The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.
However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.
On 4 February, there were 178,926 driving licence renewal applications that had taken ten weeks or more. The vast majority of these are applications where a medical condition must be investigated before a licence can be issued to ensure the required medical standards are met. In December, the Department for Health and Social Care asked the DVLA to stop sending medical questionnaires (excluding vocational applications) to NHS doctors in December and January to allow the NHS to focus all efforts on the vaccination booster programme. While referrals to doctors have now resumed, this has had an impact on turnaround times. It is important to note that the large majority of these drivers will be able to continue driving under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act while they are waiting for their application to be processed.