If you’re over 70 and want to keep on driving, you’ll have to renew your driving licence.
On this page we’ll explain how you can renew your driving licence, and give you some advice to keep you safely on the road in later life:
How do I renew my driving licence after 70?
Once you reach the age of 70, your licence expires, but this doesn’t automatically mean you have to stop driving. You just need to renew your driving licence if you want to continue. You’ll need to renew it every 3 years after that. Renewal is free of charge.
If your licence expires and you don’t apply for a new one, you won’t legally be allowed to drive.
The DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday.
- If you have a photocard licence
To renew, fill in the form and return it to the DVLA with your current driving licence photocard. You may also need to include a new passport-type photo – the form will tell you if you need to do this. If you apply by post it can take up to three weeks.
- If you have a paper licence
To renew, fill in the form and enclose an up-to-date passport-type photo. If you apply by post it can take up to three weeks.
- Renew online
You can also renew your licence using the GOV.UK website. You’ll have to register and you’ll be given step-by-step instructions on how to renew:
Renew your driving licence online at GOV.UK
If you don’t receive an application form
If the DVLA doesn’t send you an application form:
- call the DVLA form ordering service on 0300 790 6801
- order a D1 form online
- or go to the Post Office and ask for a D1 form ‘Application for a Driving Licence’
- Request a driving licence application form from the DVLA
Can I still drive while my application for a licence is being processed?
You can drive while your licence is being renewed but only if you meet certain conditions.
- you’re not currently disqualified from driving
- you had a valid licence
- your licence wasn’t revoked for medical reasons and your doctor says you are still ok to drive
Does my health condition mean I have to stop driving?
If you’ve developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA, even if you’re not yet due to renew your licence. This also applies if your condition has worsened since your licence was issued.
Many people worry that they’ll be forced to stop driving, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
It’s a legal obligation for you to declare certain conditions to the DVLA. If you have an accident you haven’t declared a health condition, your insurance might not cover you.
Which conditions do I have to declare to the DVLA?
Some of the medical conditions that you must declare are:
- diabetes – if it’s insulin-treated
- any chronic neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis
- any condition that affects both eyes, or total loss of sight in one eye.
Other health conditions may need to be declared, depending on what kind of licence you have and how the condition affects you.
See the full list of medical conditions and disabilities you must declare on the DVLA website
What happens next?
After you’ve told the DVLA, it may:
- make a decision based on the information you provide
- contact your GP or consultant (with your permission) or arrange for a local doctor or specialist to examine you
- ask you to take a driving assessment, eyesight test or driving appraisal.
How likely am I to lose my licence if I declare a medical condition to the DVLA?
Having a medical condition doesn’t always mean that you will lose your licence.
You should be able to continue driving if your condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely. Or you may need some help to adjust or make adaptations to your car.
Sometimes the DVLA will issue you with a driving licence for 1, 2 or 3 years and then review things again in the future.
The DVLA can also give you a licence that shows you need to fit special controls to your vehicle to help you to drive with your disability.
Unfortunately, the DVLA can also tell you to stop driving, if you’re not fit to drive.
Declaring a health condition to your insurer
If you have a condition which you need to declare to the DVLA, you also need to declare this to your insurer. You may find that your premiums go up or that you need to seek a specialist provider. However, if you don’t declare your condition, it could invalidate your policy.
How do I get my driving ability reassessed?
If you’ve developed a medical condition, you may need to have your driving ability assessed. Or you may not have a medical condition, but have decided yourself that you could benefit from an assessment. You can either get assessed through a local driver assessment scheme or through a mobility centre.
Local driver assessment schemes
Many local councils, as well as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, offer driver assessment schemes.
Search for a driver assessment scheme near you on the Older Drivers website
Mobility centre driving assessments
If your medical condition or disability makes it more difficult to drive, then a mobility centre can advise you on the best options for your particular circumstances.
How do I get an assessment with a mobility centre?
The DVLA can refer you (and pay for the assessment) if they’ve asked you to take it, but there may be a long wait. It can be quicker to refer yourself but you will have to pay – the cost varies depending on the centre.
What does the mobility centre assessment involve?
Mobility centres have trained staff who can assess how your condition or disability affects your driving and look at what can help you to continue driving. The driving ability assessment will include:
- Physical assessment to see if you can operate a car’s controls
- Cognitive assessment to check your thinking skills
- Visual assessment to check your eyesight
- On-road assessment in a dual-controlled car
You’ll get to try out car adaptations to see what works for you.
What happens if they say I can’t drive anymore?
If the assessment shows that your medical condition makes it unsafe for you to drive, the DVLA can tell you to stop driving until your condition improves.
In this case, you’ll need to reapply for your licence if, and when, you’re able to drive safely again. The DVLA will provide you with a medical explanation and, if possible, state when you should reapply. Talk to your GP before reapplying for your licence so you can prove your condition has improved.
How to get a Blue Badge for disabled parking
If you or your passenger has severe mobility problems, the Blue Badge scheme lets you park nearer your destination than you might otherwise be able to. It gives you exemption from some parking restrictions and access to designated parking spaces.
Blue Badge holders are exempt from certain parking restrictions, including being allowed to park:
- free of charge at on-street parking meters and in Pay and Display bays
- on single or double yellow lines for up to 3 hours, except where there is a ban on loading or unloading.
Some local authorities put additional restrictions on Blue Badge holders; check with the local authority in the area you’re travelling to to find out what the local rules are. The scheme does not apply in certain boroughs in London, which offer their own parking concessions.
To find Blue Badge parking bays across the UK, check the GOV UK website.
Do I qualify for a Blue Badge?
You can qualify for a Blue Badge if one or more of these criteria apply to you:
- you get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or, if you claim Personal Independence Payment, you score a certain level on the Moving Around activity.
- you receive a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- you are a registered blind person
- you have received a lump sum benefit from the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme (within tariff levels 1-8). You must also have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking
- you have a permanent and substantial disability which means you are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty in walking (you will need to show that this criterion applies to you and you may have to be assessed by a medical professional such as physiotherapist or occupational therapist).
Apply for a Blue Badge
You can apply direct to your local authority, or online via the GOV.UK website.
How can I adjust to life without driving?
It can be difficult to accept when we’re no longer able to do something safely that has been a routine part of life. But reducing or giving up driving doesn’t mean the end of your independence or mobility.
If you’ve decided to stop driving, or been advised to by the DVLA, there are many ways you can get around and there may be help with transport costs. You may feel worried about the costs of giving up driving and having to pay for public transport but if you add up the amount you spend on car tax, insurance, fuel and maintenance, you may find that using alternatives work out to be less expensive than running a car.
Most people find adjusting to life without a car is difficult at first. If you’re finding life without a car tough and causing you to feel down, talk to a family member, friend or your GP.