Find a specialist driving instructor

Re-applying for your driving licence after voluntary surrender or revocation

Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act may allow you to return to driving following a voluntary surrender of your licence as soon as DVLA receive your valid application for entitlement to be re-instated.
If your licence was revoked or refused you need to re-apply but then wait till DVLA re-instate your driving entitlement and send out a new licence, this could be returning your full licence or issuing a temporary Provisional Disability Assessment Licence (PDAL).

If you voluntarily sent your licence back to DVLA, the surrender form states that: “I understand that I may apply for the reinstatement of my driving entitlement when I am able to meet the medical standards for driving”. Discuss this with your doctors and if they have not advised you not to drive ask for a letter of support to send to DVLA with an application for your licence to be reinstated. You cannot normally re-apply on-line but will need to apply using a D1 licence application form (available from the post office).

Your doctor may suggest that a driving assessment is needed before getting back on the road, this is sensible advice as it will make sure that you are fit to drive and allow you to get advice about any restrictions to the types of vehicle you can drive (automatic transmission may be required) or if any modified controls are required. If your doctor makes an NHS referral to your local Driving Mobility Assessment Centre  there should be a reduced charge for the assessment or it may be free of charge (talk to your local centre to discuss details), you could also self refer in which case there would be a charge for the assessment.

If your licence was revoked or refused by DVLA on medical grounds, you should apply in the same way and are also advised to discuss driving with your doctor to ensure you meet the medical standards for driving.

Returning to driving following voluntary surrender (under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988)

If you voluntarily surrendered your licence a return to driving and an in-car assessment should be permitted once DVLA receive the valid application for your licence to be reinstated; so long as you meet the eligibility criteria you should have continuing entitlement to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The letter of support from your doctor should state if a driving assessment is being proposed and confirm that a copy of the assessment report will be sent to DVLA.

Before returning to driving a short course of driving tuition would normally be advised and a Driving Mobility assessment may be required, the tuition may take the form of refresher tuition or familiarisation lessons may be needed if you are using modified controls. To find a local specialist driving instructor go to our “Find an instructor” page.

Further advice regarding vehicle modifications and driving assessment/tuition can be provided by “Driving Mobility” at

Returning to driving following a DVLA revocation or application  refusal

Following a compulsory revocation of your driving licence or the refusal of an application for a licence renewal, you will need to apply for your driving licence to be reinstated using a D1 licence application form and then wait for DVLA to issue a replacement licence before you are permitted to drive, this may be a normal full licence or could be a temporary Provisional Disability Assessment Licence (PDAL) issued to allow retraining and assessment.

Section 88 does not apply if the licence has been revoked, or if an application was refused, by DVLA.

A practical driving assessment and re-training to prepare you for the assessment may not take place until a valid licence has been issued by DVLA and you have received that licence.


Provisional Disability Assessment Licence (PDAL)

 A Provisional Disability Assessment Licence (PDAL) is issued if your driving licence has been revoked, or the original application has been refused, for medical reasons and you have applied for your driving entitlement to be re-instated.  DVLA would issue a PDAL to enable you to take a  driving assessment as part of their information gathering process to ascertain if it would be suitable for you to have your full driving licence returned. This would normally be a Driving Assessment conducted at the nearest Driving Mobility Assessment Centre but occasionally DVLA may refer you for a Driver’s Medical Appraisal conducted by DVSA at your local driving test centre. DVLA will refer you for the assessment and contact details of the local centre will be included in the letter which accompanies the PDAL.

If you are taking a Driving Mobility Assessment, the practical drive would normally be undertaken in a vehicle provided by the assessment centre, if you are taking a Driver’s Medical Appraisal you would either use your own vehicle or a driving school tuition vehicle; DVSA do not provide vehicles.

On completion of your driving assessment, the PDAL expires and you are then no longer allowed to drive until DVLA re-issue you with a licence and tell you that you can resume driving.  Your assessor(s) will retain your PDAL and return it to DVLA. This means you will not be allowed to drive home after your driving assessment.

It is important that you bring someone with you to the assessment that can legally drive you home afterwards.

Often, DVLA will issue a PDAL that allows a period of time to enable you to undertake retraining to prepare you for your driving assessment.  It is important that you read and understand the letter that accompanies your PDAL as this will stipulate the terms on which you may drive – normal ‘learner driver’ rules apply and the duration of your entitlement – this is normally three months for retraining and the assessment would follow immediately after this has been completed, occasionally the licence may be issued for the day of your driving assessment only.

If you or your driving instructor need further information about what is involved on the assessment, the contact details for the Driving Mobility Assessment Centre or the DVSA Driving Test Centre should be in the referral letter sent out with the PDAL.

To see a DVLA information sheet for ADIs explaining about PDALs and an example of the letter (legal notice) sent to licence holders see: PDAL Information for ADI

Updated 14.06.2023