From December 2021, UK driving licences are changing, with a series of design alterations to both full and provisional licence photocards. Learn more about the changes, why they’re happening, and when you can expect them below.
Since photocard driving licences were introduced in 1999, they’ve undergone very few changes. But with the UK now officially out of the EU, the DVLA has decided that it was high time for a few alterations.
If you’re due a new card or are required to check driving licences as part of your job, it’s important to know how photocard licences are changing. That way, you’ll know where to find the information you need and how to spot a genuine, up-to-date ID.
The main changes to note on both full and provisional UK driving licences include:
The Union Jack flag now appears in the top-right corner of the card, and the EU badge has, of course, been removed altogether.
Driving licences now have the Royal Crest embossed on the front, much like a passport.
The secondary holographic image of the cardholder now appears on the front, directly beneath the primary photo. On the outgoing card, this was on the back.
The driving licence number now appears directly in line with other text, rather than being offset to the right-hand side.
There are changes to the design of the colour shifting ink (ODI) on the back of driving licences.
The shape and design of the authenticity hologram has been updated.
If you’d like to see an example of how the new UK driving licence looks, click here.
There are two primary reasons why UK driving licences are changing.
Firstly, the UK’s departure from the EU necessitated the removal of the EU insignia. While this was done back in January 2021, only basic changes were made to the design – so it’s easy to see why the DVLA thought it time for a total overhaul.
Second, driving licence fraud remains a big problem in the UK, with criminals constantly developing new, advanced ways to forge IDs. As such, regular design updates make it harder for fraudsters to keep pace, particularly since the introduction of advanced holographic identifiers and OVI colour shifting ink.
Newly-designed UK driving licences are out as of now, so if you apply for a new full or provisional licence, or renew, you’ll be issued with the new style of photocard.
Just because driving licences are changing, however, it doesn’t mean you need to apply for a new one right away. Existing photocard licences will remain valid until their existing expiry date, so you only need to renew your licence when contacted by the DVLA.
Remember, though, that if any of your personal details have changed (such as your name or address) you need to apply for a new licence. In which case, you’ll be issued with the new style of photocard.