All you need to know about Driving Licence Card Renewal in Gauteng during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions
The first thing you should know about renewing your driving licence anywhere in South Africa, is that you need to apply at least 4 - 6 weeks before it expires.
For those who don't know, your licence card is renewable every 5 years from the date is was issued.
Now most of us, including myself, don't check our licence card to see the exact date it needs to be renewed, but we can try a few things to remind ourselves.
The easiest ways to remind yourself of a renewal is to:
1. Put a reminder on your phone, laptop, or tablet
2. Put a reminder on your fridge
3. Put a reminder in your diary
It's imperative that you apply for your licence at least 4 - 6 weeks before it expires as this is how long it takes (if your application is successful) in order for your new card to be issued and delivered to the testing centre.
The reason why I say your application must be successful is, because although you might have passed your driving test many years ago, you could face a few problems when renewing your card.
1. You might fail the eye test - which I will explain in this article
2. You might have outstanding fines - which need to be paid before you can renew your card (I personally experienced this the last time I renewed my licence - but I'll discuss this in a separate article)
Booking an Appointment
In Gauteng, it has become mandatory for you to book an appointment before visiting a driving licence testing centre (DLTC).
There are signs at the DLTC that state:
No Mask No Entry
No Booking No Entry
No Reference Number No Entry
All bookings must be made through online.natis.gov.za
You have the following options available to you:
1. To choose the nearest DLTC to your home or place of work (provided there are slots available), and the date and time that suits you.
When booking remember to block out at least 3 hours of the day, for travel to and from the DLTC as well as delays at the centre.
2. To download, print and complete the DL1 application form on the NaTIS website - there are also hard copies available at the DLTC.
3. To have an eye test completed by an optometrist or opthalmologist before your appointment (which some service providers charge R99 for) - but you can have your test done once at the DLTC for free. If you fail your test at the DLTC you will then need to go to an optometrist or opthalmologist to complete a test with them.
Once you have chosen the date and time for your appointment, you will be sent a booking confirmation e-mail or SMS which will include your reference number for your booking.
What you need to take with you to your appointment
1. Make sure you have a copy of your booking information, or at least your reference number.
2. You will need your original green bar-coded ID book or smart ID card.
3. You will need a copy of your ID - it does not have to be certified, but it's always good to have it done.
4. You will need two ID size photos of yourself - black and white, or colour, is acceptable.
5. Your eye test results - only if you visited an optometrist or opthalmologist before your appointment (this is optional - eye test are done at the DLTC)
6. Completed DL1 form - if you downloaded it from the website (there are forms available at the DLTC which you can complete on arrival)
7. Booking Fee which can only be paid by card, NO CASH is accepted at the moment by the DLTC due to the health regulations for COVID. (Some people who have arrived with cash have been assisted by kind-hearted people in the line who have paid with their card and accepted the cash from them, but don't count on this happening all the time.
The latest fees as at 18 February 2021:
For issue of driving license including the manufacturing fee for licence card is R228
Application for a TDL (Temporary Driving Licence) is R72
A TDL will only need to be applied for if your card has already expired, or will be expiring within the 6 weeks of you receiving your new card.
The Application Process
1. Arrive at least a half hour or an hour (if possible) before your appointment.
Please Note: If you have done the eye test with an optometrist or opthalmologist before arriving at your appointment, you are still required to join the same queue as those who have not done the eye test, as you will still need to see a consultant who will verify your results.
2. At the DLTC before joining any queue, make sure it is the correct queue, as you might end up in the wrong line for an hour.
3. Fill in the DL1 form and proceed to do your eye test (or have your test results verified from an optometrist or opthalomologist), have your picture, signature, and thumb prints taken digitally.
This is all done at one consultant now, which makes the wait much shorter than before, and you don't find yourself in the amazing race trying to rush from one end of the DLTC to the other in the quickest time to beat the person who came after you in the line.
The eye test is simple, but be warned that you need to make sure that you place your forehead firmly on the vision screener (the device used for the test) in order to correctly see the test. This is one of the biggest problems why most fail their eye test at the DLTC, as most are not used to the device and don't adjust themselves properly in order to complete the test.
Your picture is taken digitally by the consultant, and you will also need to provide one of your ID sized photos, which is applied to your DL1 application form.
You will also need to sign digitally - which will be the signature on your card
and have your thumb prints taken digitally for your card.
4. Join the queue to make payment, and pay the applicable fee. You will also need one ID sized photo if you are applying for a temporary licence.
I recently visited the Sandton (Marlboro) DLTC, and was pleasantly surprised.
My appointment was for 10:30. I arrived at 10:00. There was no checking of temperature which I was concerned about, but there was social distancing in and outside the DLTC. The DLTC was also well ventilated, all doors and windows were open, and most of the time we queued outside in the open.
After moving along the queue at a reasonable pace, I arrived at the desk of the consultant Nomvula Eve Nhlapho, at 11:00, who was very professional. She assisted me, and in 8 minutes I was done with my eye test (I chose to do it at the DLTC), picture taking, signing, and thumb prints.
I joined the queue for the payments, which is slightly longer as everyone who has just completed their licence test, learners test, or renewing their cards are all in this one line. There were also a few people who snuck into the payment waiting area instead of joining the queue which made the wait a bit longer.
By 12:24 I was at the cashier KS Mahlagare, and by 12:27 I was done, which included the extra time for thumb prints, signing, and affixing my second ID sized photo to my temporary licence.
The staff are very friendly, and highly efficient. The wait time is more the applicants who are unsure what they want or need to do, or who don't have the proper documentation on arrival - and some who just jump the line which causes the rest of us to wait a while longer.
*side note* all this time like many others I have been calling it a driver's license card when in fact on the card itself it says driving licence.
If there is any information which is not available on the NaTIS website,
Due to COVID-19, kindly email email@example.com as 0861 400 800 is temporarily unavailable for this service.
You can also contact the DLTC directly, the Sandton DLTC which I visited is available on 011 407 7945/ 7082 / 7947
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Ziyaad Plaatjes is the Co-Founder of iloveza.com.
He is a Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduate and has been running businesses since the age of 13. Ziyaad is a registered Financial Advisor, but has taken on many roles in various industries over the years. With his entrepreneurial skills and vast knowledge he assists individuals and businesses to grow and achieve their goals.
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