While provisional driving licences are often acquired as 17th birthday presents to mark reaching the legal driving age in the UK, there’s more to these documents than symbolic birthday gifts – a provisional licence is a legal requirement for prospective drivers in the UK.
If you’re planning on taking driving lessons and getting a licence in the UK, getting the provisional photocard is the first step you’re legally obliged to take. But how long does a provisional licence last, and when will you need to renew your photocard if you’re yet to pass your practical and theory driving tests?
Who needs a provisional licence? – You’ll be required to obtain a provisional driving licence before you take any official driving tests, including the practical and written theory exams. Before you even take your first lesson or get behind the wheel of a car, you must apply for a provisional licence photocard to legally learn to drive in the UK. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to ensure you are covered by learner driver insurance if you’re planning to take lessons in a vehicle owned by yourself or one of your family members.
When do you need to renew your provisional licence? – Once issued, your photocard licence will be valid for 10 years. This means that you’ll only be required to renew your provisional licence if you’re yet to pass your driving test after 10 years have passed since receiving the photocard. If your provisional licence is lost or stolen, you’ll also be able to request a replacement document for a fee of £20. It’s worth noting that you’ll be required to take your practical driving test within 2 years of passing your written theory test – if you fail to take the practical test within 2 years, you will have to retake the theory exam. While you should be made aware of your provisional licence expiring ahead of time, most drivers should have comfortably passed their test well within the initial 10–year period.
How to renew your provisional licence – If you need to renew your provisional licence, it’s best to have the necessary paperwork and identification ready to ensure that the process is as quick and easy as possible – this includes your National Insurance number, a valid proof of address dating back for 3 years, your passport, a recent passport photo and your existing photocard licence. You’ll also need a cheque or postal order to cover the renewal fee. Once a new licence has been sent out in the post, you’ll be required to either post your old photocard to a designated address or confirm that it’s been safely destroyed.