I’ve lost my driving licence

Lost driving licence

The feeling of accomplishment when you finally hold that pink driving licence is unmatched. All the effort and hard work have culminated in getting the prized document that grants you the freedom of the road as a fully qualified driver.

Moreover, it serves as a tangible badge of achievement, much more impressive than its provisional counterpart.

Yet, amidst the euphoria, few things are as disconcerting as realising your driving licence is nowhere to be found. Despite your best efforts, it remains elusive. Anxiety creeps in. Can you still drive? How do you navigate this with the DVSA? What steps are involved in getting a replacement?

Take a moment to breathe, find a comfortable spot, and focus. We’re here to provide comprehensive answers to all these pressing questions and more, offering guidance and reassurance during this moment of uncertainty.

First steps­­

Let’s begin with a fundamental piece of advice: there’s no need to panic. Losing your driving licence is a situation that countless others have faced and resolved before you, and many will after you.

While it’s undeniably inconvenient, the process of reaching out to the DVSA for a replacement might seem tedious, but remember, you’re not alone. The key is to sideline any negative emotions and instead, focus on the solution at hand.

Thorough Search

Before you plunge into the realm of paperwork and potential expenses, ensure that your licence is indeed lost. Before you dismiss this suggestion, consider embarking on one final comprehensive search within the last known location of the licence.

Thorough search for lost driving licence

This could involve meticulously inspecting every corner of your home or, with their consent, examining the contents of a friend’s bag where it might have accidentally ended up.

Understanding the situation

Let’s delve into the specifics of the situation surrounding your lost licence. Have you experienced the bizarre phenomenon of your licence inexplicably vanishing into thin air?

Alternatively, did it suffer damage, get stolen, or find itself destroyed in some miraculous way? The details of what transpired will play a pivotal role in determining your next steps. For instance, if theft was involved, the situation takes on a more serious dimension – a situation that demands immediate attention.

It’s vital to recognise that a valid driving licence is a valuable commodity, coveted by various parties for different reasons. Criminals may find it particularly appealing, as it can be exploited for activities like car rentals under your name and various forms of identity theft.

Report lost driving licence to the police

Even if your licence didn’t vanish due to an elaborate heist, reporting its loss to the police remains crucial. If it slipped from your pocket during a stroll, for instance, it’s vulnerable to being picked up by anyone.

By informing law enforcement, you contribute to their awareness of potential misuse of your identification. This proactive approach aids in safeguarding your identity and prevents any untoward activities linked to your licence.

Applying for a replacement

Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that your driving licence is no longer in your possession, it’s time to take the necessary steps to get a replacement from the DVSA. Rest assured, this process is designed to be hassle-free and devoid of unnecessary complications.

The most streamlined approach is to use the online form provided by the DVSA for precisely such situations. This form will guide you through a series of questions and requests for crucial details.

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An important note to remember is that if your old licence included a paper counterpart, your new replacement will consist of a card only. This change was introduced in June 2015 when the paper counterpart was discontinued.

Prior to submitting your application, it’s essential to double-check to ensure all fields are accurately completed. Doing so will help prevent any unwarranted delays in processing your replacement request.

Double check to save delays

Once your form is successfully submitted, you can expect a confirmation email from the DVSA acknowledging receipt of your application.

*For residents of Northern Ireland, it’s worth noting that the process for obtaining a replacement licence differs. NIdirect provides specific information on the appropriate steps to follow in this jurisdiction.

In order to apply for a replacement licence you must:

When initiating the process for obtaining a replacement driving licence, you must fulfill certain prerequisites. These include:

  • Residency in Great Britain: To apply for a replacement licence, you need to be a resident of Great Britain.

  • Driving Eligibility: You should not be facing any disqualifications from driving when applying for a replacement licence.

  • Payment of £20: A payment of £20 is required to cover the processing costs. This payment can be made via credit or debit card, and the DVSA accepts several forms, including MasterCard, Visa, Electron, and Delta debit or credit cards.

  • Address History: You’ll need to provide a comprehensive record of all addresses where you have lived over the past three years. This information is crucial for verification purposes.

  • Vital Identification Details: In order to complete your application, you’ll be asked to provide essential identification details. These include your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and passport number (if applicable).

By ensuring you meet these specific requirements and gather the necessary information, you’ll be well-prepared to smoothly complete the application process for a replacement driving licence. This ensures that your new licence accurately represents your eligibility and driving history.

Take a photo

One silver lining when it comes to getting a replacement licence is the opportunity to have a brand new photo. No more shielding that awkward teenage visage when presenting your ID at social venues! However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, unless certain criteria apply:

  • Imminent Licence Expiry: If your current licence is set to expire within the next two years, you may need to adhere to specific guidelines.

  • Valid UK Passport: Should you possess a valid UK passport and be able to provide the passport number, there’s an alternative route.

  • Passport Photo Consent: Granting the DVLA permission to use your passport photo could determine whether the new licence features your passport snapshot.

In cases meeting these conditions, the DVLA will simply utilise your existing passport photo for your driving licence. If the prospect of having your passport photo grace your driving licence isn’t exactly your cup of tea, fear not.

The photo driving licence renewal service presents a solution. This service allows you to update your licence’s photo at a cost of £14.

It’s worth noting that while a photo might be Instagram-worthy, it doesn’t automatically meet the DVSA standards for an acceptable electronic photograph.

Be sure to meticulously follow the guidelines provided on the application form to ensure your photo adheres to the necessary criteria.

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Prefer Traditional Methods?

For those who prefer non-digital processes, the DVSA offers a telephone option for getting a replacement licence, subject to specific conditions. Ensure no details have changed, the licence is undamaged, and the expiry is over 56 days away. Dial 0300 790 6801 to explore this route.

By mail

For those living on remote islands without access to phones or the internet but blessed with well-stocked post offices, there’s good news. You can secure a new driving licence using a more traditional route, bypassing online forms and phone calls.

Simply make your way to the nearest post office and hope they’ve got the D1 Application for a driving licence form. If it’s not on display, don’t worry – you can ask them to order one for you. Once you’ve got the form in hand, take your time to complete it accurately.

Applying by post

After that, pop the form in an envelope along with the necessary fee for your new licence and the documents that prove your identity. You’ll find the address where you need to send it provided for your convenience.

Keep in mind that postal applications usually take around 3 weeks to be processed. So, make yourself a cup of tea, relax, and let the process unfold. And remember, whether you go the mail, phone, or online route, jotting down the application date can be handy to keep track of its progress.

Pro tip: Regardless of how you choose to contact the DVSA for your new licence, noting down the application date is a smart way to know when to expect it.

Learning from experience…

After going through the process of replacing a lost licence, you’ve probably gained a newfound appreciation for it. Going forward, taking better care of this seemingly small piece of plastic is a wise move.

Despite its size, its significance cannot be overstated, and safeguarding it is crucial.

To prevent a repeat of this situation, we suggest designating a specific place for your licence—whether it’s snugly nestled in your wallet or securely stored in your purse.

This designated spot should become its home, minimising the chances of misplacement. Since your driving licence also serves as a handy form of identification, there will be occasions when you need to take it out.

Remember to promptly return it to its designated spot to avoid potential hiccups.

And for those moments of revelry and wild nights out, consider your licence your trusty companion—guard it with the utmost care, as you would a cherished possession.

Your experiences have taught you well, and now you’re equipped to keep your driving licence safe and sound.

Frequently asked questions

The timeframe for receiving your replacement licence hinges on your location and the unique circumstances surrounding your lost licence scenario. While variations are to be expected, the DVSA offers some general guidelines to give you an idea.

If you opted for the online route to apply for a replacement, anticipate receiving your new licence within approximately a week from the moment you receive the confirmation email.

For those who opted for a postal application, patience is key, as it might take up to 3 weeks for your new licence to reach you. If you chose to apply over the phone, your waiting time will fall somewhere between these two benchmarks.

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It’s worth noting that if certain pieces of information, such as your licence number, were not readily available during the application process, the timeline might be slightly extended.

Yes, you can drive while waiting for your new licence! You can continue to drive, provided you meet specific criteria:

  • Application Submitted: First and foremost, you need to have already applied for a replacement licence.
  • No Disqualifications: Your driving privileges should not be under suspension or disqualification.
  • Valid Licence: You must possess a valid British licence issued since January 1976 (or another licence that’s exchangeable).
  • Medical Approval: Your licence cannot have been denied on medical grounds. If you’re uncertain about this, it’s advisable to consult a doctor.
  • Special Conditions: If your licence carries any special conditions, make sure to adhere to them.

So, while you eagerly anticipate your new licence’s arrival, you’re free to hit the road as long as these conditions are met.

Whether your new licence is en route or has already landed in your mailbox, if you stumble upon your old one, there’s a simple step to follow.

You need to send your old licence back to the DVLA via post. To prevent any mix-ups, enclose a note detailing why you’re returning it.

Address the package to:
SA99 1AB

This ensures that your old licence finds its way back to the appropriate authorities, allowing everything to be in order. Whether you’re in the waiting period for your new licence or well beyond it, this action ensures a smooth resolution.

If you’ve been patiently waiting for your new driving licence for 4 weeks and it still hasn’t graced your mailbox, it’s time to take action. First, confirm the date when your application was received. If it’s been over the 4-week mark, it’s worth reaching out to the DVSA for assistance.

You have two options to get in touch with them. You can give them a call at 0300 790 6801. Alternatively, you can opt for the convenience of an online enquiry form to submit your query. This proactive step ensures you’re well-informed about the status of your licence and paves the way for a prompt resolution.

While reaching for a biro might be tempting, it’s not the solution for fixing incorrect information on your driving licence. Instead, your journey of communication with the DVSA continues. To rectify the situation, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare Your Licence: Unfortunately, you’ll need to send your driving licence back to the DVLA. Don’t worry, you’ll get it back once everything is sorted out.

  2. Draft a Letter: Accompany the returned licence with a letter explaining the specific details that are incorrect. This clarity helps the DVSA address the issue promptly.

  3. Address the Package: Send the package to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BN. Note that this address differs from the one for returning old licences.

This process also applies if you’re looking to update your address on your licence. While it might involve a few extra steps, it’s a necessary one to ensure your licence reflects accurate information.

We’re not here to pass judgment, but losing your licence twice raises some eyebrows. Driving comes with its responsibilities, and safeguarding your licence is a crucial part of that. If, by chance, you find yourself in the unfortunate position of misplacing it once more, you’re in for a déjà vu scenario.

Yes, that means you’ll have to retrace the same steps—paying, filling out forms, and waiting. It’s an exercise in patience and a reminder of the importance of keeping track of your important documents.