Wheels24.co.za | Avoid the penalty: Here‘s all you need to know about renewing your driver‘s licence in SA

Obtaining your driver‘s licence is a big step towards independence. Unfortunately, it has to be renewed. This means you will be paying a visit to the traffic department and possibly face long queues every few years.

A valid licence is important

Law For All said: “A driver’s licence has a limited lifetime (usually five years) before it has to be renewed. While it is a bit of an inconvenience to renew your driver’s licence, it is essential as driving with an expired permit is basically the same as driving without a licence altogether.

“It could lead to fines and will undoubtedly be detrimental in the case of a car accident, not to mention, insurance companies won’t cover motorists driving with an expired licence.”

What has your experiences been when renewing your driver‘s licence?

“Many SA motorists don’t even know where to begin to renew their licence. This step-by-step guide is for those who are in a panic about taking on life admin and need of some peace of mind.”

Driver’s Licence renewal in South Africa

• Your driver’s licence expiry date is printed below your licence number. According to the South African government, licences must be renewed four weeks before the printed expiry date. 
Although reminders are usually sent via mail, it isn’t always a reliable method, so set a personal reminder on your phone.
• Keep in mind that if an application is submitted after the printed expiry date, you won’t be fined, but you will need a temporary licence at an additional cost.

What to take with you to the Driving Licence Testing Centre:

If your driver’s licence is still valid but expiring soon:

• Your South African ID book, temporary ID certificate or passport.
• A copy of your identification document.
• Your current driver’s licence card.
• Two black-and-white or colour ID-sized photograph
• The renewal fee in cash (there are no card machines at the centres).
• Proof of residence (such as a utility bill or affidavit from your Landlord if you are renting).

If your driver’s licence has already expired:

• Your South African ID book, temporary ID certificate or passport.
• A copy of your identification document.
• Your current driver’s licence card.
• Only two black-and-white or colour ID-sized photographs
• The renewal fee in cash (there are no card machines at the centres).
• Proof of residence (such as a utility bill or affidavit from your Landlord if you are renting).
• Extra cash to apply for a temporary driver’s licence (valid for six months), which will fill the gap and give you legal permission to drive until your renewed permit is ready to be collected.

If your driver’s licence has been misplaced or stolen:

• Same as the above (with the exception of your current card) – the extra two photo’s and cash are necessary as you will also need a temporary licence.
• An affidavit from the police stating that your licence card was lost or stolen.

Keep in mind that there are usually no facilities at the testing centre to have your photos taken. So to ensure that you have your photo’s taken before the time. Luckily you won’t have to redo a driver’s test, but you will have to undergo an eye test to assess your visual acuity.

How to apply for your driver’s licence at the Driving Licence Testing Centre:

1. Approach the ‘Enquiries Counter‘ and ask a staff member at the centre for the DL1 application form and fill all the necessary sections out at the centre.  It’s a good idea to take a pen with you as they probably won’t have there.

2. Join the queue in the waiting room for eye tests. You can also choose to visit an optometrist before the time to have your eyesight tested. Just remember to bring along the certificate issued by the optometrist.

3: If you pass the eye test, a staff member will scan your fingerprints and put it on the system.

4. Make the necessary payment at the designated cashier window: Remember, cash only as no cards are accepted!

Law For All said:” It usually takes about 6-8 weeks for a new driver’s licence to be processed. After you receive a notification via SMS or mail, the licence you can collect your licence from the DLTC. If you don’t hear anything after 8 weeks, call the centre and follow up.

“Upon collection, double-check that all the details on the new licence are correct to avoid going all the way home and only discovering any inaccuracies after leaving the testing centre.

“If you can’t collect your new licence yourself, you can ask someone to do it on your behalf. All you need to do is a certified copy of your ID, a certified copy of the person collecting on your behalf’s ID and an affidavit explaining that you have permitted them to receive on your behalf as you can’t do so in person.

“Renewing a driver’s licence definitely takes some time and effort, but it’s all about staying on the right side of the law and being a responsible citizen”