Can you use a virtual address for a driver’s licence in the U.K? This is a very good question, that anyone using a virtual mailbox may ask.
You could be living abroad as an expat and you need to renew your license with the DVLA.
Your old U.K address is no longer available and you have happily been using a virtual address to manage other issues back home.
Unfortunately, there has been a recent rule change regarding the DVLA and virtual addresses.
You can no longer use a virtual address for your driver’s licence in the U.K.
Why Can’t I use a Virtual Address for my Driver’s Licence?
The DVLA has stated that the address used for a driver’s license (or the V5C vehicle log book), should be the licence holder’s ‘residential’ address.
A virtual address clearly fails this stipulation.
More pointedly, the DVLA specifically states that the use of a virtual address provided by a commercial mail handling service (CRMA) is not allowed.
The wording is clear from the DVLA: You cannot use a virtual address for your driver’s license in the U.K.
Are there alternatives to using a virtual address for my driver’s licence?
I am an Englishman living abroad and have been using an address of a relative for my driver’s licence for several years now.
The DVLA state that they will allow the address of a relative to be used in exceptional circumstances. You need to contact the DVLA regarding your situation in order for this to be a legitimate solution.
What to do if you have no permanent address for a driver’s license?
This can leave U.K drivers with no permanent address in a problematic situation when it comes to their driver’s license.
As we have seen, a virtual address is no longer valid.
Also, when looking into other situations where a person of no fixed abode has queried this with the DVLA, their response is rather unhelpful, (and frankly full of convoluted wording).
In an email response from an Administrative Officer at the DVLA, it is stated that:
“… Section 97 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988 provides that the Secretary of State (in practice DVLA) must grant a licence to a person who makes an application for it in such a manner and containing such particulars as the Secretary of State may specify.
The Agency requires drivers to provide either their permanent residential address or a postal address where they can be easily contacted.”
Unpacking this, it seems that a virtual address should be valid. However, the recent rule changes stop this from being the case.
The email response goes on to say:
“The DVLA cannot change an address to no fixed abode.”
This is due to the need for the police or other agencies needing to be able to contact the licence holder if any issues occur, (driving penalties, accidents, etc).
Finally, the DVLA administrator concludes with:
“To proceed with an application you will either need to provide a permanent residential address or alternatively a postal address where you can be contacted.
This could include the address where you work or a family member or friend’s address where you have regular contact.”
This brings us back to the solution that I have used for my driver’s licence while living abroad.
Essentially, if you have no permanent address for a U.K driver’s license, you will need to arrange to use the address of a family member or friend, with whom you have regular contact.
- Related Content: Can I Use my Virtual Address for my Driver’s License?
So a virtual address can no longer be used for your driver’s licence in the U.K. In situations where you live abroad or are on the road with no fixed abode, you have no choice but to arrange that the address of a trusted family member or friend is used.
A rather archaic approach, in a world where virtual mailboxes exist, but typical of government agencies that remain several steps behind the rest of the world.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂