Friday, March 20, 2015


Passing your driving licence test is a feeling of accomplishment and triumph to say the least. It is easy to assume that you are entitled to drive a car after that, but the fact is that your licence has a limited lifespan. All South African driver’s licence codes (motorcycles, motor vehicles, minibuses etc.) are valid for five years from the date of issue, except for the Professional Driving Permit, which is only valid for two years. Whether your card has been lost, stolen or expired you will eventually have to return to the traffic department to apply for an updated version.

For your convenience, here is a step-by-step guide to renewing your licence:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the expiry date of your driver’s licence - it’s printed on the card. Then set yourself a reminder to start the renewal process a few weeks before it is due to expire. (You are meant to receive a reminder by post but this isn’t reliable.)

  2. Visit your nearest Driving Licence Testing Centre and be sure to bring the following with you:

    1. Your South African ID book, temporary ID certificate or passport.

    2. A copy of your identification document.

    3. Your current driver’s licence card.

    4. One black-and-white ID-sized photograph 

    5. R140 licence renewal fee in cash (there are no card machines at the centres).

(If your card has already expired you will need an additional black-and-white ID-sized photo and an extra R45 to apply for a temporary driver’s licence to give you legal permission to drive until you receive the renewed licence)
(If your card has been lost or stolen you will need an extra black-and-white ID-sized photo, R45 for a temporary licence as well as an affidavit from the police stating that your licence card was lost or stolen.)
  1. Ask a staff member at the centre for the DL1 application form and fill it out on site. (There will be extra sections to complete if your card has been lost or stolen.)

  2. Undergo an eye test under the supervision of the allocated staff member to assess your visual acuity. You can also have your eyesight tested by an optometrist before you visit and bring along the certificate that you get issued by them

  3. Stand in line to have your fingerprints scanned and logged.

  4. Make payment at the designated window: R140 for renewal of your driver’s licence card and an additional R45 if (and only if) your current card has expired or has been lost/stolen and you need to be issued a temporary driver’s licence. You also hand in your DL1 form at this window.

  5. Wait for between six and eight weeks for your new driver’s licence card to be processed. You should receive a notification via post or SMS when it’s ready to be collected, but if you haven’t heard anything after eight weeks, phone the testing centre where you applied.

  6. Once you’ve confirmed that the card is ready, visit the testing centre where you applied with your identification document and your proof of payment and pick it up.

When visiting the Driving Licence Testing Centre be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the whole process, you don’t want to have to go wait in queues all over again, it can take up to five hours. (Early mornings are usually when the queues are shortest.) Don’t forget to bring a pen to fill out the DL1 form, it is unlikely that you will find one at the testing centre. You may also want to bring a folding chair and some refreshments to keep yourself comfortable while you wait.

*Note: The prices given above are accurate as of March 2015.


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