Drivers urged to check licence expiry date or risk fine as automatic extension ends

The DVLA is urging drivers to check their licence expiry date or risk a substantial fine.

The licensing body has reminded motorists who were granted an automatic extension during the first UK-wide lockdown that the grace period is coming to an end and they must apply to renew their licence in the coming weeks.

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Driving licences are usually valid for 10 years then must be renewed. Driving with an expired licence carries a fine of up to £1,000 and up to six penalty points should you later renew it.

The automatic extension was introduced last year to reduce pressure on the DVLA during the first Covid-19 lockdown. It granted an 11-month extension to anyone whose licence expired during or after February 2020. After initially covering licences due to expire between February and August, the scheme was extended to cover all licences expiring in 2020.

For the first drivers to benefit from the extension it is now coming to an end and their licence will automatically expire unless they apply to renew it.

How to check when your driving licence expires

The expiry date of a licence is printed on the front of the photocard under section 4b. For any licence due to expire from February 1 2020 to December 31 2020, you should add 11 months on to get your new expiry date.

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While most licences are valid for 10 years and need to be renewed to ensure the photograph is accurate, there are different rules for those with a paper licence, those over the age of 70 and anyone with a medical condition which could affect their ability to drive.

Drivers whose licence is due to expire soon are being encouraged by the DVLA to apply to renew it online, although it can also be done by post. Follow our guide here for all the details on the process.

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