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New 2013 Driving Licence Changes

New 2013 Driving Licence Changes


From 19th January onwards, a new EU directive comes into force that standardises driving licences across Europe.

The directive focuses specifically on the licence card’s design and the time period that the licence remains valid.


The directive aims to:


  • stop citizens, police forces and those responsible for the issuing of driving licences becoming confused by conflicting rules in different countries, and
  • help prevent criminals producing fraudulent driving licences.


These measures intend to make it easier for countries to accept driving licences issued by other member states and let people living in these countries move more freely around Europe.

These changes mean that from the 19th January onwards, EU member states including the UK will issue the new driving licences in the new format for new learner drivers and those who pass their driving test. Additionally, the new driving licences will replace all existing valid licences when motorists notify a change, exchange or renew their licence.

All vehicle categories will be shown on the back of your licence with dates shown against those you are entitled to drive. Drivers will not be entitled to drive any category of vehicle that has lines shown instead of dates.

Drivers will keep the entitlements they had when they passed their driving test and the types of vehicles that applied to those entitlements at that time. To learn to drive or pass a test to drive additional vehicles on or after 19 January 2013, drivers will have to meet any new minimum age limits, and the entitlement they receive will be as described under the new rules.

To find out more, please click here for a DVLA letter/fact sheet on this directive.

You can also find more on the Government’s website with photo examples of the new licences: