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Car insurance and driving licences

When did I pass my driving test?

Collette Shackleton
Written by  Collette Shackleton
5 min read
Updated: 06 Feb 2024

Find out the exact date you passed your driving test and why you need to know this information in our helpful guide.

Are you struggling to remember the exact date you passed your driving test? It’s an easy thing to forget, especially if you have been driving for several years. However, you might need to know this information when you’re searching for a car insurance quote.

How do I find the date I passed my driving test? 

You can find out the date you passed your driving test on the back of your driving licence, where there is a printed table displaying a range of images, numbers, letters, and dates.

Column 10 tells you the exact date your licence was issued by the Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the format DD/MM/YY.

driving licence

Can I check my driving licence information online?

Yes, you can also find your driving licence information online on the GOV.UK website.

What do dates on driving licence mean?

The main dates on your driving licence are:

  • 4a – this is found on the front of your licence and lists the date your current photocard licence was issued

  • 4b – this can also be viewed on the front of your card and features the date the photocard licence expires

  • 10 – is listed on the back of the card and lists the date your original driving licence was issued

  • 11 – is also found on the back of your licence card and shows the date your licence expires, which is 70 years old

If you want to continue driving after 70, you’ll need to renew your licence for free every three years after you reach this age.

It’s worth noting that although your licence doesn’t expire until you reach 70, you still need to renew your photocard licence every 10 years and provide an up-to-date photograph. This costs £14 and can be done online.

What happens if my driving licence says the wrong date on it?  

In some cases, the date on your driving licence may be wrong. If you passed your test before 1974, the date you see on your licence won’t be the exact date you passed your test.

Instead, it will display a date with a “<” sign before the date, meaning you passed your test sometime before that date. That’s because up until 1st March 1973, red book licences were issued by local authorities and had to be renewed every three years.

After this date, the DVLA began issuing new green paper licences, which were computerised. As old-style licences came up for renewal over the years, local authorities sent their records to the DVLA.

However, the date you passed your original test wouldn’t have been on these documents.

So, the DVLA inputted the date your records were transferred into their system instead of the day you passed your test. And this was the date they classed as your pass date on any replacement licences.

If your licence was issued after this date and you believe any information is incorrect, you can contact the DVLA to rectify this.

Why would I need to know how long I have held my licence? 

There are two main scenarios where you would need to know how long you’ve held your licence. These are:

  1. When you’re getting a car insurance quote, providers will want to know when you passed your test to see how much driving experience you have.

  2. You may also need to let car rental companies know how long you’ve been driving if you’re hiring a car.

Does the date I passed my test affect my car insurance cost? 

Yes, the date you passed your test can affect the cost of your car insurance.

Insurers see younger or new drivers as a bigger risk, as they are more likely to have an accident and make an insurance claim, which may make your insurance more expensive.

On the other hand, if you’ve held your licence for many years, you will be considered a safer, more experienced driver, and this will also be reflected in the price of your quote.

Find out more about how your driving licence affects your car insurance.

What do I do if I've lost my driving licence?

You can replace a lost, stolen, or damaged full or provisional driving licence on the GOV.UK website. This costs £20 to replace.

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