Renew your vocational licence
Your entitlement to drive lorries, minibuses or buses needs to be renewed every five years until you are 65. After the age of 65 you have to renew your licence entitlement every year.
Changes made to the format of Great Britain driving licences effective on 8 June 2015, have no affect on licences from Driver & Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland (NI). NI licences still have two parts, a plastic photocard and paper part which is known as the 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 needed if you are over the age of 45. The DLM1 must be filled in by a doctor and you should make sure that all the relevant questions are answered. The doctor will normally charge you for filling in the report and those registered for VAT also need to charge the current rate on top of their fee.
Find out more about Medical questionnaires for lorry and bus licence holders
If you haven’t received a reminder, you should get a DL2 ‘application for renewal of a driving licence' from a main Post Office branch or directly from DVA by emailing your details to:
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 needed on renewal of the ordinary driving licence and no more often than every three years.
BDC's, which you can get from Access NI, will show details of all convictions considered to be unspent 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.
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 need Standard or Enhanced Disclosure arrangements may give a BDC waiver letter from their employer showing 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:
- fill in the DL2 form
- ask a doctor to fill in the DLM1 form (if over 45) - the doctor will normally charge you for filling in the report
- get and include a Basic Disclosure Certificate with your application (PCV only)
- or send a copy of your digital certificate to Driver & Vehicle Agency via the share button on your nidirect account and include the following email address - BusDriverConduct@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk - when you share your disclosure certificate with someone, it will only be visible to them for three days - you may share your certificate as many times as you like
- surrender your existing driving licence - failure to do so may delay the processing of your application
To login to your nidirect account, go to:
Send filled in forms to driver licensing at their address in Coleraine, see the page below for the postal address:
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 allows 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 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 give a medical examination report (DLM1)
You must tell DVA if you have ever had, or presently suffer from, a medical condition that may affect your driving.
If you are applying for, or hold, a large goods vehicle (LGV) or PCV driving licence you will have to meet a higher standard of conduct.