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So hypothetically my driver's licence is lost (quite likely). I'm not in the UK. Is there any way I can get a replacement one from overseas and get it sent to either me, or a friend in the UK who can forward it on?

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If you're permanently abroad, then the DVLA cannot issue you a driving licence.

Otherwise, if you are temporarily abroad, you will need to enclose a signed letter with your full name, date of birth, the UK address on your licence, and your address. This goes along with your D1 application and you will get your new licence mailed to you. Applies if:

If you lost both the plastic photocard and the paper licence, do not need to make changes, and have a Visa/Mastercard/Eurocard/Maestro credit or debit card, you will still need to send the letter. However, you do not need to fill out a D1; instead, you can make the request over the phone by calling +44 (0)1792 782 341 between 8.00 am and 8.30 pm Monday to Friday and 8.00 am to 8.30 pm on Saturday.

If you want to be doubly sure that I've got everything right, here's the interactive tool.

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    well, couldn't get more complete an answer than that, unless you'd actually done the application for me! +1 and accepted. – Mark Mayo Sep 12 '12 at 5:36
  • I love that their link to an ordering form (from the interactive tool) is broken... – Mark Mayo Sep 29 '12 at 21:47
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    This is now out of date given the demise of the paper counterpart. – gsnedders Jul 28 '16 at 14:35
  • What's the difference between "permanently" abroad and "temporarily" abroad? – JonathanReez Aug 8 at 21:37
  • @JonathanReez typically, legal or tax residency or the lack of a UK address largely indicates the difference between permanent (even if its only long term and not actually permanent permanent) and temporary. – Moo Aug 9 at 5:10
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If you are a UK tourist in Europe, the EU site also has some information - e.g. lost/stolen licence: contact the local police and then talk to the embassy/consulate (for the UK, they'll just refer you to the DVLA). http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/driving-licence/driving-licence-loss-theft-replacement/index_en.htm

If your licence was stolen, you'll need a Police report (reference/copy) regardless of where it occurred (UK or abroad).

Please note the DVLA stopped issuing paper counterpart licences on 8th June 2015. If you've got your licence number, postcode and national insurance number to hand/noted down somewhere (you need all 3), you can use this to retrieve your licence information as a digital or a paper copy using the "View or share licence details" online tool on the .gov.uk site.

Follow the links at https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/driving-licences

You can usually use the online process on the .gov.uk site to apply for a new/replacement licence (use the interactive tool in the answer above, the link redirects to the new site) or by phone.

The number below can be called from abroad by substituting the first 0 with +44, e.g. 0044 300 790 6801

You can contact DVLA to apply by phone if none of your details have changed.
DVLA driver licensing enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6801
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm

also, from the .gov.uk Driving abroad page - just to emphasise there are no immediate changes to the processes involved when travelling in the EU:

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

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