UK drivers could face fines of £1,000 for failing to return expired driving licences to the DVLA - here’s why

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More than 900,000 drivers are at risk of receiving a £1,000 fine for failing to return an expired driving licence.

The Driving Vehicle and Licence Agency (DVLA) has warned UK drivers they could face fines of £1,000 for failing to return an expired licence. More than 900,000 motorists are said to be at risk of facing the penalty.

Official figures show that around 926,000 people, who held their photocard licence on September 3, have seen their licences expire in the last year. Drivers are legally required to renew them every ten years.

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Notifying the culprits, the DVLA’s procedure involves a letter which is sent out to the driver 56 days before the expiration date. However, a large majority of people miss letters and are therefore vulnerable to further action.

The failure to officially renew a driving licence will incur a hefty penalty for UK motorists across the country. If the DVLA finds that you have not renewed it following expiry, you face a fine totalling £1,000.

Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: “There are good reasons to keep licences up to date, beyond the basic legal requirement. They are also a widely accepted form of ID and will certainly be required if you are ever stopped by police.

“Renewal also provides an opportunity for people to assess whether they are still fit to drive, and we think there is an argument for linking a compulsory eye test to the process to make sure we all remain safe on the road, though Government should help keep costs as low as possible for motorists. When you do renew, beware of private web sites which offer to help with the application but charge an extra fee for doing so.”

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Has your driving licence expired recently and are you vulnerable to facing the hefty fine? Here is everything you need to know about how to renew and return your expired licence.

How to renew and return a UK driving licence

Renewing a driving licence is quick and easy and can be achieved through visiting the official UK government website. This can be done for both full and provisional driving licences.

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In an official statement, a DVLA spokesperson said: “We encourage our customers to use Gov.uk as applying online is the quickest and cheapest way to renew. If you stop driving altogether, you should make sure to inform the DVLA and return your licence rather than keeping it.”

Before you fill out all the required information, you will need to make sure that you have all the important documents at hand. Please make sure to obtain the following:

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  • a valid UK passport
  • to be a resident of Great Britain (there is a bespoke service in Northern Ireland)
  • to pay £14 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card (there’s no fee if you’re over 70 or have a medical short period licence)
  • addresses of where you’ve lived over the last 3 years
  • your current driving licence (if you do not have your licence you must say why in your application)
  • your National Insurance number (if you know it)
  • to not be disqualified from driving 

Once you fill out the application form, your new and renewed UK driving licence should arrive to you within a week of applying online. If you have not received it in due course, get in touch with the DVLA.

With your fresh new licence in hand, you are then legally required to send your old photocard licence to the DVLA. The address of which to send the expired licence is provided once you finish the application.

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