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Photocard Driving Licence Explained

UK photocard driving licences – those pink cards we carry around – are official documents issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the United Kingdom.

These licences serve as a legal authorisation for individuals to drive motor vehicles on UK roads and also function as a form of photo identification.

The UK photocard driving licence replaced the older paper licences that some of you will remember, I’m sure, and features several elements for enhanced security and fraud prevention.

Here is a look at what every element on a UK photocard driving licence means:

Front of Photocard Driving Licence Explained

  1. Licence Holder’s Surname: The family name of the licence holder.
  2. First Names: The given names of the licence holder.
  3. Date and Place of Birth: The birth date and location of the licence holder.

4a. Date of Issue: The date when the licence was issued.

4b. Date of Expiry: The date when the licence expires.

4c. Issuing Authority: The authority that issued the licence, typically the DVLA.

  1. Driving Licence Number: A unique number assigned to the licence holder. This number encodes certain information about the driver, such as initials and date of birth.
  2. Driver’s Photograph: The black and white photo of the holder isn’t numbered, but it relates to the sixth point.
  3. Signature: The signature of the licence holder.
  4. Address: The current home address of the licence holder.
  5. Vehicle Entitlement Categories: Symbols indicating the type of vehicles the licence holder is authorised to drive.

Related How long points and offences stay on your driving licence explained

Back of Photocard Driving Licence Explained

  1. Pictogram/Codes Entitlement Categories: These are pictures and codes of different vehicles a UK licence can entitle someone to drive. The vehicles the licence holder is authorised to drive will have dates in the ‘valid from’ and ‘valid to’ boxes.
  2. Valid From: The date in which the driver was first authorised to drive that category of vehicle.
  3. Valid To: The date in which the driver is authorised to drive that category of vehicle.
  4. Information Codes/ Restrictions: These codes refer to specific requirements or limitations that a driver must adhere to when operating a vehicle.
  5. Not Currently Used

Can’t Find Your Driving Licence?

If you lose your driving licence, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible, as driving without a licence can lead to legal complications.

The first thing you should do, and this often goes overlooked, is to report the fact that you’ve lost your licence to the police.

This is especially true if you suspect your licence has been stolen. Even if you don’t think that, it’s good practice to prevent others from being able to use your licence.

Next, you need to apply for a replacement licence with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). This can be done online, by post, or, in some cases, over the phone.

Online: To apply online, you’ll need a Government Gateway ID (if you don’t have one, you can create one as part of the application process).

You’ll also need to be a resident of Great Britain, and not disqualified from driving for any reason. The fee for a replacement licence is usually required.

By Post: If you can’t apply online, you can apply by post. You will need to complete form D1 for car and motorbike licences or D2 for lorry and bus licences, available from most Post Offices.

Over the Phone: In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply over the phone if none of your details have changed.

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