Changes made to the format of Great Britain driving licences effective from 8 June 2015, have no affect on licences issued by the Driver & Vehicle Agency in NI. Northern Ireland licences continue to be composed of two parts, a plastic photocard and a paper counterpart.
How to renew your entitlement
About two months before the expiry of your driving entitlement, the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) will send you a DL1R: ‘application for renewal of lorry and bus entitlement’ form.
A DLM1: ‘medical examination report’ form is also required if you are over the age of 45. These are available from MOT test centres or directly from DVA by emailing your details to:
- email: email@example.com
- Test centre locations
- Medical questionnaires for lorry and bus licence holders
If you haven’t received a reminder, you should get a DL1 ‘application for renewal of a driving licence' from a main Post Office branch, vehicle test centre or directly from DVA by emailing your details to:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to be alert to unofficial websites offering online driver licensing. You cannot apply for a Northern Ireland vocational driving licence online.
Basic Disclosure Certificates (PCV entitlement only)
All applications for Passenger-Carrying Vehicles (PCV) drivers' licences must be accompanied by a Basic Disclosure Certificate (BDC). Where the applicant is aged over 65 years, or where the ordinary driving licence is issued for periods of three years or less, a BDC will only be required on renewal of the ordinary driving licence, and no more often than every three years.
BDC's, which can be obtained from Access NI, will show details of all convictions considered to be unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, or state that no such convictions were found.
You should note that while a conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being issued with a licence, some serious convictions may lead to a refusal. Where a licence is refused, you may make an appeal under Article 76 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.
To get a Basic Disclosure Certificate, you should contact AccessNI:
DVA will only accept BDC's that have been issued within the period of three months ending with the date of the application for the driving licence.
Applicants for PCV driver’s licences who require Standard or Enhanced Disclosure arrangements may provide a BDC waiver letter from their employer indicating that they are in registered employment and that they have not been convicted of any offence which could lead to the refusal of the grant of a PCV driver’s licence.
Applications for PCV entitlement without a valid Disclosure Certificate will not be accepted.
You’ll need to:
- complete the DL1 form
- ask a doctor to complete the DLM1 form (if over 45) - the doctor will normally charge you for completing the report
- get and enclose a Basic Disclosure Certificate/BDC waiver letter with your application (PCV only)
- surrender your existing driving licence - failure to do so may delay the processing of your application
Send completed forms to:DVA
When to expect your licence
DVA aims to deliver your driving licence to you within three weeks of receiving your application. It'll take longer if your health or personal details have to be checked.
Driving before your licence is returned
Once DVA has received your application, you can drive before you receive your licence as long as:
- you have held a Northern Ireland or Great Britain driving licence issued since 1 April 1986, or an EU driving licence, which authorises the driving of vehicles included in the category to which your application relates
- you have made a qualifying application for a licence
- you aren't disqualified from driving
- you haven't been refused a licence for medical reasons or for failing to reply to medical enquiries
- you wouldn't be refused a licence for medical reasons (if in doubt, check with your doctor)
- you keep to any special conditions which apply to the previously issued licence
To renew your driving licence you need to observe the current medical standards as below:
- if you are under age 45 at the time of renewal, you will have to sign a declaration to confirm you still meet the medical standards for driving these vehicles
- if you are over age 45 at the time of renewal, you will need to provide a medical examination report (DLM1)
You must tell DVA if you have ever had, or currently suffer from, a medical condition that may affect your driving.
If you are applying for, or currently hold, a large goods vehicle (LGV) or PCV driving licence you will have to meet a higher standard of conduct.