Changes made to the format of Great Britain driving licences effective from 8 June 2015, have no effect on licences from the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland licences are still made up of two parts, a plastic photocard and paper part which is known as the paper counterpart.
What happens next?
About two months before the expiry of your present licence DVA will send you a form called 'Application for renewal of a driving licence' (DL1R). You’ll need to:
- fill in the DL1R form
- send it to Driver Licensing, County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine, BT51 3TB
- return your photocard driving licence and paper counterpart
- if your name has changed since you received your last driving licence then send original identity documentation to confirm this - such as your passport in the name by which you are known or birth and marriage/civil partnership certificate
- include a new passport type photograph
The rules for passport photos have changed as follows:
- if your appearance has not changed since you got your last driving licence, you can send in a passport type photograph without certification which means without a signature from an authorised person
- but if your appearance has changed significantly since your last driving licence you will need to send in a passport type photo that is certified, which means you must get an authorised person to sign the back of your photo
The following link explains who can sign your photo, this is under the heading 'Who can sign my photo?'
The following link has a section called 'The type of photo you need to send':
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 send out reminders as a courtesy but are not required to let a driver know that their licence is due to expire. If you don’t receive one, you can use the form called ‘Application for a driving licence’ (DL1). This form is available from Post Office® branches or MOT test centres.
Renewing your C1 or D1 licence categories
If you wish to renew your C1 or D1 licence categories, you must enclose the 'medical examination report' (DLM1 form) completed by a doctor, in support of your application. This applies whether you previously held full, restricted or voluntary entitlement.
DLM1 forms are available from MOT test centres or directly from the DVA by calling:
- phone: 0300 200 7861
Please note: Your doctor may charge you a fee for filling in 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 driving licence to you within three weeks of receiving your completed application. It'll take longer if they have to check your health or personal details. Allow at least four weeks for your driving licence to arrive before contacting DVA.
If you do not tell the 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 - explained at the link below
Driving on licences from Great Britain, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle Of Man, Gibraltar or Designated Countries
- 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 presently suffer from, a medical condition that may affect your driving.