We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Applying and reapplying for your 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. To be allowed a provisional driving licence you will have to meet the epilepsy driving rules. You can apply for your licence online, or complete an application form available from Post Offices.

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

To reapply for your driving licence you will need to complete two forms - a D1 and a medical questionnaire. The D1 application form is available from Post Office branches. Or you can order a D1 pack from the DVLA website. The medical questionnaire is available online from gov.uk/government/publications. If you can’t download the medical form, DVLA will send it to you when they receive your application form. You can send the forms to DVLA up to eight weeks before you can legally drive again.

What information will the driving agencies need?

On the medical questionnaire, you will need to give details about your last seizure. You will also have to give the driving agency consent to do a medical enquiry and give them the name of a doctor who can provide a medical report.

The driving agencies have advised us that lots of applications are delayed because people don’t complete every box in the questionnaire. So in order for your application to go through as quickly and smoothly as possible, make sure you complete every single box.

If you then feel extra explanation is needed, you can enclose a covering letter as well as completing all the boxes. You can also enclose the letter from your doctor about when you last had a seizure.

There is no cost for reapplying for your licence, if you surrendered it because of your epilepsy.

When should I apply for my driving licence again?

Check that your doctor agrees you are fit to start driving again before you apply to get your driving licence back. This will avoid the risk of getting your licence revoked. When you apply to get your licence back, the driving agencies have to make medical enquiries into your fitness to drive. If your doctor and/or the driving agency feels you can't meet the required standards, your driving licence will be revoked. If this happens you will need to wait until all medical enquiries are complete and your driving licence issued before you can start driving again.

When you surrender your driving licence, post both parts of your driving licence, along with a covering letter detailing the nature of your condition.

When will I be able to start driving again?

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

If you sent your driving licence back voluntarily
If you sent your driving licence back voluntarily you can start the process of reapplying for your driving licence 10 months after your last seizure. And, you may be able to start driving again after 12 months even if you haven’t got your driving licence back yet. This would be possible if:

  • The driving agency has received your application
  • You meet the epilepsy and driving laws
  • 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?
DVLA website: gov.uk/government/publications

If your driving licence was revoked
If your driving licence was revoked by DVLA you will 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 are usually for one, two or three years. Three years is the most common.

If you live in England, Scotland and Wales
Once you have been seizure free for a total of five years, and your doctor supports this fact, you can apply for a long term (till 70) licence.

If you live in Northern Ireland
You can apply for a five year licence, but not for a till 70 one.

In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the rules change when you get to 70.

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: 
B005.04

This information was written by Epilepsy Action’s advice and information team, with guidance and input from people living with epilepsy and experts at DVLA.

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

The DVLA has no conflict of interest.

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

  • Updated April 2015
    To be reviewed April 2018

Comments: read the 15 comments or add yours

Comments

I notice, with some dismay, that only epilepsy is mentioned as a medical condition under which a driving licence would be surrendered. My psychiatrist suggested I did the same, since I suffer from type-1, rapid-cycling, events-related bipolar affective disorder. Driving manic is like road rage and driving depressed means that one has little attention as to the road conditions and other drivers. I hope you will take note that insular and narrow-mindedness concerning disabilities prevents understanding that can help cure sufferers' problem.

Submitted by Nigel Harris Pr... on

Hi Nigel

Thanks a lot for your feedback on our driving information. As we’re an epilepsy charity we only talk about the epilepsy driving rules on these pages. But you are very right that epilepsy is not the only medical condition where you need to surrender your licence. You can find more information about which medical conditions need to be declared to the DVLA on the government website.

Best wishes
Grace
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Tea

Submitted by Grace, Epilepsy... on

Hi jason here on the 23/9/2015 I suffered a epileptic fit I surrendered my licence I have not had any seizures since the 23/9/2015 on the tenth of March I go to see my neurologist if the doctor said I can drive how long will I have to wait to drive it will be 6 months in April that I have been clear if the doctor said I can drive how long would I have to wait to drive can you let me know thanks Jason odoherty.

Submitted by Jason odoherty on

Hello Jason
In order for a the driving agency to permit someone to drive, you will need to meet the driving rules. Usually a person would need to be at least 12 months seizure free before they are allowed to drive again.

When making their decision about a person’s fitness to drive the driving agency use the information you have given them about the type of seizures you have and how they affect you. They will then combine this with the information provided by your epilepsy doctor when making their decision.

I hope your appointment in March goes well. Driving rules can be complicated so if you would like to talk about this, or if we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact our helpline team.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Karen, Epilepsy... on

Hi Karen
Jason here I'm sending you again some more information on my epileptic fit I had on the 23/9/2015 at the time I was having dental surgery witch they gave me 2 lot's of antibiotics and at the same time I had an ear infection I had been clear since 1998 and the doctor thinks its not caused by epilepsy but with the diffrent antibiotics counter acting with my normal medication cutting my pills out that I had been taking for the last week's at thay time on the 10 of March at barnet hospital I see my neurologist what if the doctor said I will be ok to go back driving how long would I have to wait it's already been 6 months I have been clear and I feel great l would love to know hope to here from you soon with good news
thank you
Jason 

Submitted by Jason odoherty on

Hi Jason
It must be frustrating not knowing for sure when you can drive again.

If your doctor is not sure, they can contact a medical adviser at the driving agency to find out more on your behalf. If the driving agency believes your seizure could be defined as provoked, they will look at your case individually. Based on a doctor’s advice, the driving agency will tell you when you can start driving again.

Regards
Diane
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

Hi Dianne thank you for your quick reply when I have seen the Doctor on thursday I will email you and give some information in reply as if I can drive is that ok thank you jason.

Submitted by jason odoherty on

Hi,

I did have epilepsy (Acute Nocturnal Epilepsy) I have not had a fit since Oct 2009. I had to surrender my license for 6 months due to i know longer wish to take medication as I believe i grown out of my epilepsy same as my doctor. I have had my appointment and various of scans and no longer have any epileptic spikes activity. My license renewal is coming up in May 2016 what do i need to do?

Submitted by Sam on

Hi Sam

I’m unclear why you have to renew your driving licence. So I have covered the two possible reasons associated to your epilepsy.

If it’s because of you withdrawing your epilepsy medicine, then in England, the DVLA recommends that for safety, you should stop driving during the period of medicine withdrawal, and for six months after withdrawal is complete. You don’t need to inform DVLA or return your licence.

If you live in Northern Ireland you have to stop driving and inform DVA when you start withdrawing your epilepsy medicine. Six months after withdrawal is complete, you should apply for a medical form from the DVA. DVA will advise you if you can start driving again.

If you mean you need to renew your medically restricted driving licence, to. To our understanding the DVLA will send you renewal application documents 90 days before your licence is due to expire.

If you would like further information on this you could contact the driving agency directly.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again. You can do this directly by 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 Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

I have epilepsy and have a mobility scooter. Am i legal to drive it?

Submitted by Jean Rutterford on

Hi Jean
As long as you follow the rules for mobility scooters you can legally drive one. You don’t need a driving licence to drive a mobility scooter.

I hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Epilepsy Action Helpline.

Best wishes
Grace
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Grace, Epilepsy... on

Hi, I'm a newly diagnosed Epileptic and I have just read I need to return my driving license.
My question is that I'm only 20 years old, 5ft and do not look over 18 and so rely on my license for ID.
Without carrying my passport constantly with me is there another option for recognised photo ID?
I know friends who have had citizenship cards and often they were not recognised as proper ID in pubs/clubs. Is there any way I can keep my driving license but it be altered/defaced to confirm I couldn't drive with it?
Any help or advice is really appreciated.

Submitted by Alex on

Hi Alex

This sounds like a frustrating situation to find yourself in.

We are not aware of a way in which you could keep your driving licence for identification purposes in this situation. The Citizen Card is supposed to be accepted as official proof of age, but unfortunately we have heard of venues refusing it.

If there are particular venues you are planning to visit, or visit regularly, maybe you could contact them in advance to check what ID they accept. Some local councils also operate their own ID card scheme, so you could also contact your local council to see if they have a scheme like this. More about this can be found on the PASS card website.

Although I can understand you don’t want to carry your passport all the time, unfortunately you may find that this is the only ID some venues will accept. If you do come across venues that won’t accept your Citizen Card though, you can report them via the PASS card scheme website.

Karen

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

 

Submitted by tpottinger on

Hi there, I took a seizure totally out the blue on the 29thof May 2016, I was on a low calorie diet , had some alcohol the night before, so I don't know if this had anything to do with it. I got took to the hospital in an ambulance got out 6 hours later. The doctor told me I can't drive, so done the right thing and phoned the dvla and returned my licence. I am now waiting on an appointment from the hospital, which can take up to 6 months. Dvla told me I can reapply after 4 months seizure free, they said it usually takes about 8 weeks to get things sorted, so if I'm not seen by the hospital by then, would I be able to apply for my license after 4 months? I have never suffered from anything like this in my life, I'm 20 years old and really need my car for work.

Submitted by Karen fletcher on

Hi Karen

That is a bit of a problem isn’t it.

You will need to be seen by the specialist before DVLA will consider your situation. But if it is near the 4 months, and you have had no more seizures, the specialist is more likely to say that you should be able to drive again. This is because the definition of epilepsy is having more than one seizure. And the DVLA considers that if someone hasn’t had a second seizure after 6 months, the risk of having further seizures is significantly reduced. The specialist would need to consider all the information they need for possible diagnosis to check if they felt there was a risk of further seizures.

I’m afraid all I can suggest is that you either wait and hope you get seen within 4 months. Or see if you family doctor can help you get an appointment within that time.

 

Regards

 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

 

Submitted by todd at Epileps... on