Driving Licences: Applications

Department for Transport written question – answered on 22nd April 2022.

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Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox Conservative, Torridge and West Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the DVLA (a) clears the backlog of driving licence applications and (b) expedites the time taken for applicants to receive their renewed licences.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

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. The Government understands the impact that delays in processing paper applications can have on the daily lives of individuals and the DVLA is working hard to reduce waiting times. The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has opened new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham to reduce backlogs and provide future resilience. These measures are having a positive impact.

The backlog of vehicle paper applications has already been eliminated. Straightforward vocational driving licence applications and renewals are being processed within five working days with no backlog. The DVLA is on track to return to normal turnaround times on all paper driving licence applications by the end of May. Most straightforward paper driving licence applications are now being processed in around five weeks. Information on processing times for key DVLA workstreams is published online here.

The more complex driving licence applications where the customer has a medical condition(s) that must be investigated will take longer to recover. This area was targeted for industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services union last year and also DVLA cases were deprioritised by the NHS at a number of points during the pandemic. The large majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet specific criteria. More information can be found online here.

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