DVLA grants seven-month photocard extension as over-70s still struggle with licence renewals

Published 05 June 2020

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has granted a seven-month extension for the majority of photocard driving licences, as it struggles to process renewal applications amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  

The seven-month extension does not apply to drivers who are renewing their entitlement to drive - this means the over-70s are excluded from the seven-month extension.

The news will anger older drivers who have been waiting months for their licence renewal. HonestJohn.co.uk has received hundreds of complaints from the over-70s who've been waiting for licence renewals since before the lockdown began in March.

HonestJohn.co.uk first reported the plight of vulnerable drivers who were struggling to have their licences renewed on 1 May. The DVLA has so far refused to comment on the matter. 

A new EU regulation has now been introduced which means photocards that expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will automatically be extended for a further seven months from the date of expiry. Drivers will be sent a reminder to renew before their extension ends.

But this extension only applies to the photocard, which must be renewed every ten years. This means that if a driver’s entitlement to drive is due to expire and they wish to continue to hold a valid licence, they will need to renew this entitlement in the normal way.

A car licence generally remains in force until the driver reaches 70 years old, unless revoked or surrendered. At aged 70 the driver must renew their entitlement to drive every three years if they wish to continue to hold a valid licence.

Failure to update a driving licence can result in a fine of £1000 and up to six penalty points on a licence. However, the DVLA's site states that licence holders (including the over 70s) can continue to drive while the renewal application is being processed, if it meets the following conditions:

- you have the support of your doctor to continue driving

- you had a valid licence

- you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence

- your application is less than a year old

- your last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons

- you’re not currently disqualified

- you weren’t disqualified as a high risk offender on or after 1 June 2013

The extension follows the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's (DVSA) decision to introduce an MoT test exemption for six months at the end of March to prevent motorists having to drive their cars during lockdown.


diddy11cg    on 8 June 2020

Over 7os renew every three years and usually get a postal reminder in good time. Will we stil get a reminder or should we go on line and try to renew early?

Edited by diddy11cg on 08/06/2020 at 19:35

NickNike    on 8 June 2020

I applied on-line for my over 70's licence on the 89th day before my 70th birthday to give them plenty of time. They allow up to 90 days before so don't wait for the reminder.

I applied on-line last Thurs 4/6/2020. I received my brand new, shiny photo drivers licence, for free, this morning in the post, being Mon 8/6/2020, Cracking good service. I learnt months ago that doing it by post was a waste of time as they are not touching post for health reasons. Also, my photo and signature were obtained from my current passport which is held digitally at the Passport Office, so they just transfer these across. If you don't have a current passport then you'll have to use the post, and that's not going to work. With some research and having a current passport, I had no problems whatsoever. I could not beleive how quick they were even with a weekend in the mix. Many thanks DVLA.

Edited by NickNike on 08/06/2020 at 21:43

Rodney Vowler    on 8 June 2020

What the DVLA do not say, if you go onto their web site. Eventually you will find that Section 88 of the Road Traffic act 1988 MAY cover you. Provided there are no changes in circumstances. I carry a copy of this with me when driving.

Covey    on 9 June 2020

The real problem for the over 70's drivers is where they still retain the C1 category which allows them to drive up to 7.5 tonnes. ie: a motorhome or horsebox. Renewal after 70 means a medical and eyesight test every 3 years. My GP is not doing private medicals whilst the virus emergency is with us, and he is the only person who has access to my medical records. DVLA state on their website that they are not accepting postal applications, but the C1 renewal requires you post the medical report (6 pages) and the Specsavers eyesight report and an application form to DVLA.

HGV3 licence holders who can drive up to 7.5 tonnes on their C licence can get a 1 year new licence WITHOUT a medical, but the over 70's are in a Catch22 and cannot currently get a new C1 driving licence.

All the DVLA extensions are fine in the UK, but if you travel in the EU, your licence will still have the original expiry date, and that will mean you probably will not be able to hire a car, and explanations to their local police might prove interesting.

duffcarboy    on 9 June 2020

MY over 70 renewal was 01/03/20 ,received my paper renewal in December 19,
my wife is 70 in July has not had a paper renewal letter as yet.
My renewed licence was back in around 3 days in February of this year.
Can`t see why the the over 70`s licence renewal was`nt included in the extension

VINCENT MILLARD    on 9 June 2020

Over 7os renew every three years and usually get a postal reminder in good time. Will we stil get a reminder or should we go on line and try to renew early?

Hi, from what has been declared above, it looks like, if you have your Application in and all it's parts have been signed off, you can carry on driving.

I do recommend Photo copying everything including both sides of your current Licence and the declaration from DVLA. this has no Legal Bearing but may help if stopped by the Police, to explain that your Application is with DVLA.

Stay Safe and Good Luck.

Model Flyer    on 9 June 2020

Whether you get a reminder or not excluding the over 70's from the extension to cover them in case of delays is age discrimination . If you live out of town and dont have the luxury of frequent public transport getting to any shops or medical appointments is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible . It not as if all over 70 go gallivanting off to the coast or drive hundreds of miles for a walk or a picnic . This looks very like ageism . Fortunately I have another 18 months left on my licence and hopefully it will be resolved by the time I need to renew but for driver who need it now it a real problem. I have written to my MP to try and get him to ask the DVLA why they have taken this discriminatory approach to the over 70's Whilst section 88 of the road traffic act 1988 mentioned in an earlier post says you can drive provided their is no change in circumstance etc .....try telling that to an insurance company who refuse a claim or to a police officer who wont let you proceed home !

Edited by Model Flyer on 09/06/2020 at 12:09

Richard Elliott    on 9 June 2020

The DVLa's refusal to comment on the situation is a disgrace. It is a government body there, supposedly, to help the public. It has had several months to be planning how to return to work, but appears to be hiding behind Covid and letting us stew. Unacceptable.

   on 9 June 2020

I applied to renew my over70 photo card licence three weeks ago, although I had until August, I thought if there are delays get it done now. The new licence came in the post a week later! Brilliant service, and it was dated to start now and still run until Aug 2023.

micra 1998    on 9 June 2020

I am going to be 70 on 17 july this year and can not get through to DVLA,and can you please tell me how can I renew my photo card licence.

Charles Harrison    on 10 June 2020

I too have tried to renew my over 70 licence online but as I don't have a valid passport I cannot complete the renewal process. The last time I renewed online it was accepted without a passport. Why have they moved the goalposts. I am now left with a postal application as my only course of action, silly me they have closed acceptance to postal applications.

There are no printable words to express this madness.
Charles Harrison

hissingsid    on 11 June 2020

I agree that the situation has descended into chaos, but all is not lost.
The notes to the renewal form D1 state :

"Renewing a licence at age 70 or over : Once we have received your valid application you can drive before you receive your licence as long as you meet the conditions above." ( i.e. not disqualified etc.)

If you post your application using a signed for service with a tracking number (after taking copies of everything you send of course) you should be covered if challenged by the police or your insurers.

   on 13 June 2020

Well done DVLA!

I applied on-line for my 70 and over licence last Tuesday 9/6/2020. I received my brand new, shiny photo licence yesterday (12/6/2020) lunchtime in the post. Brilliant service.

MJJ    on 15 June 2020

I do not know what the problem is I did mine on-line no problem at all

   on 17 June 2020

You cannot apply on line if you want to renew more than just your car (category B) licence - eg if you need B + E (trailer), C1/D1 (+ E) - minibus/medium size vehicle (+ trailer ) - as many over 70's would need - for example, those with motor homes, farmers etc

Bob H

Laurence Walterson    on 27 June 2020

Get a licence renewal form from the Post Office ,on completion send it to the DVLA and obtain a certificate of postage as evidence

John Smale    on 29 July 2020

I looked online at the DVLA website some time ago as my C1 licence was due to run out on the 18 July. It iinformed me I would receive a notification in the post to renew my licence. Nothing. I cannot renew online if I wish to retain my C1E, the phone link is permanently engaged, my passport is now expired and I cannot contact DVLA by email. What now troops?11

   on 30 July 2020

I have tried to renew my over 70s licence online ,but it won't let me
pass the passport no section although I don't have one then says
my licence is invalid and must be renewed, although it runs till 25/8/2020.
any ideas on why

motown=mickey    on 6 August 2020


Charles STOTT    on 15 December 2020

I have received a new licence but with the wrong address

I have tried to reapply but the DVLA system does not allow it

I have e mailed DVLA but am not hopeful for a reply

What can one do??

ROSAMUND    5 days ago


I read your piece on license renewal during the current pandemic and the piece on your site dated June 2021. I've tried on two occasions to renew my license -- I'm over 70 and the license I currently have expired on May 17, 2020 -- I haven't had a letter from the DVLA and have been rejected by the DVLA on-line service twice. I'm very anxious about it but there is not a phone number given and the web-chat is not responding. I really don't know what to do or where to go from here.

Look forward to hearing from you

Best regards


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