It's over a decade now since the UK driving licence changed and photocard licences were introduced. Although voluntary take-up was slow to begin with in 1998, all applications for new or replacement licences since 2001 had to be issues with a photocard to comply with EU directives. This means that millions of motorists have now had the new licences for almost a decade and could face fines of up to £1,000 unless they pay £20 to renew their photo.

The issue was highlighted by Hugh Morris from Moneywise in a report on the 16th January 2013. It seems that many motorists are unaware that the photo on their licence needs to be updated every 10 years and that failing to do so renders it invalid and could lead to a £1,000 fine if they are pulled over by the police.

This is obviously important for all motorists, but its particularly important if you plan to rent a car or van in the coming months. A currnet and valid licence is a pre-requisite for any rental agreement and a rental company is obliged to refuse to provide a vehicle to anyone whose licence has expired. A valid licence is also a condition on car hire insurance policies, including ours!

It's possible to renew your photo online with the DVLA if you have a UK Passport which has been issues in the last 5 years ( to use this service you'll need to apply for a Government Gateway ID if you don't already have one. If your passport is older than 5 years you'll have to use the Post Office and complete a form D798. either route costs £20 to the DVLA, but the Post Office charges an extra £4.50 to process the application.

Also, remember the rules on passport photos are more strict now than they used to be. Photos can be rejected unless they comply with a number of rules on background colour, glare, picture dimensions or even if you're smiling. Information on photo requirements can be found on Government website (

Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.