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27 Jun 2019

Motorists miss out on millions by not renewing their driving licence online

Find out how you can save money on your driving licence and whether you need an International Driving Permit

British motorists who didn't apply for or renew their driving licence online missed out on savings of nearly £5 million last year, according to DVLA figures released today.

Although online applications for driving licences have increased around 10% over the last three years, the DVLA still received 1.2 million postal applications last year.

Four in five applications for new licences are now done online, but around half of all renewals are still done by post, meaning many drivers are missing out on potential savings.

Looking for a new car? Find your perfect model in our roundup of the best cars for 2019.

How to save on your next driving licence

Applying or renewing your licence online is always the cheaper option, as the table shows.

Applying by postApplying online
Cost of a provisional licence£43£34
Cost of renewal£17£14

Go to the Gov.uk website to apply for a provisional driving licence or to renew your existing licence.

Only use the official government website, as third-party websites have no connection to the DVLA and may charge additional fees for services provided for free (or significantly cheaper) by Gov.uk.

If your car insurance also needs renewing, see our list of the best and worst car insurance providers to find out which companies we recommend.

Renewing your licence online

driving licence

As Julie Lennard, DVLA chief executive, states: 'it is always cheaper and quicker to renew your driving licence on Gov.uk. It's also the quickest way for those who have lost or misplaced their licence to apply for a replacement'.

To renew online you'll need to have a valid UK passport and be a resident of Great Britain (not Northern Ireland, which uses a different service). You will also be asked to provide your current driving licence, National Insurance number and your last three addresses.

After renewing online, your new licence should arrive within a week. Be aware that it's valid from the date your application is approved, not the expiry date of the previous licence. And you'll need to send your old license to DVLA once you have your new one.

Most drivers need to renew their licence every 10 years. If you're 70 or older, you need to renew every three, but this is free of charge, whether you apply by post or online.

Driving abroad

If you're planning on driving abroad, you may also need to apply for an International Driving Permit. Carry this as well as your UK driver's licence to avoid falling foul of the law.

The only way you can apply for a permit is to visit one of the 2,500 post offices that offer the service. You'll need to bring your full UK driving licence, your passport (if you have an older paper licence) and a passport-sized photo. The application costs £5.50.

Find out which countries require an International Driving Permit and which could be affected by a no-deal Brexit by visiting our complete guide to International Driving Permits.