I discovered that my Italian drivers license has expired.

I need to renew it but I'm an expat in the UK:

  • The Italian Driver License agency won't touch my license with a 10-foot-pole
  • The English DVLA says they can give me a UK license (yay!) but
    • it will take 4 weeks and
    • they want the only copy of my current license and of my passport

I can't really stay without my passport for that long (as I travel much) so here's my question: is there a faster (paid for) application or an application that does not require physically sending my passport?

The only other alternative I can think of is also dire: apply for an Italian ID card (1-3 months), and then send that... but this would leave me unable to drive for maybe 4 months!

  • 1
    I've no idea if they allow it, but you might want to check if you can go to a DVLA office and show your passport in person to do the ID check, then have them send off your Italian license. Otherwise, some countries allow you to have two passports if you travel a lot and need to always be leaving one for visas, maybe you could get a second Italian passport? (If Italy is one that does that)
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 18:58

4 Answers 4


It appears your options are pretty limited here, unfortunately, especially since the DVLA seems to have closed all their regional offices.

Firstly, you might want to try check in with (certain) larger Post Offices. Some Post Office branches have a license photocard renewal service where they validate passport details so that posting it is not necessary. However, it seems unlikely that this possible for foreign licenses, and I'm pretty sure the DVLA would have mentioned it on the phone if it were possible. It may be worth chatting to the postmaster at the biggest branch near you. http://www.postoffice.co.uk/uk-driving-licence-photocard-renewal has information on this service. Small post offices do not offer it, so check the website for more information.

Alternatively, you could as the DVLA if they are willing to accept a notarised copy of your passport instead of the original. This will require a trip to a Notary Public, and will cost in the region of £50 to £75. http://www.thenotariessociety.org.uk/ has a search engine to find the notary nearest to you.


While I don't know the intricacies of renewing from abroad, I know that driving schools offer license renewal. You may be able to work with a driving school and fax the information and signatures required.


You need to possess a VALID driving license in case you want to exchange it to a UK license. If your license is expired, they will not exchange it.


Besides, if you send DVLA the right documents, the process takes a MAXIMUM of 3 weeks (not 4 as in your enquiry). In my case, DVLA issued the exchanged license and returned my passport within 8 days.

But again, you need to send them a valid license to be eligible for an exchange.

  • 3
    This answer is incorrect, I posted the question after calling the DVLA and they will accept an expired licence (if Italian) and, while you get the license in 3 weeks, they keep the passport for one more week.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 15:05

The process of exchanging for a UK license requires dealing with UK authorities, who are not able to renew your Italian license. To renew your Italian license, you have to deal with Italian authorities.

  • 3
    Again, this is factually incorrect. I let DVLA handle it and they did.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 12:54

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