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What to do if you lose your driving licence

Last updated: 21/02/2022 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Make no mistake that a driving licence is an important document, and one of the few valid forms of ID. But we’re all human, and thankfully there is an easy-to-follow process on what to do in the event you’ve lost yours.

Why easy-to-follow? Well, because we outline it step-by-step here for you!

In This Guide:

Double check where you may have misplaced it

Panic’s setting in: you can’t find your licence. But before you frantically search the quickest way to get a replacement, make sure it’s actually lost.

Take a breath and think. Retrace your steps – when did you last use it? Speak to a friend or relative who can help talk through it methodically. Go through all those sneaky slots in your purse, your back pockets, down the back of the sofa. Applying for a new licence takes at least one week and comes with a fee, so don’t waste time and money if you don’t need to.

That being said, if you’re sure your licence was stolen, then there’s a different process.

Contact the DVLA

If you believe your licence to be stolen – whether actively or passively (i.e. leaving it tantalisingly on the bar) – you must report it to the police immediately. This protects you by preventing identity fraud, as your licence is an exceptionally valuable document in the hands of a criminal.

If your licence is lost, damaged or destroyed, and you live in England, Scotland or Wales, then your first port of call is to contact the DVLA. There are a few ways to do this, which we’ll go over in the next section.

FYI - in June 2015, the DVLA did away with the paper counterpart of the licence (which, frankly, we’re all for), so your replacement will be plastic only.

How to apply for a replacement driving licence

Applying online

The easiest and quickest way to apply for a replacement licence is online. Your licence should arrive within 1 week. There are a few stipulations to be able to apply this way - you must:

  • Be able to pay by credit or debit card
  • Be a resident of Great Britain
  • Provide addresses for the past 3 years
  • Provide an alternative form of ID such as a passport
  • Not be disqualified from driving

Applying by post

Pick up and complete a D1 form from your local post office. However, if the form isn’t available then you’ll need to order a copy online. After that, send in your application with payment by cheque.

Apply by phone

Provided none of your details have changed, your licence isn’t damaged and it has more than 56 days until it expires, you can also apply for a replacement by phone. Contact the DVLA on 0300 790 6801.  

How much does a replacement driving licence cost?

Replacing your driving licence will set you back £20, whether you’re on a full licence or a provisional. The price is the same for whether your licence was lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Can I still drive while I’m waiting for my new licence?

Yes, you can. While you’re waiting for your new licence to arrive, you’re still able to drive provided you haven’t been disqualified from driving and have sent in an application for your replacement.

If you happen to find your old licence either in the interim or even when your new one arrives, you’ll need to return this to the DVLA immediately as it’ll no longer be valid.

What if I lose my provisional licence?

If you lose your provisional licence, the process to apply for a replacement is exactly the same as above, while you’ll also have to pay the £20 fee.

Remember, if you’ve got either your driving theory or practical test coming up, then you must present your provisional licence on the day, otherwise you’re unable to take your test. Applying online is the quickest way to get a replacement – typically within 1 week – however if your tests are sooner than that then you’ll unfortunately need to rebook them.

But that’s a bit of a hassle, especially when you’ve been studying and practising hard to get on the road! Therefore, the best prevention is keeping your licence safe and secure in the first place; let’s go over some tips on how to do this.

How to keep your licence safe

  1. It goes without saying, but keep it in a safe and secure place - don’t keep this little piece of plastic loose in your back pocket.
  2. It’s a slight myth that you must be able to present your driving licence to a police officer if requested when you’re driving a vehicle. In fact, you have 7 days to produce your licence, but would need to take it to a police station if it’s not on your person at the time. For some, the best option may be to store your licence in a safe location in your home.
  3. For most people though, a purse or wallet does the trick – that way you always know where it is and have it ready to go when out and about. Popular choices these days are phone cases with card holders, but we’re sceptical – whilst convenient, how often do you see a multitude of phones on a table at a restaurant or bar?

Remember, your licence is a valid form of ID, so you also want to prevent the worry of taking the most coveted form of ID, your passport, out to the bars and clubs (or worse still, being declined entry!).

Will losing my driving licence affect my car insurance?

No! Fear not: replacing your driving licence doesn’t affect your car insurance premium at all. But with the fee you pay, you may be in the market to save some money on your next quote, and we’ve got all the tricks of the trade on how to do this as a young driver here.

Car Insurance,

easier than ever.