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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).