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When did I pass my driving test?

Struggling to remember when you passed your driving test? It’s easy to forget the exact date, especially if you’ve been driving for years. But it’s worth having it to hand before you compare car insurance quotes.

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

Struggling to remember when you passed your driving test? It’s easy to forget the exact date, especially if you’ve been driving for years. But it’s worth having it to hand before you compare car insurance quotes.

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

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
11 JULY 2024
3 min read
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How can I find out the exact date I passed my driving test?

You can find out when you passed your driving test by looking at columns 9 and 10 on the back of your UK photocard driving licence. Next to the car symbol in column 9 you’ll see a date, formatted DD/MM/YY. This is the date you passed your driving test.

By cross-checking the dates in column 10 with the symbols and driving licence categories in column 9, you’ll be able to see what kinds of vehicles you’re qualified to drive and when you passed the relevant driving test.

Column 11 shows you when your driving licence expires, which is when you turn 70. However, you’ll need to renew your photocard driving licence every 10 years or face a fine of up to £1,000. The renewal date is shown in column 4b on the front of your current 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. Computerised driving licences weren’t issued by the DVLA until 1 March 1973, so any licences issued before then won’t give the exact date you passed your test. Instead, they’ll show a date with a ‘<’ symbol, to indicate that you took your test some time before then.

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

Insurance providers need to know how long you’ve been driving for in order to create a car insurance quote.

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

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

Yes, insurance providers will calculate your insurance premiums based on your driving experience, among other factors. New drivers often face higher car insurance premiums because they’re seen as a greater risk.

51% of young drivers could achieve a premium of £1,861[1] per year, whereas a driver over 50 could be paying £4512] and over 60s only £426[3].

How long you’ve been driving for isn’t the only factor to affect your car insurance premiums however. Your age, your postcode, the car you drive and your claims history will also impact your quote. 

[1] 51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1860.62 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2024.

[2] 51% of over 50s could achieve a quote of up to £450.30 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2024.

[3] 51% of over 60s could achieve a quote of up to £425.78 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2024.

How long have I held my provisional licence?

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

A provisional driving licence lasts for up to 10 years. After that you’ll have to renew it if you haven’t yet passed your driving test.

What happens if I’ve lost my driving licence?

You’ll need to request a replacement from the DVLA. You can apply for a replacement licence at GOV.UK.

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.

What if I need to see my driving licence information?

The DVLA can provide 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.

Frequently asked questions

How often should I renew my driving licence?

You’ll need to renew your photocard driving licence every 10 years. You should get a reminder from the DVLA before your current licence expires. Your new licence should then arrive in around a week if you apply online and three weeks if you apply by post.

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. 

To renew your driving licence online you’ll need:

  • A valid UK passport or the document you used to set up your online immigration status
  • Your address history for the last three years
  • Your current driving licence
  • Your National Insurance number (if you know it).

You can also renew your expired photocard driving licence by post and at participating Post Offices. You’ll need to take your current photocard licence with you and pay a fee of £21.50 to use the Post Office service.

How much does it cost to renew my driving licence?

If you’re under 70, it costs £14 to renew your driving licence online, £17 by post and £21.50 if you apply via a Post Office. For those over 70, it’s free to renew your driving licence.

Should I update my driving licence if I change my name?

Yes, if you change your name by deed poll, you should apply for an updated driving licence by post and include identity documents as proof. It’s free, and you can pick up the forms you need from the Post Office or download them from the GOV.UK website. 

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. 

Once you’ve submitted your name change to the DVLA, you can continue to drive while you wait for your new driving licence to arrive.

Where is the issue number of my driving licence?

The issue number is found next to the 16-character driving licence number in column 5 on the front of your photocard driving licence.

How to renew your licence when you’re over 70

If you’re 70, or about to turn 70 in the next few months, you can renew your driving licence online for free. But you’ll need to meet the minimum eyesight requirements and declare any medical conditions that could impact your driving.

You can also apply by post for free. The DVLA should send you the form you need 90 days 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.

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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