Changes made to the format of Great Britain driving licences effective from 8 June 2015, have no effect on licences issued by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland licences continue to be composed of two parts, a plastic photocard and a paper counterpart.
What happens next?
Approximately two months before the expiry of your current licence DVA will send you a DL1R: ‘application for renewal of a driving licence'. You’ll need to:
- complete the DL1R form
- send it to Driver Licensing, County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine, BT51 3TB
- return your photocard driving licence and counterpart
- if your name has changed since your last licence was issued send original identity documentation to confirm this
- include a new passport type certified photograph, which must be signed and dated on the back by either an MP (member of parliament), Justice of the Peace, minister of religion or a professionally qualified person (engineer, lawyer, teacher, shop-keeper, librarian, local business person, local councillor, bank official, established civil servant, police officer or someone of similar standing) who has known you for at least two years and must not be related to you in any way
- Photographic criteria for your driving licence
No fee is needed with this application.
Please remember to be alert to unofficial websites offering online driver licensing. You cannot apply for a Northern Ireland driving licence online.
What if you don't receive a reminder?
The DVA issue the reminders as a courtesy and are not obliged to let a driver know that their licence is due to expire. If you don’t receive one, you can use the DL1: ‘application for a driving licence’. This form is available from Post Office® branches or MOT test centres.
Following the introduction of a new IT system at the end of November 2016, there were delays in issuing reminders to customers within the normal two month window. Those issues have now been resolved and to date DVA have issued reminders to customers whose licences were due to expire during March and April 2017 and are currently working on a schedule to issue reminders to customers whose licence will expire in May and June 2017. From May, the reminder process will go back to the normal two month notice period.
Renewing your C1 or D1 entitlement
If you wish to renew your C1 or D1 entitlement, you must enclose the 'medical examination report' DLM1 completed by a doctor, in support of your application. This applies whether you previously held full, restricted or voluntary entitlement.
DLM1’s are available from MOT centres or directly from the DVA by calling:
- phone: 0300 200 7861
Please note: Your doctor may charge you a fee for the completion of the DLM1 medical report
Deciding to stop driving
There’s no legal age at which you must stop driving. You can decide when to stop, as long as you don’t have any medical conditions that affect your driving. Find out how changes to your health can affect your driving and how to give up your licence at the link below:
When to expect your licence
DVA aims to deliver your new driving licence to you within three weeks of receiving your application. It'll take longer if they have to check your health or personal details. Allow at least three weeks for your driving licence to arrive before contacting DVA. If you do not inform DVA within eight weeks that your licence has not arrived, you must apply for a duplicate licence and pay the relevant fee
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Driving before your licence is returned
Once DVA has received your valid application 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 failing to comply 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
You must tell DVA if you’ve ever had, or currently suffer from, a medical condition that may affect your driving.