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If you want to have the right to drive on motorways and other public roads in the United Kingdom, you need an official document which authorises you to do so. This document is a driving licence and in the UK it can also be used as an ID.
As with all identity documents, a driving licence in the UK must be biometric - this means that the photo in such a document must meet strict requirements and be machine-readable. Be sure to read the requirements for a photo that is used on a driving licence and avoid your application not being accepted.
There are some rules you must follow while taking a photo that you want to upload with your application form. In a nutshell your picture must:
Does this sound complicated for you? We assure you there is nothing to be worried about. You can take your photo on your own at a convenient time and place. Just pay attention to the main rules about composition and facial expression (we will explain all those demands in the next few paragraphs) and let us do the rest. Check out our smart photo tool which is ready to resize, crop and correct the background in your photo.
As UK nationals do not normally have identity cards, a photographic driving licence can also serve a citizen in non-driving contexts, such as opening a bank account or proof of age when buying age-restricted goods such as alcohol or tobacco. This means that you will show your driving licence many times a year and not only to police officers, but also to store employees, bank clerks, your future boss and other people. It is understandable that you want to look attractive in your driving licence photo. Apart from the legal requirements, there are some tips on how to look good in a biometric picture. After reading our article you will know how to:
And the best thing: you will discover how to verify your photo so that you will be 100% sure that it will be accepted and returned to you on a brand-new driving license!
As mentioned above, photos that are used on a driving licence in the UK must be machine-readable because the government uses computer software in order to validate them. Our online photo app uses smart AI (Artificial Intelligence) in order to check and validate all photos, and if it determines that they will be accepted by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) they will be marked as correct. This is why you can be sure that by utilising our services, in order to edit and validate your photo, you won’t be risking a thing. All pictures bought using our photo making and verifying service have a guarantee that they will be accepted by the authorities. What can our intelligent photo app do for you? Our app is able to:
The photo that is on your driving licence must have dimensions of 35mm in width and 45mm in height, but you are not obligated to cut the photograph in order to obtain this size. You may attach a bigger photo and the cutting will be done for you. What is actually important is that your head, plus hair, must fill about 70-80% of the image. This means that the minimum height of your head must be 29mm and the maximum must be 34mm. The crop has to include your head, shoulders and upper body.
In these kinds of pictures the right pose is a requirement. The person being photographed has to stand 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) away from the background so as to not let shadows appear and 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the photographer. The photo does not need to be taken in a professional photography studio, so your photographer could be your friend or family member. If you do not have anyone you can ask for help, use a tripod. To pose correctly you must:
The shot must be front-facing and your face has to be clearly visible. Make sure that your eyes are open and not covered by hair or eyeglass frames. Tinted and dark glasses are forbidden.
Ask any professional photographer what the best light is and they will tell you: daylight. Natural sunlight exposes the real colours and tones of your skin, hair and eyes. Moreover, it does not cause any glare which will cause rejection of the photo you want to use with your driving licence.
Do you know about the red-eye effect? The red-eye effect is caused when the flash goes off on the camera and causes the light to be reflected back in your eyes, this makes your eyes look red, hence it being called the red-eye effect. More often than not this occurs in low-light situations, which is why a flash is used. This can unfortunately be a reason that your photo is not accepted. This is why it is best to take the photo in natural daylight, facing a window, in order to negate the need for a flash, thus no red-eye effect occurs, and you get the perfect photo that is accepted in a flash.
Remember that your picture must be in colour.
You need to use a light-coloured background with no patterns or textures. Acceptable colours are light-grey and cream. There can be no other people or objects visible behind you and the background has to be free of shadows. It is quite likely that it may be problematic to find such an ideal wall. That is why you should take a look at our background removing photo app. You don’t need to do anything but upload your picture to the photo app and in one second the wrong background will be removed. You do not even need to know the colour of the required one because our AI changes it automatically into a light-grey or cream background for you.
Whilst you are allowed to wear your glasses when taking your driving licence photo, it is best to take them off as the glass can cause glare and/or reflections in the photo, and as your eyes must be fully visible it is best to avoid this. However, when it comes to sunglasses and tinted glasses, they are absolutely forbidden, and don’t even think about putting them on your head, as though they are a hair accessory, as this is not allowed either. If you do decide against following our advice then you must be sure that the frames of your glasses must not obscure your eyes in any way because, as we said above, your eyes must be fully visible.
Yes, you can wear your hijab, yarmulke, or any other head coverings that are worn for religious purposes, but you must be sure that they are pulled back and to the side so that your entire face is on show, for biometric recognition. When it comes to any head covering or headwear worn for medical reasons you are also allowed to wear them in the UK driving licence photo, but the same rules apply for showing your full face. However, any other kind of headwear that is worn strictly for fashion purposes, is strictly forbidden, you are not allowed to wear anything like a hat, baseball cap, scarf etc.
Many people applying for a new driving licence, or a renewal of one, have facial piercings and may be wondering whether or not they have to remove them for the photo. Fear not, as you do not have to and may keep them on, as long as they do not give off any glare in the photo.
Jewellery is very much the same as facial piercing, albeit with some caveats. If you choose to wear jewellery in your photo you can wear earrings, but be sure that they are small and do not give off any glare. Do not wear large earrings, e.g. large hooped earrings, as they may cover your face or cast shadows, this is unacceptable. So if you do wear large earrings, be sure to take them off before the photo is taken.
There is no requirement concerning the clothes you may and may not be wearing whilst taking a UK driving licence picture. But we have some tips that have been very much appreciated by many of our clients all over the world. A good practice is:
If you are a bearded man you do not need to shave yourself just to pose for this photograph. A beard is allowed but you may be asked to send a new picture if your face is unrecognisable. There are no rules about hairstyle and you may have your hair down but make sure that it does not obscure your face. If you have a fringe, it must not be longer than your eyebrow line. This is because both of your pupils must be clearly visible.
If you want to get your driving licence quickly, remember that incorrect photos are the main reason for rejection every year. Regardless of whether you uploaded a digital photo or submitted a printed one, beware of errors. The most common of them are:
The UK driving license photo rules are not long but must be strictly obeyed. If you are not sure whether your photograph is correct or not, do not risk rejection. You can upload it to our online photo maker and let the AI technology verify it. All you need to do is download our app on your phone and follow the short instructions.
You can use your iPhone or iPad to take a picture (using a webcam is not allowed). It is convenient, can save you time and money, and is really easy to do.. Search for our app in the AppStore, download it and move to action.
If you have an Android system you can download the photo app from the Google Play Store. It is fully compatible with Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and Sony smartphones.
Not everybody likes to drive around, look for parking spaces in front of the shopping centre or wait in queues. Doing all of this can turn a simple task into a rather arduous one, especially when we factor in needing to get ready by getting dressed, sorting your hair out and putting makeup on. This can all feel especially deflating when the photographer tells you that they can only take three photos, and all of your effort was for naught. We can’t imagine that anybody would like this at all, which is why we have the perfect tool for you, our photo editor, which will::
You can choose the way you send in your application form. The rules for digital and paper photos are exactly the same. The only additional point for paper pictures is that you are obligated to print it on a high quality paper, such as photos printed by a booth or studio. Images printed on home inkjet printers are unlikely to be of a high enough quality.
Once you buy a photo on our site, you will receive it ready to print and you will have a photo template that you can use as many times as you wish, for example for passport applications, office ID cards etc. You can print your photos many times in a photo kiosk near you or order them to be delivered to your home address.
Getting your photo edited and evaluated with us saves you money because we can offer you a complete service for a small part of the price that you will find in professional photo booths and the quality of the photo will be exactly the same. So, be sure that you don’t overpay and sort out your UK driving licence photos with us.
Last update: 19/01/2023
Wherever you wish! With your smartphone and our intelligent photo maker you will be able to create a photo for any document, including a UK driving licence.
It is best that you stand 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) away from the background and 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the camera or photographer. Your head, shoulders and upper body must be seen in the photo and your head must fill 70-80% of the image.
Nothing’s easier than this! Just upload your photograph to our photo validation tool and wait one second for the result. If it is verified as correct, you can be 100% sure that it will also be accepted by the Licencing Agency.
In the AppStore or Google Play Store. Once you download it, you may create your perfect picture and not just for a UK driving licence but for every other document in the world!
Unfortunately you must not retouch your picture in any way. Any alteration of your face or facial features will cause rejection of the image. But you can legally change the background of the picture with our photo app. This is absolutely allowed as it does not alter your appearance in any way.
Yes, the automatic background remover will do it in just one second. Upload your photo with any kind of background and it will be instantly erased and changed into the required one.
The background must be light-grey or cream, plain and free of shadows and patterns. No other objects or people may be visible behind you.
Not at all! All you need is a digital camera or a smartphone with a camera and an advanced online photo editor. You take a photo and we do the rest. Does it sound complicated?
The most cost-effective way of preparing a photo for documents is by doing it yourself. With the smart photo app you will save money as you pay only for your best shot and this is a part of the price in a photography studio.
Yes, there are no requirements about hairstyles for official photos and there is no requirement for having your ears showing.
No. You can keep them in as long as you make sure they do not obscure your facial features.
No, inkjet printers are not suitable for printing UK driving licence photos. You will need high quality paper to print your photo, so it is best to either get your photo printed at a photo booth, after using our app to edit and verify it, or by using our delivery service to have a photo delivered straight to your home.
Of course you will. Once you have ordered the photo that was created on our site, you will receive a template to your email address. You can print it or send it via the Internet as many times as you want.
Sure you can. Every model of smartphone that comes with a camera is the perfect device with which to prepare your driving licence picture.
Yes and you can download it from the Google Play Store or AppStore on your smartphone. This photo app crops, resizes, changes the background and verifies the photo to ensure that it meets the requirements.
No. You can dress however you wish. However, we have a tip for you and that is to not wear a tank top if you do not want to look like you are naked in the image.
Yes, it is allowed. Just make sure that your face is still recognisable.
A hijab, and other headwear that is worn as a part of religious attire, is allowed, whereas fashionable head coverings such as caps or hats are not acceptable.
Yes you can, if their frames are not covering your eyes. Tinted and dark glasses are always forbidden. However, we do recommend taking them off so as to avoid any glare or reflection with the glass.
No. You must have a neutral facial expression with a closed mouth and be looking straight at the camera.
The best way is to stand 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) away from the background and 1,5 metres (5 feet) from the photographer.
Your head, shoulders and upper body must be seen in the photo and the head must fill about 70-80% of the image.
The required size of the image is 35mmx45mm. You do not need to cut out the photograph, it will be done for you.
No. Only colour pictures are accepted by the DVLA.
No. Your official photo must be original so you absolutely cannot cut it out from a bigger picture. There are specific requirements that your photo must meet so taking a new one is the only way to meet these and ensure that your photo is accepted.
This is not necessary. You can choose whether you upload your digital picture to the application form online or send it by post.
A driving licence is an official document in the shape and size of a credit card. Its holder has a right to operate one or more types of motorised vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles or buses on public roads.
The UK driving licence is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in England, Scotland and Wales and by the Driver & Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland.
British citizens do not normally have identity cards so a photographic driving licence can serve many of the purposes of an identity card in non-driving contexts. The document may be shown in a bank while opening a bank account, in casinos to confirm age or while buying alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted goods.
That is why the document must contain a photograph which facilitates confirmation of a person’s identity.
To get a driving licence you must be the minimum driving age and meet the minimum vision requirements.
Be aware that you could be punished if you drive without meeting the eyesight requirements for driving. The eyesight requirements for driving are as follows, you must:
You can meet all of those requirements wearing glasses or contact lenses but that means that you will be obligated to wear them every time you drive.
When applying for a driving licence you have to send off the application form along with an identity document, unless you have a valid UK passport (where the photograph and signature are on the same page). Attention: do not send your passport, just use the 9-digit passport number instead.
if you do not have a British passport you must submit one of the following identity documents:
There is some really important information on your driving licence that a police officer will need to see if ever required. The document shows whether a driver requires glasses or contact lenses to meet the legal driving requirements and whether the driving test was passed in a vehicle with manual or automatic transmission.
The important thing is that a manual transmission vehicle licence permits the holder to drive a vehicle of either kind, but an automatic transmission vehicle licence only permits the driver to drive vehicles that come with an automatic transmission.
The minimum age for a person who wants to get a provisional driving licence in the United Kingdom is 15 years and 9 months.
There is no maximum age for driving or holding a driving licence, but people over 70 years old will need to renew their licence every three years. Indicated holders must self-certify their continued fitness to drive.
In case you lose your driving licence for any reason you can get a replacement - provisional or full driving licence. Once your document is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed contact the police immediately and apply online for a new document.
To replace your licence you must:
As long as Great Britain and Northern Ireland remain within the United Kingdom a UK driving licence is a European driving licence and it is valid in all of the EU.
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