Renewing your driving licence at 70 and over
Last updated 11th August 2023
9 min read
Once you reach the age of 70, your UK driving licence will automatically expire. This means it’s no longer legal for you to drive on the road unless you renew your licence.
Renewing your driving licence at 70 is quick and easy to do, so you can get back on the road without interruption. But there are certain health and eyesight requirements that you must pass to be eligible for an over-70 driving licence.
In this article, we explain how to renew your driving licence at 70, and what health conditions you need to report to the DVLA. Plus, we answer some frequently asked questions about the over-70 driving licence renewal process.
- How do I renew my UK driving licence at 70?
- How much does it cost to renew my driving licence at 70?
- Commonly asked questions about over-70 driving licence renewal
- Health conditions that may affect your driving after 70
- I don't think I can renew my licence. How do I adjust to life without driving?
1. How do I renew my UK driving licence at 70?
You can renew your driving licence up to 90 days before your 70th birthday, or any time after you turn 70.
It’s free to renew your driving licence at 70 (unless you have a paper licence) and can be done quickly online or by post. Depending on how you apply, you’ll get your new licence in one to four weeks.
It’s important to remember that, unless you renew your licence or are in the process of renewing it, it’s not legal for you to drive. And you’ll need to renew your driving licence every three years if you wish to keep driving after 70.
Renewing your driving licence at 70 online
The easiest and fastest way to renew your licence is by applying online(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab). You'll need an email address to do this. Your new licence should arrive in one week if you apply online.
Renewing your driving licence at 70 by post
You should get a form called a D46P in the post 90 days before your 70th birthday.
Simply fill out and return the D46P form that was sent to you. It can take three to four weeks to get your new licence if you apply by post, so it's best to apply early if you know you'll need to keep driving after 70.
If you don’t get your D46P and want to ask for a replacement form, you can do this at gov.uk(opens in a new tab).
If you have a paper licence
Lots of people in the UK still have a paper licence. If you do, you'll need to fill in the D46P form and include an up-to-date passport photo with it. It can take up to three weeks for your new licence to arrive.
If you don't receive a D46P application form
If you don't get the D46P application form by post, there are several options to apply for an over-70 driving licence:
- Apply online(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab)
- Order or download(contact.dvla.org.uk opens in a new tab) the standard D1 licence renewal form online instead
- Pick up a D1 form from your local post office(www.postoffice.co.uk opens in a new tab)
If you’re not that tech savvy, visiting the Post Office is probably your best option. As well as giving you the forms you need, they offer a paid service(www.postoffice.co.uk opens in a new tab) to guide you through the over-70 driving licence renewal process.
2. How much does it cost to renew my driving licence at 70?
It's usually free to renew your driving licence if you’re over 70. However, depending on your circumstances, there may be some extra costs. You can view the full list of driving licence fees online, or take a look at the most relevant ones in more detail below.
If you have a photocard driving licence
If you have a photocard licence, it’s free to renew your driving licence at 70 and over. You need to renew your licence every three years if you wish to continue driving after 70, but the application is free each time.
If you have a paper driving licence
If you have a paper licence, you must renew this by post and include an up-to-date passport photo. The DVLA charges £17 to renew your licence by post, and you might be asked to pay for a new photo if you don’t have one that meets the legal requirements.
If you like, you can exchange your paper licence for a photocard(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab). This is free if you also need to change your name or address, or costs £20 if you aren’t updating any of your details.
If you need a new driving licence photo
For photocard licences, the DVLA asks that you have a recent photograph that is a true likeness.
If you don’t look like the picture on your licence any more, you’ll need to pay for a new passport photo, as well as pay the DVLA’s fee to update the licence. This fee is £14 if done online, and £17 if you apply by post.
If you use the Post Office's driving licence renewal service
The Post Office’s photocard driving licence renewal service(www.postoffice.co.uk opens in a new tab) costs a total of £21.50. This includes the DVLA’s charge of £17 to renew your licence, plus £4.50 for the Post Office to take your photo, check your application and send it securely to the DVLA.
If you need a medical assessment
Certain medical conditions may mean you have to undergo a driving assessment.
Unlike a driving test, this assessment decides whether you meet the legal medical and eyesight requirements to drive in the UK. It also clarifies what, if any, adaptations need to be made to accommodate your condition.
The cost of your assessment varies depending on which service you use. Visit Driving Mobility(www.drivingmobility.org.uk opens in a new tab) for more information about driving assessments.
3. Commonly asked questions about over-70 driving licence renewal
We’ve put together answers to frequently asked questions about the over-70 driving licence renewal process to make things easier for you:
Do you have to retake your driving test at 70?
You don’t have to retake your driving test once you reach 70, but you do need to make a health declaration when renewing your licence.
This means you’ll have to prove that your eyesight and overall health are in line with DVLA requirements. This applies to drivers of all ages when renewing their licence at any time, not just those who wish to keep driving after 70.
What can I drive over 70 years of age?
When you renew your driving licence at 70, you won't automatically be eligible to drive other categories of vehicle anymore, such as a minibus or motorhome.
Unless you renew these separately, your driving privileges for other vehicle categories will be lost. To renew these licences after 70, you’ll need to fill out a D2 application form(contact.dvla.gov.uk opens in a new tab), and get a D4 medical examination report(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab) filled out by your doctor and/or optometrist.
What happens if I don't renew my driving licence at 70?
If you don't renew your driving licence at 70, you'll no longer be legally able to drive in the UK.
You can be fined £1,000 for driving with an expired licence, and can get between three and six penalty points taken off your licence. Your car may also be seized, and you could face a driving ban.
Can I drive while I'm waiting for my new licence?
As long as your driving licence is in the process of being renewed, you’re still legally able to drive if you meet all of the DVLA’s criteria(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab).
However, if your licence has automatically expired and you haven’t yet applied for a new one, you can’t drive until you begin the process. Your new licence should arrive in one week if you apply online, or three to four weeks if you apply by post.
4. Health conditions that may affect your ability to drive after 70
There are certain conditions that are more likely to affect your ability to drive after 70. Some minor conditions simply need to be reported to the DVLA and your car insurance provider. More serious health concerns may mean you’re no longer able to drive.
I have a health condition. Can I still drive after 70?
When you renew your licence, no matter how old you are, you’ll be asked to declare any medical conditions and confirm that your eyesight meets the legal requirements for driving in the UK.
It’s important to declare both new and worsening conditions as and when they occur, rather than waiting until it’s time to renew your licence. Not telling the DVLA about a medical condition is a serious offence, and you can be fined up to £1,000.
But having a medical condition doesn’t mean you’ll have to stop driving. Although it could impact the DVLA’s decision, you may simply need a GP assessment, driving assessment or eye test to make sure you’re fit to drive. In some instances, you may need to make changes to your car.
Which medical conditions do you need to declare to the DVLA?
There are medical conditions(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab) that you legally have to declare when renewing your driving licence. You can be fined up to £1,000 for failing to tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your ability to drive.
These medical conditions include:
- Chronic neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
- Eye conditions, including total loss of vision in one eye
- Dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- Epilepsy, fits, convulsions and seizures
- Diabetes treated by insulin
- Heart conditions
You can find the full list and check whether you have a condition that needs to be reported on the government’s website(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab).
My eyesight has changed. Will this affect my ability to apply for an over-70 driving licence?
Any conditions affecting your eyesight, including total loss of vision in one of your eyes, must be declared to the DVLA. No matter how old you are, you shouldn’t be driving if your eyesight is poor, as this can endanger the lives of everybody on the road.
The DVLA says that drivers should be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab), with glasses or contact lenses if needed. If you can no longer do this, your optician will need to prescribe you with corrective lenses or update your prescription before you can renew your licence.
It’s important to get an eye test every two years to make sure you’re still safe to drive.
Do I need to declare my health condition to my insurance provider?
As well as the DVLA, you’ll need to let your insurance provider know about any new medical conditions that affect your ability to drive.
This may affect your premiums, but if you don’t tell them about any changes to your medical history, you might not be covered if you get into an accident. If you have a particularly affecting condition, you may need to find a specialist insurance provider.
5. I don't think I can renew my licence. How do I adjust to life without driving?
At some point after the age of 70, or possibly even before, you may need to stop driving. Whether that’s because of a medical condition, you’ve lost confidence in your ability to drive, or you simply no longer need to use your car, it can be a big adjustment.
But giving up driving doesn’t mean giving up your independence. There are still lots of ways to get around in your daily life.
Once you reach state pension age (or when you're 60 in London and Wales), you can apply for an older person’s bus pass(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab). This allows you to travel on buses (and other public transport in London if you live there) for free. You can also buy a senior railcard(www.nationalrail.co.uk opens in a new tab) when you're 60, which gives you a third off train tickets.
And without the costs of running a car, you may find you have more money each month to spend on other methods of transport, such as taxis and trains.
For more tips on saving money after 50, read our guide on how to make the most of your money in later life.
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