On the bottom of the list of things for me to do when I bought a home for the first-time two years ago was changing the address on my driving licence.
Currently, the address is where my parents still live from where I passed my test almost a decade ago.
I have gone to update it online, but it asks how long I have been at my current address. If I put two years, could I face a fine for being honest and not doing it sooner? Or am I worrying about nothing?
Being honest: I want to update the address on my driving licence – but if I say I have been in my current property for a while, could I be fined?
Joe Whitwell, of This is Money, replies: When buying a first home, you won’t be alone in forgetting to update your address with all the relevant authorities after the big move.
Research from insurer Direct Line shows that millions of motorists have failed to update their address with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
As reassuring as it can be to know you’re not alone, the news shouldn’t stop you from taking action. As you rightly point out, you could receive a fine.
When we put your question to the DVLA a spokesperson told us: ‘Drivers are required by law to let the DVLA know if they change their name or address.
‘If a driver fails to notify the DVLA of changes, they could face a fine of up to £1,000.’
Now, the lingering threat of a fine of a thousand pounds certainly does sound scary, but as you say, there isn’t much incentive to update your records with the DVLA if you think you are going to get stung for being honest.
The DVLA knows this and wants to encourage people to update whenever they can, no matter how long it has been.
A spokesperson told us: ‘Once a driver has notified the DVLA of a change of address there is no longer an offence being committed.’
Reading a little between the lines, it is highly unlikely you would be fined for updating your records voluntarily and coming clean on how long it has been since you’ve moved.
Indeed the DVLA have made the process straightforward and crucially, free.
Unlike changing your photo or getting your driving licence renewed, updating your address won’t cost your anything. It can be changed online here.
Once the dust has settled on the big move, it is better to contact the DVLA sooner rather than later.
If you are ever pulled over and the address on your licence incorrect, you could run into trouble – although, seeing as you can be contacted via your parents, it would be unlikely.
It is unclear how many drivers have ever been fined the maximum £1,000 for falling foul of the rules, but it’s not worth running the risk for something easy to keep up-to-date.
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