When the letter from the DVLA arrived, suggesting I needed to replace the photo on my driving licence, I instantly thought what a hassle that was going to be.
They have those photo booths in a couple of shops locally, the supermarket and some in town, but I hate going in them. The voice booms out so that everyone around knows exactly what you’re doing – adjusting the seat, trying not to smile, waiting for the flashes – it’s distinctly unsettling.
Reading the form further, it turns out they have simplified the process enormously.
Firstly, if your passport is within five years old, you can go online, give the DVLA permission to look up the photo and the two will be linked. Sadly, my passport was just a month or two over the five year limit, so I couldn’t do this. It would have been the most perfect solution and even though I couldn’t do it, I was still super impressed the option existed.
I wonder if it works the other way round as well?
Again I thought I was faced with the dreaded photo booth, but again, I read onwards.
It turns out that if you take your form to a participating Post Office (and that is most in High Streets, perhaps not those in small villages), for £4.50, they’ll do everything for you.
I didn’t quite believe it, but decided to give it a go. I walked into the local Post Office, clutching my so-far-untouched form in one hand, and both parts of my driving licence in the other. The lady behind the counter moved me to a desk nearer the photo booth, and I stepped inside. I paused, posed, and then she pointed me towards a pen inside the booth. I signed for the form electronically, on a little pad inside the booth.
I stepped back out, paid the fee plus the extra for the service, and that was it. Job done.
My only complaint about the entire process was that I didn’t get to see the photo that was taken. Perhaps I could have asked to see it but it didn’t occur to me until afterwards that this photo will represent me for the next ten years and I didn’t even see if my hair looked okay.
Nevertheless, that is a pretty big win for the Post Office, along with the fact that doing it digitally shaves at least a week off the time required to get my licence back.