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Have you got a photocard driving licence? Check it's not about to expire!
Member Name: sakura8
Advantages: Photocard is a useful form of ID
Disadvantages: Have to renew it every 10 years
When I passed my driving test back in 1999 I got one of the new photocard style licences that came with a paper counterpart, as they were introduced in July 1998. I found the photocard licence useful to carry around in my wallet as I don't look my age and would inevitably get asked for ID in pubs and clubs.
However, I didn't realise that the photocards expired after 10 years as the photo needs to be renewed! Luckily my brother sent an email to my whole family, warning us that if the photocards weren't renewed then it was an offence carrying a maximum £1,000 fine!
Well I couldn't check the expiry date on my photocard as I'd recently lost it, but I still had the paper counterpart and it said my licence was due to expire in April. The rest of my family all have the old paper licences so they didn't have to worry about renewing them.
My licence had my Dad's address on it, as that's where I used to live, so the DVLA sent a letter to me there with an application form to renew my licence. However, I also received the same letter and form at my current address (not sure how they got this address but at least they're thorough!). I received these letters 2 months before my licence was due to expire, so I think the DVLA did quite well to send them out in a timely manner.
So I filled out the application form by ticking the relevant boxes and giving details for why I needed a new licence:
* photocard renewal
* lost photocard licence
* change of address
The application form was quite easy to complete as they give you a booklet that explains all the sections of the form. I had to send it back with an up-to-date passport size photo and the paper counterpart of my licence. I also had to send them a cheque for £17.50, which covered the fee for the privilege of getting a renewed licence. Obviously I was reluctant to give this money to the DVLA, which people have been calling a 'stealth tax', but my Mum pointed out that it was only costing me £1.75 per year until I needed to renew it in another 10 years. However, this was easy for her to say as she had an old paper licence and wouldn't need to get it renewed!
Anyway, I sent off all the paperwork and a few days later my Dad told me I'd received a letter at his house from the DVLA. He opened the letter for me and it said that my application had been rejected as I needed to send them form 73A. I had no idea what this was as I'd sent them all the paperwork I had in my possession. Luckily I met up with my Dad shortly after he'd received my letter so he passed it onto me, but it might have been a story of inconvenience if my old address had been a house I'd once rented. The DVLA say that you're supposed to inform them straight away of a change of address, otherwise that could also result in a fine! Ooops!
Anyway, I phoned up the DVLA using the phone number on the letter and a very helpful woman explained what form 73A was. She looked up my records on their system and it said that a few years ago I'd reported that I'd lost my paper counterpart which was issue 72A and so they'd issued me a replacement, which is 73A. I had absolutely no recollection of reporting the loss of form 72A, especially as I had it in front of me!
So the lady on the phone told me to send everything back to the DVLA with a covering letter saying I'd lost the paper counterpart issue 73A, which I did and just over a week later I received my new photocard licence and a new paper counterpart (sent to my current address - hurrah!).
I think it is quite cheeky of the government to make us pay for a renewed photocard licence every 10 years! My fiancé is glad he didn't listen to me when I told him to get a photocard instead of carrying around his old paper licence, which is literally falling to pieces!
Hopefully this review will make people aware about the expiration of the photocards and make the renewal process a bit easier.
Summary and Useful Info:
* If you need to check the expiry date on your photocard licence, then it will be the date next to 4b.
* It is the photocard and not your actual driving licence which expires, so you will not have to retake your test.
* For paper licences issued before July 1998 there is nothing to worry about - it's just the photo on the card that needs to be renewed and if you have no photo then nothing needs to be updated.
- The application form is called D1.
- The paper counterpart to a photocard licence is called D740 and has issue numbers such as 72A, 73A and so on.
- The cost of renewing your photocard is £17.50.
- Changing your name or address on your photocard is free.
More info can be found at: www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/Need ANewOrUpdatedLicence/index.htm
PS. I just realised this review makes me sound incredibly disorganised as I have lost so many things! I swear I'm not normally that bad, but it's hard to keep track of things when you've not had a permanent abode! (^_^)
Summary: The DVLA were quick to renew my licence, but they were getting paid for doing it!