Motorists hit by DVLA driving licence delays

A DVLA driving licence application form

Need a new driving licence?

Depending on your situation, it seems you might be faced with a wait of 10 weeks or more. 

Paper licence hold-ups

There are delays in processing driving licence applications for some motorists, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has confirmed.

Paper applications are expected to take an average of between six and 10 weeks to process, while there may be longer delays for “more complex” transactions, such as those involving medical checks.

The DVLA says only paper applications have been affected due to “ongoing industrial action” and “social distancing requirements’, leaving it short-staffed.

Pre-pandemic, the Post Office said driving licence applications took around three weeks to be processed.

As its online services are “running as normal”, the DVLA is urging motorists to apply for a licence digitally. But this isn’t much help for older drivers who don’t feel comfortable using the online tool or those who can’t access it.

Offering some hope, the government agency said road users “may be able to continue to drive” while it processes their application.

The DVLA said: “Our online services have not been impacted by the pandemic or industrial action and are running as normal and without delay.

“There are delays in processing paper applications due to ongoing industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have fewer staff than usual on site at any one time.

“Paper applications are taking, on average, between six to ten weeks to process. But there may be longer delays for more complex transactions such as those that require medical investigations.

“Once the driver has submitted their application, online or through the post, they may be able to continue to drive while we are processing it, provided they have not been told by their doctor or optician they should not drive.”

The DVLA also says it receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which needs to be opened and processed. It issues around 12 million driving licences and 18 million vehicle log books each year.

Stay updated

If you want to make the waiting process slightly less painful and be kept in the loop, you can check the status of your driving licence application using the DVLA’s ‘view or share your driving licence information’ tool – though this is also online.

You will need your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and postcode listed on the licence. The ‘licence valid from date’ will show when your last licence was issued.

To avoid getting penalty points on your licence when it does arrive, see our guide on motoring laws you need to know about in 2021.

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