Driver’s Licence Renewal in Cape Town

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Driver’s Licence Renewal in Cape Town

A step-by-step guide to renewing or replacing your South African driving permit

Updated: 12 September 2017

For obvious reasons, there’s a whole lot of hoo-ha around passing your driving licence test and holding that glossy card in your hand for the very first time. What’s not mentioned much though is the fact that the little piece of plastic, that is your ticket to locomotive independance, has a limited lifetime. Before you know it, you’ll be required to return to that trusty traffic department to apply for an updated version.

The issue is that many people don’t even know where to begin when it comes to applying for extended validity, or for a new card if the old one has been misplaced or stolen. So, with this in mind, we present to you a guide to driver’s licence renewal (or replacement) in Cape Town.

Included in this useful how-to are step-by-step instructions on the process you’ll need to follow if your card has expired, been  stolen or fallen victim to your absent-mindedness, as well as answers to a number of frequently asked questions. 


STEP 1: Familiarise yourself with your driver’s licence card’s expiry date – it’s printed on the card – and set a reminder to start the renewal process at least four weeks before this. All South African driver’s licence codes (including those for motorcycles, motor vehicles, minibuses etc.) are valid for five years from the date of issue, except for the

Professional Driving Permit, which is only valid for two years.

Note: You are meant to receive a reminder to renew your licence by post, but don’t rely on this as it often doesn’t arrive.

STEP 2: Visit your nearest City of Cape Town Driving Licence Testing Centre (there is a list of locations with opening hours on the City of Cape Town website) and be sure to bring the following with you:

A) If your card 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.

  • Four black-and-white or colour ID-sized photograph (both black-and-white and colour photos are apparently ).

  • The R140 licence renewal fee in cash (there are no card machines at the centres).

  • Proof of residence (If you are renting, get an affidavit from your landlord stating that you do, indeed, live at the address).

B) If your card has already expired:

  • Same as A above, with the exception that with the ID photos one only needs 2 photos in total

  • Another black-and-white or colour ID-sized photograph (ie, two photos in total)

  • An extra R45 (R185 in total) 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 licence is ready to be collected.

  • Proof of residence (If you are renting, get an affidavit from your landlord stating that you do, indeed, live at the address).

C) If your card has been misplaced or stolen:

  • Same as B above (minus your current card, of course) – the extra photo and R45 is necessary as you will also need a temporary licence.

  • An affidavit from the police stating that your licence card was lost or stolen.

  • Proof of residence (If you are renting, get an affidavit from your landlord stating that you do, indeed, live at the address)


STEP 3: Ask a staff member at the centre for the DL1 application form (if your card has been lost or stolen you will need to complete extra sections of this form) and fill it out on site. TAKE A PEN WITH YOU. They often don't have there and having your own will quicken the process. 

STEP 4: Undergo an eye test assessing visual acuity under the guidance of the allocated staff members (you will need to join a queue in the specified room for this). You can also have your eyesight tested by an optometrist before your visit and then you just need to bring along the certificate issued by them.

STEP 5: Stand in line to have your fingerprints scanned and logged.

STEP 6: Make payment at the designated window: R140 for renewal of your driver’s licence card and an additional R45 if (and only if) your current card has expired or has been lost/stolen and you need to be issued a temporary driver’s licence. You will also hand in your form at this window.

STEP 7: Wait for between six and eight weeks for your new driver’s licence card to be processed. You should receive a notification via post or SMS when it’s ready to be collected but if you haven’t heard anything after eight weeks, phone the testing centre where you applied.

STEP 8: Once you’ve received word that the card is ready, visit the testing centre where you applied with your identification document and your proof of payment and pick it up.


Tips to consider when renewing your South African driver’s licence:

  • Give yourself enough time to complete the whole application process – waiting in queues can take up to five hours.

  • Arrive early in the morning to dodge the long lines.

  • Bring a pen to fill out your DL1 form – you have very little hope of finding one at the centre.

  • Also bring a fold-up chair and refreshments in case you have to stand in queues for hours.

  • When you collect your renewed card, be sure to check that it is in fact yours and that all the details are correct to avoid the frustration of having to come back another time if errors are made.

*Note: The prices given above are accurate as of September 2017.



1)   Can I have my ID-style photos taken at the Driving Licence Testing Centre? No, there are no such facilities at the centre so it’s essential to have your photos taken before arriving. Don’t forget to do this as you’ll have to leave the line if you don’t have the pictures on you and this will waste a lot of precious time.

2) How much is it to renew your driver’s licence? It is R140.00 for renewal and there may be an additional fee of R45 for a temporary driver licence for you to use in the interim, if your card has been stolen or is expired.

3) What happens if I apply for my renewed driver’s licence on time but my old card expires before my new one is ready for collection? This is not a problem. As long as you carry your receipt on you as proof that you have started the renewal process, you shouldn’t run into any trouble with the law.

4) Is there a penalty involved if I fail to renew my licence BEFORE it expires? No, there’s no penalty attached to late renewal (even if it’s months or years late). Be sure to renew it once it has, however. You risk getting fined by police officers if you are caught driving without a valid (or temporary) driver’s license.

5) Do I have to redo my driver’s licence test to renew my card? No, definitely not. The only test that you have to redo is the eye test.

6) Can someone else renew my driver’s licence for me if I can’t get to the centre during opening hours? No, unfortunately not. Because your eyesight has to be tested and your fingerprints have to be scanned, it’s essential that you apply in person.

7) Can someone else collect my renewed card for me when it’s ready to be picked up? Yes, if you are unable to collect your new card yourself, you can nominate someone to do this for you. However, the nominated person needs to bring along: a certified copy of your ID, their own ID and a certified copy thereof and an affidavit explaining why you’re not able to be there personally and listing the name and ID number of the person who’s collecting the card for you.

8) What if I’m overseas at the time when my card expires or is stolen/lost? You cannot renew your driver’s licence from abroad, so you will have to wait until you return to Cape Town to do so. As there is no penalty involved in late renewals, this wait is not really problematic.

9) What if I’m living abroad permanently at the time when my South African driver’s licence expires or is stolen/lost and I need a valid card to obtain a foreign driving licence? If this happens and you’re not able to return to South Africa to renew/replace your licence, you can apply for a letter from the Road Traffic Management Corporation that states that you do hold a valid driver’s licence in SA. This letter can then be used to apply for a foreign driving licence in the country you’re residing in. To apply for the letter, email [email protected] and include your SA ID number. Do note, this letter does not serve as a driver’s licence card and you will still need to renew yours if you do ever return to Cape Town.

10) What happens if I fail the eye test? If the results of your eye test show that your sight has worsened since you first applied for your driver’s, you might still have your card renewed but with certain conditions attached (for example, you may be required to wear glasses whenever you’re behind the wheel). You might be required to visit an optometrist, who will issue a certificate that suggests what such conditions should be. If you fail the eye test entirely, the centre may refuse to renew your licence at all.

11) Can I print out and complete the DL1 application form in advance to save time? There is an option to download the form online (there’s a link, for example, on the City of Cape Town website). However, this form has been rejected in the past, so it’s best to just fill out the hard copy form supplied at the testing centre.


Racked up a whole heap of speeding tickets? Learn more about how to pay traffic fines in Cape Town.


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