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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When you can start driving again depends on whether you surrendered your licence, or whether it was formally withdrawn (revoked) by the driving agency.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: 
B005.05

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 March 2017
    To be reviewed March 2018

Comments: read the 38 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

Hi Danielle here, right I have non epileptic seizures since I was 8, I had my first seizure two months after being told I would have to revisit a place in which a traumatic even occured, the second was when I visited the place in question, I was put into hospital and they diagnosed me with hypoparathyroidism, now doctors have always blamed my medical condition for my seizures however I have tried telling them for years that it is due to my anxiety and when I have panic attacks, I have a seizure, they have never listened and always said that it is due to my condition and my levels being low even on the prescribed medication, however to prove a point I haven't taken my medication for almost two years and I would have been seizure free for those 2 years had my ex not attacked me, however in January it'll be a year since I last had a seizure, when could I apply for a provisional licence and what is the likely hood of me actually getting one?

Submitted by Danielle on

Hi Danielle
Thank you for your question.

Someone with epilepsy can apply for their provisional licence when they are 12 months seizure free. You can apply for your licence online or complete an application form available from Post Offices

Hope the lessons go well.

Regards
Diane
Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

Hi. I had a seizure a couple of years back. It was the only one i have ever had. I had to surrender my licence. 12 months before i could reapply. I got it back, but inly got a one year one. My licence is now going to expire in 3 months time. What are the next steps i now need to take? Do i now need to go for new tests? Iam 33yo. Thanks.

Submitted by Mark wilson on

Hi Mark

It is usual for DVLA to issue a 1 year licence after someone has reported a seizure. As long as you still meet all the DVLA requirements, including continuing to be seizure free, you just need to apply to have your licence renewed. If that’s all okay, your licence is likely to last for 3 years this time round. And if your remain seizure free your next licence is likely to be a till 70 one.

You shouldn’t require any new tests. They just need to know you are still seizure free.

I hope that helps.

Regards

Cherry
Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry@Epilepsy... on

Hi there,

I was diagnosed with epilepsy in Jan 2016 with my last attack 25th Dec 2015 and surrendered my license voluntarily. I've reapplied for this now and received a letter to state I could drive while my application is being processed providing I'm confident it will be successful (which I am), however upon calling the DVLA for an update they tell me I cannot drive at all until I receive my license - confusing messages. I have friends who've re-applied for licenses and there's have come back 2-3 weeks after they've applied (so 7-8 weeks before their 12 months clearance) however DVLA are refusing to budge and say they have put a note on my file to send mine out 19th Dec! This seems very unfair given they have processed it and are happy I'm fit to drive - and they often issue licenses around about now in cases like mine. First question - can I drive under Section 88 knowing they have processed my application and technically cleared me and question 2 if not is there anything I can do to get them to issue it quicker given I know their decision? My job is 1 hour's drive away or 2.15 hours on a train and this is having a significant impact on my life at the minute both financially and physically.

Thanks for your help

Submitted by Becky on

Hello Becky
We are hearing from many people that there seems to be a long wait for re-applications at the moment. We are not aware of any ways to get your licence back quicker. To our understanding though, as you sent your licence back voluntarily, you should be able to drive as long as you meet the driving rules. There is a DVLA leaflet about this which you may find useful as it mentions your scenario on page 5.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Karen, Epilepsy... on

Hello!! Can you help please!? I've been trying to reapply for my provisional as it's ran out of date. Every time I send my application off it comes back with one thing or another. This time it states because I didn't include a fee. I thought it was free because I have epilepsy and it says if you're reapplying for a driving license then it's N/A!!! Do they mean an actual full license and that because i'm reapplying for my provisional it's a different matter?? (which I think personally is a little unfair). Please help solve my problem, it's such a big stress! Do I just send them the application fee as if it were my first one?
Thank you, Alice

Submitted by Alice Elizabeth... on

Hi Alice

Sometimes it can be difficult understanding and completing forms.

To our understanding, when someone’s provisional licence becomes out of date they do have to pay a for a new one.  

This has nothing to do with reapplying for driving licence when you meet the epilepsy driving regulations. 

Regards 

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

When the doctor fills out the form to drive again after being seizure free for a year is it free or do the doctors charge for this
Thank you

Submitted by DIANE DARWELL on

Hi Diane

 

Yes the doctor can charge you for this.

 

Regards

 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I was diagnosed with epilepsy 8 years ago I only had 3, I was put on lamictal on 300mg a day I was seizure free for 7 years I had my medication reduced in the June and had a seizure in September, I was on a strict diet and also taking diuretics for water retention and going to the gym everyday. my sodium levels dropped and I had a seizure, not sure if it was the lower dosage or the tablets. I am replying for my licence after 6 months doctor has agreed to sign it. will I be able to get it back after 6 months?

Submitted by zoe on

Hi Zoe, 

It is unlikely you will get your licence back after 6 months. You are much more likely to have to wait 12 months. This is because DVLA don’t see a seizure as isolated if you already have a diagnosis of epilepsy.

And the definition of a provoked seizure is really limited, so I don’t think they would consider that either.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I hope the information is useful. 

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

had night seizes in 1988 been on medications since . got full class 1 lience passed when 1993 im sure I had c1 many years ago but went with photo lience . I am been told there will not give me c1 without going of meds for 10years. I need my lience for my job . I have b1 with allows me to tow gross train weight of 8ton but not allowed c1 upto to 7.5ton so I can get a large camper van or a bigger van. any clear advise because I get mixed info from dvla only want c1 not c

Submitted by jonathan wood on

My daughter has epilepsy and has been seizure free for 4 years now. She has just passed her driving test and got her new licence in post today,but is disappointed to see that it runs out in March 2018 . Is this normal for the first one?

Submitted by Gillian Lindsay on

Medically restricted licences can be issued for 1 year. It will be a case of renewing it next March.

Submitted by rich on

I had an a seizure on 22/08/16 and had no recurrence and all my EEG's have come back normal. I want to reapply for my licence, which was revoked, but I cannot find out what the fee is to the DVLA for this? Also no phone number to ask them. I also need to change the photo and address so presume there is a fee for this. Many thanks.

Submitted by Erica on

Hi i had a seizure while i was in a induced coma i had pneumonia sepsis and hypoxia dvla took my hgv licence away was they right thanks for any advice .

Submitted by Tony paxton on
Dear Tony
 
Thank you for your question. It sounds like you’ve come through a difficult time.
 
It’s not unusual for the DVLA to stop someone driving when they have had a seizure. How long this will be for will depend on the reason for the seizure. The DVLA have different driving regulations for different medical conditions. Your doctor should be able to guide you with which regulation would be relevant for you.
 
We have information on the driving regulations related to someone having a single (isolated) seizure and not had any others since. And the regulation for someone who has had a provoked seizure.
 
If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email 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 rich on

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