When you’re first starting out on the road in the United Kingdom, nothing is more essential than that enchanting green provisional licence! As a teen, there’s nothing better than kickstarting your journey into becoming more independent than learning to drive. And if you’re exchanging your foreign licence in the UK, it’s a relief to be an owner of that provisional licence, knowing that you won’t have to keep relying on the UK’s infamous public transport system for much longer.
But… What do you do if your provisional licence just disappears?
First of all, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. We’ve got you. In this article, we’re going to tell you all about what you need to do to get a replacement provisional licence — hopefully just in time for your driving test!
It’s natural to want to report your lost provisional licence at the local police station as soon as possible, and we don’t blame you. Getting your provisional licence is a key step to becoming a legal driver in the UK, after all! However, there are a few things you need to do before you do that.
When something as crucial as a driver’s licence goes missing, the worst possible reaction is panic. Therefore, it’s best to take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before continuing.
Ready? Here’s what you need to do:
Similar to if a driver has lost their full licence, the primary objective here is to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that your provisional licence was indeed lost. With that said, the first thing you should do when you’ve realised that your provisional licence is missing is to retrace your steps. When was the last time you actually saw your licence and held it in your hands? Did you use it as proof of identification at any point within the last 24 hours?
A great tip that we highly recommend you use is to find your calm, sit down and retrace your steps using a piece of paper, notebook or the Notes app on your phone. Be sure to go into as much detail as possible before tracing your steps backwards. If any of the locations that you have been to include restaurants, be sure to ask the staff if anyone has noticed anything being left behind. If you’ve been with friends or family, ask them if they’ve seen it.
Don’t feel too shy or ashamed to seek help from other people, especially complete strangers. Don’t think that simply replacing your provisional licence right away is the easiest option. If there’s a chance you can get your lost licence back, you should do all it takes to do so. Honestly? Having to report to the DVLA that you haven’t truly lost your licence is much more embarrassing (and expensive).
If you’re 100% certain that your licence is lost, then the next step to take is to report your lost provisional licence to the police. A misplaced licence is one thing, but a lost licence has a high probability of actually being stolen — which can lead to all sorts of trouble if it’s not sorted sooner rather than later.
This is because provisional licences can be used as proof of identification in many cases. Thankfully, many banks and financial institutions, such as NatWest, no longer accept provisional driving licences as proof of identity. However, provisional licences can still be used as proof of identity to get served alcohol or even make purchases for age-restricted items at the supermarket — such as alcohol and knives. Yeesh…
Unless you report the theft to the authorities, they will not know that this form of identification has been lost or stolen. Once reported, the authorities will be able to keep an eye out for any suspicious conduct involving your personal information because you reported it. So, being sure to report your lost provisional licence to the police can protect you from falling victim to identity theft!
Once you’ve made your report, you’re now one step closer to applying for your replacement provisional licence. But before you do so, there’s one very important final step to take before jumping onto GOV.UK and applying for your replacement licence.
Ask yourself: Have you moved homes since you obtained your provisional licence? If so, a very important step to take while applying for a replacement provisional licence is to update your address with DVLA, which you can do within the same form. This ensures that your licence gets sent to the right address — and avoids any further embarrassment than necessary!
Now you’ve taken all the steps we’ve outlined in the previous section, you’re finally ready to get started. Getting a replacement provisional licence is easy peasy, and so long as you’ve followed these instructions as closely as possible, the process should go smoothly. In fact, there are only two steps you need to take:
There are actually a few ways that you can apply for a replacement provisional licence — via the DVLA’s online portal, by calling the DVLA or by sending an application via post. Here are those three options, broken down:
Applying for a new temporary licence online is definitely the most convenient and speedy option. Start by visiting the DVLA portal on GOV.UK, where you can submit an application for your replacement licence — whether provisional or full.
Please note that your Government Gateway ID is just the beginning of the essential data you’ll need to complete this process. If you submitted your initial provisional licence application online, you should already have one of them. If you’ve lost your login information, don’t panic; it happens to the best of us. You should be able to reset one or both of them fairly easily within a few clicks.
After signing in, you’ll be asked for the following personal information to complete the application:
You should know that although the process is relatively easy, it isn’t free! So, to replace your lost provisional licence, you must fork up £20. You can pay the fee via the online portal using any major credit or debit card.
It is possible to apply for a replacement licence over the phone if you prefer not to use a computer or are not comfortable doing so. The DVLA can be reached at 0300 790 6801.
The operator on the phone will request for your personal information to verify your identity. The information they’ll request will be the same as if you were applying via the online portal, so be sure that you have these details on hand before ringing the DVLA:
Keep in mind that you can only make a phone request for a replacement if no information has changed after your original provisional licence was issued. It is also impossible to apply by phone if your licence is damaged or expires in fewer than 56 days (or 90 days you’ve reported a medical condition to DVLA).
To replace your driver’s licence the old-fashioned way, simply visit your neighbourhood post office. You should be able to find the D1 “Application for a Driving Licence” form there, which you’ll need to apply for your replacement licence. If you want to kill two birds with one stone and change the name on your licence at the same time, you can only do so via post.
Get to work with nothing more than a pen and some information about yourself. In the event that your neighbourhood post office is out of D1 forms, you can order one to be sent to you via the handy DVLA forms portal.
Be sure to read the form thoroughly and fill in the right details before sending your application off, along with a postal order or cheque to pay the replacement fee.
If you’re in a hurry, getting your replacement done via post isn’t the best option. Why? Well, mostly because it can take up to three weeks to get your new licence!
Once you’ve applied for your replacement provisional licence using your preferred method, all you have to do is wait for it to arrive! The wait time differs depending on which option you’ve selected, so be prepared to wait anywhere from one to three weeks.
Drivers in Northern Ireland — provisional drivers included — fall under the jurisdiction of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland rather than DVLA. So, if you’re a Northern Irish driver reading this article, don’t worry! The steps we’ve outlined above remain the same, but rather than get in touch with the DVLA, you will have to apply for a replacement provisional driving licence via the DVA instead.
You can find all the information you need on the NIdirect website, including the online licence replacement portal, the correct postal forms and the phone number of the DVA.
Getting a new temporary licence will cost you £20. The DVLA accepts payments made with MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro and Delta.
Be prepared to wait anywhere from one to three weeks for your replacement licence, depending on which option you choose.
If you apply for a new licence online, you can expect to receive it within a week. Expect up to three weeks of waiting time if you apply via mail or phone.
Sooooo… Bad news. If you’ve lost your provisional licence right before your driving test and your new licence will only arrive after the test date, you’ll need to book a new test date ASAP.
It is very important to always keep the address on your licence up to date to ensure the replacement licence you apply for can be sent to the right address and to avoid fines.
Getting a replacement provisional licence is a relatively straightforward process, but we don’t recommend making it a habit continuously lose it. £20 might not seem like a lot at first, but that can add up pretty quickly if you keep being careless, and there are much better things to spend that money on, for sure! Always keep your provisional licence in a secure location and be vigilant about keeping your things safe.
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