Why can't I renew my over-70s driving licence online?

I'm trying every day to renew my licence online and, after entering all my details (a lengthy procedure), I'm told that I am not eligible for this service. I know that there has been an 11-month extension due to coronavirus but mine ran out on 7 April 2020. Where does this leave me? Am I driving illegally? Please help.

Asked on 16 April 2021 by Sylvia Chillery

Answered by Georgia Petrie
Drivers applying for an over-70s licence renewal, who did not have a British passport before 2017, will need to apply by post as they aren't eligible for the online renewal service. This is due to most British passports after 2017 not having a digital signature — which is required for the online service. I've also been told that the current wait time for an application by post is approx. 6 weeks.

DVLA is currently working on a way around this issue, however, it's likely to be a matter of months rather than weeks until it's resolved.

You'll need to send off a paper application if your licence has expired. Only drivers whose photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive ran out between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 had their entitlement automatically extended from the expiry date, for a period of 11 months. Once you apply for a new licence, you can continue driving while the DVLA is processing yours — as long as you meet the criteria. Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 may allow you to continue driving even though you do not hold a current driving licence. But you'll have to check the criteria to see if you're eligible: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upload...f

If you drive on a licence that expired after the 11-month extension ended, then yes, you're driving on an expired licence — which is illegal. If your driving licence has expired, you could be liable for a fine of up to £1000. You need to get the application sent off ASAP to continue driving legally.
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