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Replacing your driving licence if lost, stolen, defaced or destroyed

Your driving licence consists of a photographic plastic card and a paper counterpart. If you lose, deface, or destroy one or both parts, you must apply for a replacement. You can apply for a replacement licence (full or provisional) by submitting a DL1 application form.

Changes from 8 June 2015 in GB to the paper counterpart of driving licences do not affect driving licences issued by the Driver & Vehicle Agency in NI. NI licences still require both the plastic photocard and paper counterpart.

What you need to do

You’ll need to:

  • complete a DL1 'application for a driving licence' form, available from MOT centres or main Post Office branches (DL1 forms are not downloadable)
  • include any remaining part of your licence
  • send your completed application and £30 fee to:
Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA)
Castlerock Road
BT51 3TB

If you have changed your name since your last licence was issued, you will also need to complete sections five and six of the DL1 form and provide original documents to confirm your new name.

If your appearance has changed since your existing photo was taken, or you are applying for a new full period licence, for example an optional renewal rather than a duplicate, you must provide a new photograph which you may need to have certified.

For more information on this and identity documents, please see the link below:

Be alert to unofficial websites offering online driver licensing. You cannot apply for a Northern Ireland driving licence online.

Driving before your licence is returned

You can drive before you receive your licence as long as you:

  • have held a Northern Ireland or Great Britain licence issued since 1 January 1976 or another exchangeable licence
  • have made a qualifying application for a licence
  • aren't disqualified from driving
  • haven't been refused a licence for medical reasons or for not complying with medical enquiries
  • wouldn't be refused a licence for medical reasons (if in doubt, check with your doctor)
  • keep to any special conditions which apply to the licence

Found your old licence?

If you find your driving licence after requesting or receiving your new replacement licence, return the old licence to DVA with a brief explanatory note as it is no longer valid.

When to expect your licence

Thinking about going on holiday this year and hiring a car? If the answer is yes, checking that your driving licence will be valid well before you are due to travel could save you a lot of last minute stress.

DVA aims to deliver your licence within three weeks of receiving a completed application, but this turnaround time may be longer during the busy summer period or if your health or personal details have to be checked.  

DVA will accept applications for renewal licences up to two months before they are due to run out, giving you time to plan ahead and make sure that your licence is ready in good time for your holiday.

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