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When did I pass my driving test?

Struggling to remember the exact date you passed your driving test? It’s easy to forget, especially if you’ve been driving for years. But you may need to know before you can compare car insurance quotes.

Here’s how to find out when you passed your driving test.

Struggling to remember the exact date you passed your driving test? It’s easy to forget, especially if you’ve been driving for years. But you may need to know before you can compare car insurance quotes.

Here’s how to find out when you passed your driving test.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
24 APRIL 2023
4 min read
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How can I find out the exact date I passed my driving test?

To check the date of your driving test, look at the back of your UK photocard driving licence. Check column 10 – this should tell you the exact date you passed your driving test, in the format DD/MM/YY. By cross-referencing the dates in column 10 with the symbols and associated driving licence categories in column 9, you’ll be able to see what kind of vehicles you’re qualified to drive and when you passed the relevant driving test.

Column 11 will tell you the date your driving licence is valid until – that is, when you turn 70. However, note that you’ll still need to renew your photocard driving licence every 10 years or face a fine of up to £1,000. The renewal date for your current licence is shown in the 4b column on the front of your licence.

What happens if my driving licence says the wrong date on it?

If you took your driving test before 1973, the date you see on your photocard might be different to the date you actually passed on. Any licences issued before 1 March 1973 won’t name the date you passed your test, only that it was some time before 1973.

That’s because it was only in 1973 that computerised driving licences started being issued through the DVLA. Before then, they were issued through local authorities and had to be renewed every three years.

Why would I need to know how long I have held my licence?

When creating a car insurance quote for you, insurance providers will need to know how experienced a driver you are. So it’s likely they’ll ask you for the date you passed your test.

If you’re hiring a car abroad, the rental company might want to know when you passed too.

Does how long I have been driving affect the cost of my car insurance?

Yes, insurance providers will look at how long you’ve been driving to see how experienced a driver you are. New drivers often face higher car insurance premiums until they’ve got a few years of experience under their belt, because they’re seen as a greater risk.

How long you’ve been driving plays a role in the cost of your car insurance but it’s not the only factor at play. Car insurance providers will also look at your age, your postcode, the car your drive and your claims history when calculating the cost of your premiums.

How long have I held my provisional licence?

You can hold a provisional driving licence for up to 10 years. After that you’ll have to renew your provisional licence if you haven’t yet passed your driving test.

You can see the date you were granted your provisional licence in column 4a on the front of your photocard provisional driving licence. Column 4b shows the expiry date.

What happens if I’ve lost my driving licence?

If you can’t find your driving licence and need to check the date of your driving test, request another one. You can apply for your replacement driving licence online

It’ll cost you £20 and you’ll need details of your address history for the past three years. You’ll also need to provide your driving licence number, National Insurance number and passport number, if you know them.

Be warned though — this isn’t an instant fix, as a replacement licence takes up to three weeks to arrive in the post. And it could take longer if your personal or medical details need to be checked.

What if I need to see my driving licence information?

The DVLA offers a service where they’ll let you see the information on your driving licence, via the GOV.UK website. This allows you to:

  • See what type of vehicles you’re qualified to drive
  • See whether you have any penalty points on your licence
  • Generate a licence ‘check code’, which you can then share with an insurance provider or car-hire firm.

To use this service, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The postcode on your driving licence.

What do I need to get a car insurance quote?

To get a car insurance quote, as well as finding out how long you’ve held your driving licence, you’ll need to tell us your:

  • Name, age and address
  • Car details, including model, age and registration number
  • Annual mileage
  • Occupation
  • No-claims discount details
  • Driving history, including any convictions or accidents.

Frequently asked questions

How do I renew my driving licence?

You can apply to renew a full or provisional driving licence online on the GOV.UK website if you’re a resident of Great Britain. If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply on the NI Direct website instead. 

You’ll need to renew your photocard driving licence every 10 years. You should get a reminder from the DVLA before your current licence ends. It costs £14 to renew, and your new licence should arrive in around a week.

To renew your driving licence online you’ll need:

  • A valid UK passport
  • Your address history for the last three years
  • Your current driving licence
  • Your National Insurance number (if you know it). 

You can also apply to get your photocard licence renewed at a participating Post Office. You’ll need to take your current photocard licence with you and pay a fee of £21.50.

You must apply by post if your name has changed and include identity documents as proof. You can pick up the forms you need from the Post Office. If you want to change your photo too, you'll need to include a passport photo and a cheque or postal order for £17 with your completed forms. 

How to renew your licence when you’re over 70

You’ll need to follow a slightly different process to renew your driving licence if you’re over the age of 70 or you’ll turn 70 in the next three months.

There’s no cost to renew your licence when you’re over 70. However, you’ll need to confirm you meet the minimum eyesight requirements and declare any medical conditions that could affect your ability to drive safely.

You can apply online or by post. The DVLA should send you the form you need to complete before your 70th birthday or you can pick one up at your local Post Office.

How often do I need to renew my driving licence after age 70?

You’ll need to renew your driving licence every three years once you reach your 70th birthday. You may also need to look for specialist over 70s car insurance.

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