full list of medical conditions that require notifications can be found on the GOV.UK 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.

Will I lose my licence if I declare a medical condition to the DVLA?

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 might 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.

If you’re diagnosed with a medical condition, you must tell your car insurance provider right away. If you have an accident and it’s discovered that an undisclosed medical condition might have played a part, your car insurance policy could be invalidated and you could be prosecuted.

How good does my eyesight need to be to drive?

To legally drive you must:

  • Be able to read a modern number plate (one made after September 2001) from 20 metres (with glasses or contact lenses)
  • 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.

Is car insurance cheaper for over 70s?

You might find that you pay slightly more for your car insurance than you did in your 60s. This is because insurance providers may see you as higher risk and more likely to be involved in an accident.

Use our price comparison service to see if you could save money by finding the right over 70s car insurance policy for you.

Frequently asked questions

What about over 80s driving licence renewal?

You can continue to renew your driving licence over the age of 80 as long as you meet fitness to drive criteria and still feel safe behind the wheel.

As with 70-year-olds, there isn’t an over 80s driving licence renewal cost – it should be free of charge.

How much does it cost to get a Blue Badge?

A Blue Badge costs £10 in England and £20 in Scotland – it’s free in Wales. If you’re a driver with a disability, this entitles you to:

  • 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.

You can apply for a Blue Badge online at GOV.UK or contact your local council for more information.

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.

Is there an over 70s driving curfew?

There’s no curfew for motorists over 70. It’s been reported that the DVLA and charity Driving Mobility discussed introducing night-time curfews for over-70 drivers with certain medical conditions. This was so they wouldn’t have to give up driving completely. Currently, there’s no curfew for drivers of any age who have a valid licence.

You may choose to observe a self-imposed curfew – for example, not driving at night or sticking to familiar routes – but that’s entirely up to you.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rory Reid - car and technology expert

Rory Reid is a car and technology expert. He serves as the main presenter on Auto Trader’s YouTube channel and was previously a host on BBC Top Gear and its sister show Extra Gear. He is also a presenter on Fifth Gear. Previously, he hosted Sky TV’s Gadget Geeks, CNET’s Car Tech channel, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition and on the YouTube channel Fast, Furious & Funny.

Learn more about Rory

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