Photographic criteria for your driving licence

If you want to apply for a photocard driving licence, in most cases you will need to provide a photograph which will need to meet specific standards. It may also need to be certified depending on the type of identification that you are using to apply for your licence.

Do I need to provide a photo?

You must provide a recent, colour, passport-size photograph if you are applying for:

  • a provisional driving licence
  • a renewal of your driving licence
  • an optional renewal of your driving licence
  • an exchange of your licence from another country*

* You will also need to provide proof of residency - there is further information about how to do this on the page below:

When is a photo not required?

You do not need to provide a photo if the reason you are applying for a licence is:

  • a change of name and/or address
  • a replacement (a replacement is a copy of your existing licence)

If, however, your appearance has changed significantly, you will need to apply for an optional renewal instead, and for that you will need to provide a new photograph.

The type of photo you need to send

The photo must be:

  • printed to a high quality, such as photos printed by a booth or studio (photographs printed at home are unlikely to be of a high enough quality)
  • taken within the last month, a true likeness of you and of your full head
  • in colour, not black and white, against a light grey or cream background
  • 45mm high x 35mm wide (however, please don't trim your photographs to meet this condition)
  • taken so that your eyes can be positioned in the area marked by the shaded band (see diagram below)

Diagram showing the dimensions needed for a driving licence photograph

  • clear, in sharp focus, free from ‘red eye’ and with no shadow in it
  • free of any reflection or glare from glasses (where possible, DVA recommends that you remove your glasses to avoid the possibility of rejection)
  • of you on your own
  • in good condition, not damaged, creased, torn or marked

You must:

  • face forward and look straight into the camera with your eyes open and nothing covering your face
  • look natural with no facial expressions, for example, smiling, grinning or frowning
  • have nothing covering your eyes, for example, hair or glasses frame
  • not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses
  • not wear a hat or cover your head unless for medical or religious reasons

Having your photograph certified

If you’re providing identity documents other than an up-to-date UK or other EEA passport, a valid UK Biometric Residence Permit or UK travel document, you must get an authorised person to sign the back of your photo.

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