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of everyone affected by epilepsy

 

Applying or reapplying for your driving licence

These pages are about driving laws in the UK. If you are looking for information about driving laws in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

How can I apply for a driving licence for the first time?

Before you can start driving you will need a provisional driving licence. You’ll need to meet the same epilepsy driving rules as for a full group 1 licence. You can apply for your provisional licence online, or complete an application form available from Post Offices.

I'm allowed to drive again. How do I get my driving licence back?

You can reapply for your licence up to 8 weeks before the date you meet the legal standard for driving. For most people this date will be 12 months after their last seizure, but this might be different depending on the type of seizures you have. See our page about the group 1 driving rules or group 2 driving rules to check.

Before you reapply, check with your doctor that they agree you’re fit to drive again. If they think you meet the epilepsy driving rules, you can then start the process of reapplying.

If you're reapplying for a group 1 licence, these are the forms you will need to reapply:

England, Scotland and Wales

Northern Ireland

D1 application form (available from Post Offices or to order from DVLA)

FEP1 medical questionnaire (download or order from DVLA)

DL1 application form (available from Post Offices and MOT test centres). Once DVA has received your application, they will send you a medical questionnaire.

If you are reapplying to get your group 2 licence back, contact the relevant driving agency to find out what forms you need to fill in.

I’ve reapplied for my licence. When can I start driving again?

When you can start driving again depends on whether you surrendered your licence, or whether it was formally withdrawn (revoked) by the driving agency.

If you surrendered your licence

If you surrendered your licence you may be able to start driving again as soon as you meet the epilepsy driving rules, while you're waiting to receive your new licence. This would be possible if:

  • The driving agency has received your application and
  • There are no other medical or legal reasons why you should not be driving

Full information about this is available in the leaflet INF188/6 - Can I drive while my application is with DVLA? (England, Scotland and Wales). Information for drivers in Northern Ireland is available on the NI direct website.

If your driving licence was revoked

If your driving licence was revoked you’ll have to wait until all medical enquiries are complete. You will also need to have your driving licence back before you can start driving again.

How long will my driving licence be issued for?

When you get your driving licence back, it will be medically restricted. Medically restricted licences can be for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years.

If you have been seizure free for 5 years, the driving agency may issue you with a ‘till 70’ licence.

I’ve got my group 1 licence back but the categories of vehicle I can drive has changed. Why is that?

Group 1 licences issued before 1 January 1997 included the categories C1 (lorries weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes) and D1 (minibuses, 9-16 seats, not for hire or reward). Licences issued after 1 January 1997 do not include these categories. If you’ve had to give up your pre-1997 licence for medical reasons, the C1 and D1 categories will have been taken off.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.

Code: 
B005.07

Epilepsy Action would like to thank DVLA for contributing to this information.

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated March 2019
    To be reviewed March 2022

Comments: read the 33 comments or add yours

Comments

Hi,

Can I still declare to the DVLA that I took a seizure on January 2016? And if so will i be fined or will my licene be taken from me. I have only ever taking one seizure and I never drove after it for well over a year. My neurosurgeon gave me the choice to take medication and reduce the risk of it ever happening again so I've been on the medication since 2016.

The seizure was brought on by drink and drugs abuse at a low point in my life I don't actually have epilepsy.

Thanks,

Matt

Submitted by Matt on

Hi Matt

You do need to tell DVLA about the seizure. This is because your current licence won’t be valid. You will need one based on having been seizure free for 12 months (or more)

They probably won’t fine you as they are more interested in keeping the roads safe right now. But I am telling you about the rules for epilepsy rather than drink and drugs.

Either way you are definitely best off telling them.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I notice how many heart attack victims seem to be back on the road long before us Epileptics are a neighbour is also a stroke victimm but never had his licence revoked I think this is unfair and victimisation

Submitted by James Morgan on

Hi, i had 3 seizures in 24hrs ( no previous history) and had to surrender my licence for 12 months. I have had no further seizures and got my licence back but without my cat C. How can i get cat C back or is it not possible??

Submitted by Jo Marie Smitheram on

Hi
I suffered a seizure whilst driving on a medically restricted license due to a previous seizure. I voluntary surrendered my license and now am at teh point I can reapply. Firstly, do I need to send a form FEP1? as the condition was reported previously and if so, does my GP need to complete this? Also, do I need to send a photo as I previously held a photo card license and the guidance is not clear.
thanks
Mark

Submitted by MarkH on

Hi Mark

Hopefully you have seen our information about reapplying for your licence. You need to complete a D1 and an FEP1. The FEP1 you complete yourself. But it involves giving DVLA consent to contact your doctor. As far as I’m aware you don’t need a new photo.

Hope that helps. 

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

My last epileptic seizure was in October 2013 and I've been fit free since. My provisional is only valid for 5 years. When will my provisional/driving license be valid for 10 years? I can happily contact my brain surgeon if the DVLA require more information.
Thanks!

Submitted by Katie Chambers on

Hi Katie

As you now have a licence for 5 years there is a good possibility that next time you will get a til 70 licence.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

hi all,
my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour August 2017. he hasnt had a seizure in the last 12 months since taking medication to control it. we never declared it to the dvla, he just hasn’t driven since. i’m not sure what to do, would he now technically be driving illegally? if we declare it now it sees nonsensical to have it revoked as he hasn’t had a seizure in the last 12 months? he’s likely to be going back to work soon so will need to drive.

Submitted by Emily Russell on

Hi Emily

It’s good that your husband stopped driving but the driving laws state he must update the DVLA if diagnosed with a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability.

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect his ability to drive safely. This includes seizures.

Your husband will need to complete the declaration of voluntary surrender form, and return this with his licence.

If he doesn’t notify the DVLA his driving licence is invalid, his car insurance will be invalid and he will be driving illegally. We have heard from others in a similar situation as your husband, who stopped driving but didn’t return their licence to the DVLA.  On a positive note, we have not heard of anyone being prosecuted when they have up dated the DVLA. But we do know if he doesn’t tell the DVLA they could fine him up to £1,000 if they become aware of his situation.  He may also be prosecuted if he’s involved in an accident as a result of the condition.

As your husband meets the driving regulations, once his records are updated the DVLA should send him a new licence. If your husband needs to drive for his job, it would be best to get things sorted before he starts work.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am until 5.30pm.

Regards

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

I had two nocturnal seizures, the last in 2012, and have been on Epilim ever since. Reapplying for my driving licence is a nightmare. This time it has taken more than 100 days so far; my full licence expired four weeks ago. DVLA say it is with the supervisor "for processing" but I have had to cancel two family holidays to Europe. Although I can drive in UK the section 88 thingy doesn't work in EU.

Submitted by Angus Macdonald on

Hi

Ok. I'm 12 weeks into trying to regain my license after surrendering last September (9th). I saw my GP and he was happy to support my application.
I was surprised therefore to receive a request at the weekend from DVLA to attend a different DVLA approved practitioner? for a DVLA Medical. The earliest appointment I can get is 18th October and DVLA tell me that it will take 21 days after receiving the results but they may need to contact my GP for further information so at this rate it could be Christmas before they make a decision. I'm not sure if anyone else has been pushed down this route as I don't see the point of taking time off work to see my GP if DVLA are going to ignore their advice and I could have gone for a DVLA medical in the first place if this is the new practise.

Submitted by MarkH on

Hi Mark,

 

Not everybody reapplying for their driving licence needs to have a medical assessment with a DVLA approved practitioner. But we do know that this is something the DVLA can sometimes request. We don’t know why they might have done so in your case, but you could get in contact with them and ask them to explain their decision.

 

Regards,

 

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I had my license revoked for a year after having x2 seizures but have now recieved my license back only to find that the issue date on the license has changed.
When filling out an insurance form, do you put the date of your newly issued license (from after the seizures) or when your first ever full driving licence was issued as there is a three year gap between mine and quite a cost difference in insurance!

Thank you in advance.

Submitted by Beth moore on

Hi Beth

It is fairly likely you will need to put the new issue date on. But I would strongly advise you to check this either with DVLA or the insurance company as we are not completely sure.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

The DVLA are a compkete joke and a law unto themselves.
When a neuro surgeon of 35 years can be ovet ruled by someone whos never met you and works from an office the system is a total joke.

Submitted by Lee Armstrong on

Hi there, I had a seizure back in April 2018 and had all the test you can have and all back normal nothing wrong consultant said I can drive after 6 months if all clear so reapplies to dvla and they dragging there feet it’s not 6 months and a week since it happened and still not driving I’ve found out dvla have made a mistake on my paparwork so can I still drive now?

Submitted by Lee mcnulty on

Hi Lee

If you have only had an isolated seizure and then nothing more for 6 months, then you do meet the epilepsy and driving laws. But whether you can drive again depends on a few things. 

If

  • you surrendered your licence
  • your doctor says you’re okay to drive
  • you have received written confirmation from DVLA that they have received your application and
  • you meet the general driving laws

 

then you should be able to drive. Even so I would still check with DVLA.

If all those things are not in place, then you will need to wait for DVLA either to send you a Section 88 letter (if you surrendered your licence) . Or you need to wait until DVLA send you a new licence.

The epilepsy and driving laws are quite complex so I do hope this makes sense for you.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi I had a isolated seizure in my sleep the doctor at the hospital advised me to manually surrrnder my licence to DVLA which I did. DVLA sent me a letter stating I can’t drive for six months. What I want to know is at what period can I send the forms for renewal and medical bk to DVLA. And do I need to speak to my own doctor???
Many thanks

Submitted by Chris Twomey on

Hi - I reapplies for my licence 6 weeks ago, 8 weeks ahead of me being 1 year seizure free. I haven’t had a response yet but I wondered if you know whether I was supposed to send a new photo with my application? I didn’t and D1 seemed to suggest it wasn’t mandatory but I am now worried I should have.

Submitted by SE on

Hi SE

As far as I know a new photo is only necessary if your appearance has significantly changed from your last photo, or if you only had a paper licence before.

But it may take a little while for DVLA to get back to you. They tend to have a permanent backlog of work.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

 

Submitted by rich on

My doctors have said I'm ok too drive what's the next step and how long before I get my license back

Submitted by Michael on

Hi Michael

Thanks for your message. The first step is to fill in the application forms. The forms you need will depend on which driving agency you’re applying to.

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales you can find details of the forms on the DVLA website here.

If you’re in Northern Ireland you can find details of the forms on the DVA website here.

If you’re reapplying to the DVLA, you’ll need to complete the medical questionnaire yourself. You’ll need to give details about your seizures. You’ll also have to give contact details for your GP and your consultant, and give permission for DVLA to ask them about your fitness to drive.

If you’re reapplying to DVA, you’ll need to get your GP to complete the medical questionnaire. 

We can’t say how long it will be before you get your licence back as this can vary. But if you surrendered your licence (rather than having it revoked) you may be able to start driving again as soon as you meet the epilepsy driving rules, even if you haven’t yet received your new licence. This would be possible if:

 

  • The driving agency has received your application and
  • There are no other medical or legal reasons why you should not be driving

 

Full information about this is available in the leaflet INF188/6 - Can I drive while my application is with DVLA?(England, Scotland and Wales). Information for drivers in Northern Ireland is available on the NI direct website.

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

My dad woke in the night, went to toilet and passed out. He spoke to the Dr about it as he cut his face.
The Dr notified DVLA and subsequently my dad received notification he was not allowed to drive for 12 months.
The incident happened in September and he received the letter late Oct/Nov.
He has since been referred to heart specialist (all fine) and he is not undergoing any tests. His usual Dr has given him the all clear (apparently some older men do get light headed when they wake in the night - he is 76) and has written to DVLA confirming he is fit and well.
My dad has since been trying to have his licence back but there seems to be obstacle after obstacle put in his way.
Latest was a form re epilepsy but my dad has not been diagnosed with epilepsy.
Any idea how he can get his licence back and the timescale? He made the request in January but everything is always "10 days" when he contacts DVLA.

Thank you.

Submitted by Katie38 on

Dear Katie

The delay of getting his driving licence back must be hard on your dad.

We’re not sure how you can make this go any faster other than to see if your dads GP will contact the DVLA. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are able to write, fax, email or speak

to one of the DVLA’s medical advisers regarding individual patients.

Regards

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I voluntarily updated my medical condition with the DVLA following an isolated seizure. I used the online service (https://www.driving-medical-condition.service.gov.uk/eligibility/entitle...) which I think is the online FEP1.

I received a written reply in the post requesting my license is returned and I must not drive again until I have remained seizure free for 12 months.

Have I voluntarily surrendered my license or was it revoked?

Thanks,

C

Submitted by Chris on

Hi Chris

It can be a confusing as there are a number of different forms that are similar but are used for different processes.

The FEP1 is a medical questionnaire that the DVLA uses to assess someone’s fitness to drive. When they receive the FEP1 they will make a decision based on information from you and your doctor whether you meet the required standards to drive or to revoke your licence. When voluntarily surrendering your licence there is a different form to complete called the “declaration of surrender for medical reasons.” This can be sent to the DVLA with your driving licence.

I’ve followed the link you have included and it’s not clear which online form this takes you to without going through the process of filling it in. If it is the FEP1, it’s possible that the DVLA may have revoked your licence. If it’s not clear from the letter that they have sent you, it may be a good idea to contact them and ask for clarification.

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi
Can someone help me please.

To be clear, I am NOT driving and will not drive my car.

However I have not yet done any thing with the DVLA. I have had contradictory advice from medical professionals on this.

I had a witnessed suspected tonic clonic seizure in November and doctor said refer to neurology. There was an error in their part at this point and referral was cancelled.

Over last 6 weeks have been zoning out and suspected complex partial ones (about 10 episodes). I am on list for urgent neurology appt now but this could still be up to 6 weeks.

The DVLA seems to state on their website it is my job to notify them bit what happens if it isn't seizures or epilepsy? I have been started on levetiracetam medication as a precaution while waiting for my appt, which could be up to 6 weeks away.

As stated above I am NOT driving as I don't know what's going on and wouldn't risk others or myself but just unclear what I need to do. I want to do the right thing but don't want to be hasty at the same time.

Thank you to anyone that can help.

Submitted by Mish on

Hi Mish

You are not alone. Many people find the epilepsy and driving laws very confusing. And often get contradictory advice. Hopefully this message will help clear things up.

It says on everyone’s driving licence that you have to notify DVLA if you have any change of awareness. So it doesn’t matter whether you have a diagnosis or not. You just need to tell them.

If you have had a number of these episodes and have been prescribed epilepsy medicine then it is likely you will need to be 12 months seizure free before you can get your licence back.

If you surrender your licence now, you have the advantage or probably being able to start driving again when that 12 months is up. We have more information about this. See I’ve reapplied for my licence. When can I start driving again?

I hope this helps.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi I recently was rushed to hospital with sepsis and during my stay in hospital I fitted.I am also epileptic but before this I was fit free for 12 years and drove for 5 of them the doctors have said it was a provoked seizure caused bt the post partum sepsis therefore was not my epilepsy that was responsible. I have told DVLA filled in a medical questionnaire and sent off necessary paperwork and been told 1 of 2 things I potentially my be able to carry on driving as normal after DVLA perform the necessary checks are done because the can pin point what caused me to seizure or might suspend. Any idea what to expect
thanks

Submitted by Kat on

Hi Kat

The DVLA make their decision about whether someone has had a provoked seizure on a very individual basis.

So it’s not possible for us to give you any solid guidance on what to expect. But I do hope it works out for you.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi, I had a Seizure in January 2018 in which I surrendered my driving licence for six months but on the 14th June 2018 I had another seizure which was witnessed by the Hospital. I was put on the minimum medication from that date and have had no problems since. So all together I have not drove for eighteen months, and my Consultant told me to reapply for my licence again. I am due my licence back on the 15th June so would that mean I would get the licence back on this date or do they make you wait longer. I did call the DVLA and they told me it was being processed but would not guarantee I would get it back as it was up to them to get all the info off my Consultant etc. They did send me an email stating section 88 of the road traffic act which could allow me to drive but it's got me a bit confused as I would not be happy till the licence is in my hand. The other thing is my insurance want to see my licence before they will insure me again.

Regards Philip

Submitted by Philip Salt on

Dear Philip

Thank you for your post. It can be a stressful time waiting for your licence to be returned.

There are no guarantees for when someone will get their licence back. As the DVLA said, it all depends on how long the paperwork takes.

Section 88 is widely used and to our understanding people can get insurance. Maybe talk to your insurance company again.

Regards

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

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