/ 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?

Comments
J K Preston says:
30 January 2020

Why can’t we send a digital photo online to the DVLA with the application to renew a photo card license. It is acceptable for a passport renewal.

I have just renewed mine and they retrieved a (digital) copy of my photo from the passport office to add to the licence.

Many people don’t have a passport and mine expired in 2006. I cannot understand why DVLA should not accept an image since there is no requirement to have a signature on the back.

In 2011 – when the last UK census took place – 76% of people in England and Wales held a UK passport. Only 17% had no passport at all.

So I winder really how many drivers do not have passports from where the photos can be used.

Although it is said you are unlikely to produce a high enough quality photograph at home, I’m not sure that is the case. I took our passport photos with a digital camera, printed them on a Canon inkjet, observed the pose and size rules and they were fine – checked by the Post Office at the time. I wonder why such a high quality photo is necessary when I look at the poor image on my licence. However, if it is needed to combat fraud I’m all for it being done properly. And only once every 10 years. I live in the sticks and I’ve a choice of 5 post offices, 2 particularly convenient, 3 not a million miles away, that I could use. I wonder how many people have no passport and are not within reasonable driving distance of an appropriate post office; I don’t see a half hour drive once every 10 years particularly burdensome particularly of combined with a shopping trip, for example. Nor do I see why “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.“. Really, just for driving licence photos when you can also use a photobooth? i expect decent high street photographers have far more lucrative work than this.

The specifications are:
> at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall
> at least 50KB and no more than 10MB

Digital cameras from the mid-90s exceeded this spec, so the challenge is to meet the other conditions and take a photo that is in focus. It’s a pity that you are not allowed to smile.

I took a photo on a cheap compact camera and printed it using cheap compatible printer ink and that was accepted for a friend’s passport.

Maybe I should renew my passport and visit Ireland.

Sorry about the awful spelling – the letters are wearing off my keyboard and I don’t touch type. I now know how ‘Allo ‘Allo was conceived. Wonder not winder; if not of; I not i. It’s late.

That’s interesting; I’ve been ‘typing’ on typewriters first, since I was 8 and until a few years ago had never had an issue with the letters disappearing. Since then, I’ve had to get rid of several keyboards because of disappearing letters. One of the affected boards was expensive, too. I suspect something has changed.

I do touch type but still like to see all the letters.

I’ve never had the letters wear off an Apple keyboard. I taught myself to touch-type on an electric portable typewriter with the help of a paperback costing 50p, back in 1978. I still follow the recommended method of always using the same finger for a particular key but am impressed by those who seem to manage to use the nearest finger and manage to avoid mistakes.

Touch-typing was easy to learn, but I’m the world’s slowest writer of textual messages on the phone. Thankfully it has learned my name, which helps.

I agree that Apple keyboards never seem to lose the letters. Sadly, they no longer do the type of keyboard I like: the clickety ones, so I had to buy from other suppliers.

I know others who feel the same. It’s a matter of personal choice, but I’m happy with the present Apple keyboards. What caused me a problem was when they switched the home keys (the ones with a raised pip for touch typists) from D and K to F and J, making Apple keyboards the same as PCs and typewriters. I preferred D and K because my second fingers are longer than the index fingers.

Drifting off topic…. 🙂

Blame the chap who started talking about the 2011 census. 🙂

Perhaps we could discuss national generating capacity… 🙂

Geraldine says:
12 March 2020

My husband just renewed his licence as it was 10 years old and a new photo was required. As he had a passport he renewed it on line so they used his passport photo which is 10 years old next May 2021. Just seemed like a completely pointless exercise.

SD says:
7 June 2020

I posted my renewal application over 2 months ago nothing received as yet. Is it just me or is anyone else still waiting? The DVLA have suspended the online chat and don’t want emails or telephone enquiries unless your a key worker – other than send a letter of complaint is there anything else I can do?

SD – I find a formal letter works where e-mails and chit-chat are unreliable, as well as much easier for both parties to keep track of. E-mails go into a virtual shredder and conversations are fully deniable.

John says:
17 June 2020

Have you got your licence back yet, I sent my application 4 weeks ago and got nothing back yet.

Charles Pope says:
1 July 2020

My wife needs to renew her photocard driving licence on 8th August. This is because of her age. She cannot do it online as she has an Irish passport. I here that the DVLA are giving a 7 month extension to renewals because of Covid 19. Is this correct as I cannot contact the DVLA to confirm.

Charles – This is what it says on the DVLA website :

Renew a photocard licence
From June 4 2020, 10 year photocard licences that expire between 1 February 2020 and 31 August 2020 will be automatically extended for a period of 7 months from the date of expiry. You do not need to take any action.

Why the form of date notation varies between the American convention and the UK style beats me!

Sumi shah says:
17 July 2020

Dear sir/madam,

The DVLA has kept my BRP with them since 25th May! I am an ER doctor and I need my BRP urgently for my Visa application or else I will lose my Job! I have sent them repeated emails,but all they say it’s in process! When you call them, an answering machine answers and drops the call!

Keeping my original BRP for this long is unacceptable and disgraceful! People are literally begging you to return them their Passports and BRPs on twitter and Facebook. Does the DVLA have no shame or conscience? They are playing with people’s lives here!
I feel emotionally and mentally harassed by the DVLA’s behaviour and lack of empathy.

The DVLA should stop using the pandemic as an excuse and do their job!
Every other department is coping with the pandemic, why can’t they?

Who keeps people’s personal passports and BRPs in this day when the whole world scans and emails documents? The DVLA is defunct, incompetent and a disgrace.

I no longer need a license I just want the DVLA to Return my BRP and give me back my life!

People’s lives and careers are at stake.

Sumi shah

Christine says:
31 July 2020

Hi, mum’s maltese driving license expires in October. She cannot visit Malta due to covid and due to Brexit she was told that it is best to exchange her EU driving license to a British one. Mum has permanent settled status now. Would she need to send her current EU driving license as well as her ID card? I am reading above and it seems DVLA do not always send personal identification documents back. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.