Friday, 20 March 2009

Smile please! We're taking more of your money

No apologies for repeating something you may already know - if it saves one person some grief it's worthwhile.

Quite simply:
1. Do you have a photocard driving licence?
2. Is it 10 years old?

If 'yes' and 'yes' - you need to renew it.

That'll be £17.50, plus the cost of a new photo.

Full details from the AA:

When photocard driving licences were introduced ten years ago it was recognised that they would have to be updated – like it or not, our appearances do change and this has to be reflected on the licences.

So, if you have a photocard licence, you have to change it, and update the picture, every ten years. Now that the first photocards are ten years old everyone who has one needs to check if it needs renewing.

Inevitably there's a cost to produce a new licence and the government has said that the DVLA should re-coup this from drivers rather than from all taxpayers.

Renewing a photocard licence is going to cost £17.50.

No-one likes paying again for something we thought we had already paid for, but this going to have to be the case with the photocard licence, although the AA believes that the DVLA could have made drivers much more aware that licences were going to expire and were going to cost money to replace.

When does my licence expire?
The front of a photocard licence carries two dates

4a – the date the photo is valid from, and

4b – the date by which the licence needs to be updated

The '4b' renewal date is generally ten years after the licence was issued but for car drivers nearing or over 70 years of age, or with medical restrictions it is the date at which entitlement to drive ends.

If the '4b' date has passed, or is getting close you will need to act. Find details of what to do on the directgov website.

Do I get a reminder?
DVLA will send a reminder to drivers whose photocard licences are about to need updating.

But if you've changed address and not told DVLA then you won't get the letter.

Moving House or changing your name?
If you change address or name then you must tell DVLA so that car registration and driving licence details can be updated,

In this case the new licence is free, and will retain the current photograph and renewal date so long as the '4b' date has not been passed.

Paper licences
If you still have a paper driving licence you don't have to worry about ten yearly updates though you must still notify DVLA of name or address changes.

Parliament has given powers to recall all paper licences so the more secure photocard licences will be held by everyone, but no date has been set for this and the government is well aware that it would be controversial to make everyone buy a new licence.

The AA has said that if the government insists on everyone changing, it should phase in such a move and subsidise the cost.

Keeping the details on your paper licence up to date will ensure that DVLA is able to tell you when this is happening and if you need to do something.

Having a licence which has not been updated will pose problems, particularly if you want to hire a car, or if you have to prove your entitlement to drive to your employer.

It could also lead to a fine of up to £1000 although we have had no reports of this happening for failing to update a photocard.

Here's the DVLA information sheet


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