The government has announced that driving licence photocard validity will be extended by 7 months for motorists whose licence expires between 1 February and 31 August 2020. This enables drivers to continue making necessary journeys without worrying about having to get a new photograph to renew their licence.
Under normal circumstances, a driving licence photocard must be renewed every 10 years, while bus and lorry drivers must update their licence every 5 years. However, new EU regulations mean that licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August will be automatically extended 7 months after the date of expiry.
Reminder will be sent to renew driving photocard licence
A reminder will be sent to motorists notifying them that they will need to renew their licence once the 7-month extension expires.
Chief executive of the DVLA, Julie Lennard, said: “This extension will make it easier for drivers who need to update their photocard licence with a new photograph. This means if they have a valid licence, drivers will be able to continue to make essential journeys.”
“The extension is automatic so drivers do not need to do anything and will be sent a reminder to renew their photocard before the extension ends.”
UK driver testing
News that driving licence photocard validity will be extended automatically comes as thousands of learner drivers anxiously wait for practical driving exams and theory tests to resume.
The government expects driving lessons to be able to restart from 4 July, while theory test centres are set to reopen and practical tests are also set to resume.
The DVSA anticipates a huge backlog in both theory tests and practical exams with most test centres closed to all except keyworkers since 20 March.
Figures are set to be published by the government in September and they are likely to show the biggest waiting list for a theory test and practical exam ever!
Problems for some test candidates
For many test candidates, the coronavirus pandemic has caused huge problems. Cancellations and rearranged tests have been an issue for many learner drivers, especially in rural areas.
17-year-old Ela Owen, who lives in Llanrwst in Conwy, Wales explained that her test had been cancelled in March and rearranged for 28 July.
She said she was ‘disappointed’ when the first test was cancelled and there remains ‘uncertainty’ around whether she will be able to sit the rearranged test.
Ela said: “We don’t live in a city so there’s not as many buses or trains to get to places, so needing a car in a rural area is quite important to have that independence.”
Ela’s case is just one of thousands across the UK.