Check when your driving licence expires using section 4b


Find out how to check when your driving licence expires using section 4b and ensure you're not one of the two million drivers at risk of getting a £1,000 fine for driving with a licence that has run out.

Here we take a look at what 4b means and why you should check it now to help prevent getting handed a fine of up to £1,000.

Section 4b of the UK driving licenceThe all-important section 4b on a UK driving licence photocard  (Credit: Pete Barden)

What is 4b on the photocard driving licence?

If you look on your photocard, you will see various sections and 4B is one of the most important to keep up to date with.

So what does it actually tell us? Well 4b is the date on which you will need to renew your photocard driving licence. If you fail to do this, you could be in line for a big fine. See further down this page for details.

You may also see a lot of search results for 4b on my driving license on this subject, but this is just a variation of the spelling (typically an American English version) but this is exactly the same as 4b on your driving licence so there is no need to be concerned.

Where can I find out when my driving licence photocard needs to be renewed?

This is where section 4b comes in useful – by telling you the date it needs to be renewed.

You can find section 4b on the front of your licence – the face with your photo on. Just read down the sections until you find it, and the date you need to replace the photo will be clearly printed for you to see.

How often do I need to renew my photocard licence?

You will need to renew the photocard every ten years, which is why section 4b is so helpful when it comes to being reminded about the need to renew the document.

Can I drive if my photocard has expired?

If you have made your application for the photocard to be renewed but have not yet received it, then in most cases you will be able to drive while waiting for your driving licence.

You should also check section 4b before driving abroad, to ensure it will not expire when you are abroad, as you will not be able to continue driving until you physically have a new document in your hand.

How much does it cost to renew my driving licence?

Renewing a licence that has expired will cost you £14 if applied for online, or £17 by post. You can also apply at a Post Office, which will cost £21.50.

If you are renewing your licence because you have reached 70 years of age, there will be no fee.

There is no 4b on my paper licence - what should I do?

Don't worry, unlike photocard versions, UK paper licences are still valid and do not need to be renewed until the holder reaches 70, but you must swap your green or pink paper driving licence for a new-style photocard if anything changes - such as moving to a new address. 

The valid from and expiry dates can be found on the back of the green paper licence.

How much is the fine for having an expired photocard?

If you are caught driving with an expired photocard, you could be fined up to £1,000.

Why does the photocard need to be renewed every ten years?

While the person’s licence does not technically expire, the photocard does. This is because it is important for the document to be updated every ten years so that police and other law-enforcement agencies have the best photograph of the driver.

This makes it easier identify if a driving licence is being used fraudulently and also helps to prevent driving licence impersonation – stopping disqualified drivers being able to take to the roads.

How can I renew my photocard licence?


If you have a valid passport, you can renew your licence online, which is the quickest easiest solution. Renew your photocard online here


You can also apply by post. Here is how:

Get a ‘D1 pack’ of forms from a Post Office that deals with DVLA photocard renewal or vehicle tax.

You need to include these things with your completed forms:

  • a recent passport type photo(do not sign the back of the photo)
  • your current photocard licence, if you have it
  • a cheque or postal order for £17, payable to DVLA(no fee is needed if you have a medical short period licence or you’re aged 70 or over)

You also need to include identity documents if you’ve changed your name.

Send the application to:

SA99 1DH

At a Post Office

Additionally, you can apply at a Post Office. You will need to:

You will receive a reminder letter in the post. Take it to a Post Office that deals with DVLA photocard licence renewal.

You must also take:

  • your photocard licence if you have it
  • the £21.50 fee

If you do not have a reminder letter, you’ll need your photocard licence to apply at the Post Office.

You will not be able to apply at the Post Office if your name has changed. You’ll need to apply by post.

Find out what the other codes and categories on your licence mean, here. 

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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