Applying, reapplying or renewing your driving licence

People with epilepsy can drive if they meet the medical standards for driving.

On this page, find out how to reapply for your licence, apply for a first licence or renew a short-term licence.

Looking for information about lorries bus or coach applications?

The information on this page is for standard car and motorbike licences. For details on how to apply or reapply to have lorry, bus or coach entitlements added to your licence, visit the DVLA or NI direct website.

When can I reapply for my driving licence?

You can reapply for your licence up to 8 weeks before the date you meet the legal standard for driving. For most people this is 12 months after their last seizure, but it could vary depending on the number and type of seizures you’ve had. See our information about the driving rules to check which rules apply to you.

Before reapplying, the driving agencies say you should check with your doctor that you meet the medical standards for driving. If your doctor is not sure, they can refer to the DVLA’s advice for medical professionals on assessing fitness to drive.

The DVA in Northern Ireland follow these standards too.


How do I reapply?

These are the forms you need to reapply for your licence:



We recommend sending the forms back by recorded delivery, so you know when the driving agency has got them.

When can I start driving again?

When you can start driving again depends on whether you surrendered your licence, or it was revoked by the driving agency. See what is the difference between surrendering my licence and having it revoked on our stopping driving webpage

If you’re not sure if you surrendered your licence or it was revoked, you can check your driving licence online. This is only available for licences issued by the DVLA.

If you surrendered your licence

If you surrendered your licence, you may be able to drive as soon as you meet the medical standards for driving, even if the driving agency is still dealing with your application and you haven’t yet had your licence back.

In England, Scotland and Wales, Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows a person to drive if they are temporarily without a driving licence.  In Northern Ireland, the law that allows this is the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order, 1981.

To drive while your application is with the driving agency you must meet a number of criteria. 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.

It is up to you to be sure you meet the rules for driving while you are waiting to get your licence back. Your doctor does not need to confirm you are safe to drive. But if they tell you not to drive, you must follow their advice.

If you drive while waiting for your licence, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the leaflet explaining the Section 88 rules in your car (if you live in England, Scotland or Wales). This can be helpful to explain why you are driving if you are stopped by police. If you live in Northern Ireland, you could keep a printout of the webpage explaining the rules.

If your driving licence was revoked

If your driving licence was revoked, you must wait until the driving agency has completed its medical enquiries and sent you back your licence. You can start driving again as soon as you have got your licence back.

How do I apply for a first provisional licence?

To apply for a first provisional licence, you need to meet the same medical standards for a full car or motorcycle licence. Check the driving rules here. You must wait to get your licence before you start driving lessons.

Here’s how to apply:


How long will my licence last?

Most people with epilepsy will be issued with a short-term medical driving licence. It may last for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years. If you have been seizure free for 5 years, the driving agency may issue you with a standard 10 year licence.

How do I renew my short term medical licence?

When your licence is about to expire, you will need to renew it. The driving agency should write to you when it’s time to renew. In England, Scotland and Wales you can renew online or by post using the form they send you. Alternatively, you can send a D1 form along with the FEP1 form to tell them about your epilepsy. See above for where to get these forms.

In Northern Ireland, the DVA will send you a form to renew your licence when it is due for renewal.

You can keep driving while you are waiting for your new licence, as long as your epilepsy hasn’t changed. 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.

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

Standard driving 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. To drive these category vehicles, you need to meet the stricter medical standards for bus and lorry drivers.

Will my epilepsy stop me getting car insurance?

Insurance companies are not allowed to have a blanket policy to refuse or put up the premiums of all people with epilepsy. This would be disability discrimination. But they are allowed to charge you more, or refuse to insure you, if there’s a greater risk in insuring you because of your epilepsy. Their decision must be based on reliable and relevant evidence.

It’s worth shopping around to find the cover that’s right for you at the best price. If a company refuses to insure you, or you feel their premiums are unfairly high, you can ask them for evidence to explain why. If they can’t provide evidence they could be guilty of disability discrimination under the equality laws.

We’re not able to recommend any car insurance companies. But some people find it helpful to ask for recommendations from other people with epilepsy on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

What can I do if I disagree with the driving agency’s decision?

If you disagree with the driving agency’s decision to refuse or revoke your licence, you can write to them asking them to reconsider. You also have the option to lodge an appeal. There are deadlines for doing this.

Find out more on the DVLA or DVA website.

Download our epilepsy information

Download your guide to epilepsy

This brochure gives an overview of epilepsy, living with epilepsy and the support you can get from Epilepsy Action.

This information has been produced under the terms of the PIF TICK. The PIF TICK is the UK-wide Quality Mark for Health Information. Please contact if you would like a reference list for this information.
Published: August 2022
Last modified: February 2024
To be reviewed: August 2025
Tracking: L010.09 (previously B005)
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