Old UK Paper Driving Licence

The original British paper driving license is still valid to use in the UK and other countries and to exchange in Australia, as long as the details are still correct.

You can exchange your old paper driving licence for a photocard driving licence online, but at a cost of £20.  These new licences are only valid for 10 years, and MUST be renewed.

An article in the Daily Mail states:

More than two million motorists are unwittingly getting behind the wheel with an out-of-date driving licence that could land them with a fine of up to £1,000, a survey reveals today.

The problem stems from drivers wrongly believing that the photo-identity card they carry is for life. In fact, it must be renewed every ten years.

This, say insurance experts, is causing confusion and could also render drivers’ insurance policies invalid.

One in 12 drivers admits they have not renewed their photo-card for at least a decade and are therefore driving without a valid licence. Although the DVLA recommends a fine of £1,000 for those caught driving with an invalid licence the police have the discretion to fine what they see fit.

Since 2010 some 734,000 drivers have been caught driving with an out-of-date licence and have paid out £41million in fines, averaging around £56 a time.


One important note on the www.gov.uk/exchange-paper-driving-licence website says:

  • While waiting for a new photo licence you can still drive on your old licence as long as it was issued after 1 January 1976.

Renew your driving licence

If you have a photocard driving licence, you must renew it every 10 years – you’ll receive a reminder before your current licence ends. Your new licence will be valid from the date your application is approved not from the expiry date of your current licence.


UK Driving Licence History

  • 1903: UK Driving Licences were introduced and valid for 1 year. A driving licence was given to anyone who applies. No driving test or check on medical fitness was required.
  • 1935: Driving tests were made compulsory.
  • 1957: UK Driving Licence validity was changed to 3 years.
  • 1974: The old red book driving licence is replaced by a computer produced document
  • 1976: UK Driving Licence validity was changed to the person age of 70.
  • 1998: The phased introduction of photocard driving licences began.
  • 2000: Photocard driving licence phase-in completed and paper licences ceased to be issued.

From this UK red driving licence   to this UK EU driving licence

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I have one

how do I find about a old red book license before 1974

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