Replacing your driving licence
Your driving licence consists of a photographic plastic card and a paper counterpart. If you lose, deface, or destroy one or both parts, you must apply for a replacement.
Differences between NI and GB licences
Changes made to the format of Great Britain driving licences effective from 8 June 2015 have no effect on licences from the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland (NI). NI licences are still made up of two parts, a plastic photocard and paper part which is known as the paper counterpart.
You can apply for a replacement licence (full or provisional) online at:
Or, apply by post
You can replace your driving licence by post.
You’ll need to:
- complete a DL1 'application for a driving licence' form, available from main Post Office branches (DL1 forms are not downloadable)
- include any remaining part of your licence
- send your completed application and £30 fee to DVA at the address in the link below
- Driver & Vehicle Agency - driver licensing
If you have changed your name since your last licence was issued, you will also need to complete sections 1c and 8 of the DL1 form and provide original documents to confirm your new name.
You cannot currently tell the DVA about a change of name online. If your name has changed since you received your last driving licence you will need to give documentary evidence of the change of name such as:
- your passport in the name by which you are known
- or birth and marriage/ civil partnership certificate or Deed Poll
The evidence you provide must show a clear link between the name on the identity document and your present name. Photocopies of the documentary evidence are not acceptable.
Note - if you would like your supporting documents returned by secure delivery then include a registered post or pre-paid Royal Mail Special delivery envelope with your application.
If your appearance has changed since your existing photograph was taken, or you are applying for a new full period licence, for example an optional renewal rather than a duplicate, you must provide a new photograph which you may need to have certified.
For more information on identity documents and photographs, see the link below:
Be aware – do not use unofficial websites offering online driver licensing.
Driving before your licence arrives
Once the 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 driving licence issued since 1 January 1976 or hold another exchangeable licence – explained at the following links: GBR, Jersey, Guernsey, IOM, Gibraltar driving licences and Exchanging your foreign driving 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 not complying with the DVA 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 the DVA if you’ve ever had, or presently suffer from, a medical condition that may affect your driving.
When you find your old licence
If you find your driving licence after requesting or receiving your new replacement licence, return the old licence to the DVA with a brief explanatory note as it is no longer valid.
When to expect your licence
The DVA aims to process your licence within 10 working days of receiving a completed application. This may take longer if your health or personal details have to be checked. Allow at least four weeks for your driving licence to arrive before contacting the DVA.
If your driving licence has not arrived six weeks after you made your application you should contact DVA Driver Licensing.
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.
Driver Licensing will accept applications for renewal driving licences up to two months before they are due to expire, giving you time to plan ahead and make sure that your licence is ready in good time for example for a planned trip such as a holiday.
Driving on holiday
Thinking about going on holiday and hiring a car? If so, check that your driving licence will be valid well before you are due to travel.