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Fitness to drive

Explains the rights that you have to drive, what information you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and how to appeal if your driving licence is taken away.

What will the DVLA do with my mental health information?

The DVLA will use the information you provide to decide if you can drive. It aims to make a decision within 6 weeks of you sharing information about your mental health problem. The DVLA will write to you if it is likely to take longer than this.

In some situations, the DVLA may need more information before making a decision. The DVLA might want to:

  • Contact a healthcare professional for more information. For example, your doctor, an independent medical specialist, or an optician or optometrist.
  • Ask you to take a driving assessment or driving test, which is like a mini driving test. The DVLA tends to only ask people to go for a driving assessment if they have a physical disability. For example, if you have a visual impairment. It is unlikely you will be asked to do this for a mental health problem. 

Once the DVLA has all the information to make a decision, you should receive a letter with its decision. This is likely to be one of the following: 

  • You can keep your driving licence or have a new one.
  • You can have a driving licence for a shorter amount of time – for example, for 1, 2 or 3 years. If this happens, your fitness to drive will be reviewed when that period comes to an end.
  • You must stop driving. You can appeal this decision.

The flowchart below shows the process explained on this page:

It's important to remember that the DVLA will look at your individual situation. Just because you have a particular diagnosis or take a particular medication doesn't mean you won't be allowed to drive.

Are the rules the same whatever type of licence I have?

No. The medical standards for Group 2 licence holders are much higher than for Group 1 licence holders. This is due to the size and weight of the vehicles being driven, and the amount of time drivers spend on the road behind the wheel.

If you are applying for a Group 2 licence or renewing one, a doctor will need to fill out a D4 medical examination report. There is information about this and the medical standards for Group 2 licence holders on the UK government’s website.

Can I drive while I'm waiting for the DVLA's decision?

This will be up to your doctor. If your doctor tells you that you need to tell the DVLA about your mental health problem, you will need to contact your doctor. Ask if you can carry on driving while the DVLA makes its decision. Usually, the DVLA will not take away your licence until it has all the medical information it needs. In exceptional cases it can take away your licence immediately. This would be where it considers it to be in the interests of road safety.

When do I have to surrender my licence?

If your doctor advises you to stop driving or if you decide yourself that you shouldn't drive, you must surrender your driving licence to the DVLA. To surrender your licence, you need to fill in a declaration of surrender for medical reasons from the UK government website and send this to the DVLA with your licence.

You will need to apply for a new licence if you want to start driving again after surrendering your licence.

Is it better to choose to surrender my licence?

There are advantages to choosing to surrender your licence voluntarily. It may mean that you can start driving again sooner. 

If your licence was refused or taken away for medical reasons, you have to wait for the DVLA to say that you can start driving again.

If you surrendered your driving licence, you can start driving again:

  • Once your doctor tells you that you are fit to drive again, and
  • The DVLA has received your application for a new licence. Certain conditions apply.

This information was published in January 2023. We will revise it in 2026. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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