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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.

To reapply, you’ll need to fill in a driving licence application form and a medical questionnaire. There are different forms depending on whether you’re applying for a group 1 or group 2 licence, and which driving agency you are applying to.

In England, Scotland and Wales: check the DVLA website to see which forms you need.

In Northern Ireland: check the DVA website to see which forms you need.

What information will the driving agency need?

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales and 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 in Northern Ireland and reapplying to DVA, you’ll need to get your GP to complete the medical questionnaire.

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When you can start driving again depends on whether you surrendered your licence, or whether it was formally withdrawn (revoked) by the driving agency.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

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: 
B005.06

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Ed Foxell at DVLA for his contribution to this information. 

Ed Foxell has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated April 2018
    To be reviewed April 2020

Comments: read the 33 comments or add yours

Comments

I surrendered my driving licence and filled in a medical form(FEP1), after a funny turn and having been examined by a cardiologist and a neurologist and a MRI of my brain, I have been deemed fit to drive and have requested a form to reapply for my licence. Do I need to fill in another medical form as well please? The DVLA said that I should have a year off driving but the neurologist insists that 6 months would have been sufficient as I have had no further episodes. Once I have filled in the relevant forms and am waiting for my licence, will I be allowed to drive under section 88? The last date that I drove was 22.12.16.

Submitted by Pippa on

Hi Pippa 

It is the DVLA that makes the decisions about the epilepsy and driving rules rather than the neurologist.

If you surrendered your licence (rather than having it revoked by DVLA) you may be able to start driving again (12 months after your last seizure) 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, your doctor is happy for you to start driving again and there are no other medical or legal reasons why you should not be driving.

You can start the process of reapplying 10 months after the date of your last seizure. You will need to complete a form D1 and the medical questionnaire FEP1.

I hope this is useful for you.

Regards 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

hi I have had a few seizures 2 from alcohol withdrawal and 3 from beaten up by juveniles and got in car and crashed it the dvla wrote to me saying I cannot apply for another 12 months would I have to take a driving test again when I apply in 12 months and do I have to pay for a medical thanks

Submitted by lisa hardwick on

Hello Lisa

You would not have to retake your driving test, or pay for a medical examination when you want to reapply for your driving licence. The DVLA would use the information from your application form alongside information they get from your doctor to assess whether you meet the driving rules.

Karen

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Karen-Epilepsy ... on

Hi, I am a 55 year-old male with temporal lobe epilepsy diagnosed over 3 years ago. My seizures have only ever occurred whilst asleep and I haven't had one now since February 2017. I applied to get my driving license reinstated last September and was rejected. When can I reapply again? I thought it was 6 months later, ie March 2018, but on reading the small print of the rejection letter I received from the DVLA last September it says not for another 12 months, ie September 2018. Is this correct? I'm sure I had seen somewhere that I could reapply after 6 months?

Submitted by Dan Gardner on

Dear Dan

Thank you for your email. The driving laws can be confusing.

Someone with a diagnosis of epilepsy must be 12 months seizure free or meet one of the driving laws for sleep seizures.

From your information it appears as though you meet the driving regulations for sleep seizures. With this licence if you have any further sleep seizures, you can continue driving. If you had a seizure whilst awake you would have to surrender your licence again.

Or you can apply for your licence on the grounds you are 12 months seizure free. But if you had another seizure, you would have to stop driving, and notify the DVLA. If it was a sleep seizure, the DVLA would see if you still meet the sleep seizure regulation and change your record.

The 12 month date is the date of your seizures, not any correspondence from the DVLA.

To see when you can drive again, you may wish to use our driving tool.

As said earlier the driving regulations are complicated so please feel free to contact the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050 if it will help to discuss your situation. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am until 5.30pm.

Regards

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

I have only had one seizure 12 months ago I surrendered my licence straight away I have sent all my medical details and gp letter fit to drive to dvla and they said up to six weeks can I drive now whilst waiting under section 88

Submitted by Joe on

Hi Joe

The answers depends on a few things. The main was is whether or not your licence was revoked.

If you surrendered your licence 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).

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi,
I am almost 18 years old, and I applied for my provisional licence when I was almost 16, just before my Epilepsy diagnosis. I planned to ride a moped but that never happened due to the diagnosis. I retained my provisional licence but never used it. I am about to be signed off to learn to drive, and I was wondering what I need to do. Do I need to apply for another provisional licence, or can I use the one I already have?

Thanks

Submitted by Rachael on

Hi Rachael

Thank you for your question. 

You cannot use the provisional license you already have. This licence is now invalid, as the medical history you originally gave the DVLA has changed. You have to surrender the licence to the DVLA. The DVLA will need to update your record. 

When you meet the driving regulations you will then be able re-apply for a new provisional license. 

We have information on how to report seizures to the driving agency, and how to apply for your licence back.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact our helpline team directly. You can either email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk  or phone 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 rich on

Hi,

I have just been told by my neurologist in an appointment today that I can reapply for my licence as I haven't had a sleep seizure for 12 months now. I have ordered a D1 form in the post, do I need to fill in the FEP1 form? I originally wrote to the DVLA when I first had a seizure in 2015 and sent my provisional back to them, but don't remember if I ever did the form or not. Also, do you have to pay for your licence when reapplying?

Thanks

Submitted by Claire Whitewick on

Hi Claire

You don’t need to pay to get your licence back. You need to complete form D1 and FEP1. The FEP1 form is to tell DVLA about your medical condition and to give them permission to contact your doctor.

You might be interested in checking out the driving laws for sleep seizures. If you have never had an awake seizure and have an established pattern of only sleep seizures over 12 months, you can reapply for your licence even if you are continuing to have sleep seizures. If you have had an awake seizures then you need an established pattern of sleep seizures only over 3 years.

I hope that’s useful.

Regards 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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

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