/ Motoring

Renewing your driving licence photo just got harder

Would you drive for half an hour just to renew your driving licence photo? Well, you might have to if you’re set on doing it in person – there are currently 753 DVLA-approved Post Office branches.

Driving licences have to be renewed every ten years so that the photo can take into account the signs of aging, which are probably down, in part, to the stresses of running a car.

Until relatively recently you could turn up at your local Post Office to get a driving licence form to send off with a photo to the DVLA. Now, although you can still apply by post or online, if you want to do it in person you have to visit one of 753 Post Offices in the UK. Only in these particular branches will they take your photo to the required DVLA standards.

Tracking down your nearest approved Post Office

So, what’s the problem? Well, according to the Save the Photographers Campaign, this initiative adversely affects consumers and professional photographers alike. Anyone who doesn’t live close to one of the 753 designated Post Offices, and would prefer to avoid sending important documents through the post, may have cause for concern.

When you consider that there are 11,818 Post Office branches in the UK, there are currently only 753 branches that offer the new DVLA Photocard Renewal service. For example, if you’re in Skegness, Scunthorpe or Shrewsbury you’ll have to travel for over half an hour by road to find an approved Post Office.

Likewise, the loss of revenue high street photographers have incurred is estimated to place 350 businesses in danger of closure with around 5,000 jobs at risk. And for what purpose?

How would you like to renew your licence?

Around 2.4 million people need a new or replacement driving licence each year. I expect a fair proportion of them would like to visit their closest DVLA-approved Post Office and pay the £4.50 it costs to have staff take their photograph (this is on top of the £20 DVLA fee).

What bugs me is, if you can send your own photo by post to the DVLA, why can’t you turn up to a Post Office and submit your own printed photo? I’m sure the DVLA has a reason, but I can’t think of one.

The Save the Photographers Campaign believes this is just part one in a larger plan to centralise photo IDs, with a similar plan for passport photos being the next logical stage.

I can see the benefit of this scheme (it’s trusted and they’ll do all the work for you) and it may suit some people, but does it have to be detrimental to those who might prefer to take their own photos or use a professional service? Surely there’s room for both?

David Garland says:
18 August 2012

If you were to look at the idea,it does seem a good proposition.
The Post Office,as we know it ,it dead is the water.
The really valuable services have been sold off and the reaining services are running at a loss.
Putting the DVLA services and the Passport services into the Post offices will at least make it a more attractive when it eventually gets sold off.
The problem is that the Post offices will not be able to cope with the work loads.
Most of them have cut back on staffing levels and those members of staff left will have to do their regular work,plus handle all this extra work load.
They will all have to have extra training and learn how to handle new equipment.
I have stood and watched staff handling Visa applicants and it took over 30 minutes for one applicant. Now multiply that by a number of people and you see my point.

What will happen???
A huge back log and confusion and very angry customers!
So why not keep it simple and work with what we have now!!!??

Ian McDermaid says:
18 August 2012

That’s a good point David, yes if this were to go through then the PO would not be able to cope with the volume.

I can’t see them investing in the quantity required to fullfill the demand, as I have seen their inability to meet the demand of current customer demands.

I mean, what is your experience of going to the PO, mine is that you have to patiently queue, regardless, so what do you think will happen if they acquired this extra workload.


As the title says “renewing your driving licence just got harder” but if the government gets its way all ID photos will get harder to renew.

It’s easy – Post-Office 9-5, Tesco,ASDA 24hr, its all about the convenience.

If you work 9-5 and the government has its way you will be queuing up in the post office on your lunch break trying to renew your passport or driving licence or any other ID/photo based form (that’s if you can find a post-office with one of these special booths near to you.

But saving the already established company’s offering the ID photo service, you can call in morrisons on the way home or any other supermarket and have your photo taken and send it off in the post when you get home.

Is this not why we have convenience stores to make our lives easier?

So sign up today while its still convenient to have your photo taken anytime http://www.savethephotographers.co.uk/

Brian Steele says:
20 October 2012

Is it not rather ironic that this campaign is being sponsored by Photo-Me? I understand the interest of portrait photographers losing an income stream from those who get their passport and licence pictures taken professionally, but most of that income had already been poached by Photo-Me and their own machines years ago. What goes around comes around.


So we need a photographer to take a photo for a driving licence? On that basis we need a chef to heat a can of baked beans and a chauffeur to drive us to the supermarket. Sorry, but anyone capable of following instructions can do what is needed.

I’ve already made kind (and genuine) comments about professional photographers and taking snapshots for licences is hardly very creative. I’ve just had a look at the e-petition that has been mentioned and seen that it has been ‘signed’ by only 200 people, which is a bit short of the 100,000 needed. Perhaps I could be right.

I know photographers who are making a good living without doing handle-turning work like passport photos. Their main concern is that enthusiastic amateurs are encroaching on professional work.

Daniel says:
26 November 2012

Although I’m sure many photographers will take umbrage to the comparison to ‘heating a can of beans’, it is true that taking a passport photograph can be very simple with basic photographic knowledge and the ability to follow the DVLA guidelines.

On a side note, this is not the first threat to the bloated photographic industry, nor will it be the last. Photographers need to adapt to the changing landscape of the trade or die. Simple. It is absurd to insist that the government should be obliged to install contrived protectionism in an era when the sands are shifting beneath our feet in all directions.


I admit that my comment was a little provocative, Daniel. 🙂

There are plenty of other examples of the need to move with the times. Pubs are an obvious example. Many are struggling and many have closed, but some are doing well. In the photographic world, Kodak is a good example of what can go wrong.

Abrar Raja says:
1 July 2013

My Driving licence has been expired on 15 May 2013. If I apply today ( i.e 1st July 2013) for renewal of licence. Can I drive my car during the process period of renewal of licence which will
take 3 or more weeks ?

I appreciate if some one inform me about this.

Harry says:
21 July 2013

Could anyone explain why I had to pay £50 to renew my driving license & photo card at 70 ,
I went online and filled in all the correct information but to go any further I had to pay £50 to complete it .thought that you had to pay when you was 70 ,but since talking to friends my age they said it is free of charge at 70 could anyone explain please.