There are ongoing delays for drivers attempting to renew their paper driving licence in the UK. In an update published on 31st August, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) announced that the wait could be as long as 10 weeks.
This is down to a combination of strikes and staff distancing measures that are currently in place, which has meant there are fewer staff to manage the backlog. This is making it very difficult for the DVLA to keep up with renewal demands.
There’s currently a backlog of around 1.4 million paper applications which the DVLA are trying to process. On top of that, The Times have reported that delays with doctors’ notes are also contributing to delays for around 200,000 applications due to some drivers needing fit-to-drive assessments before even applying for a renewal.
What if I need to renew my licence?
There are two ways to apply for or renew your licence: online, or by post. The delays are solely for the paper applications; however, online applications are thankfully being processed at a normal rate. It’s advisable for drivers who need to renew their licence to apply online where possible. You can do this on the government website here.
For those who need to apply by post, simply follow the instructions on the government website listed above – although it’s wise to keep in mind that it’s taking a lot longer than normal.
Can I still drive if my licence hasn’t been renewed?
If you’ve already applied for licence renewal, you may still be able to drive if your application has been received. There’s a guide on the government website which may be useful to read; you can find this here.
As stated by the DVLA, if your photocard licence or your entitlement to drive expired between 1st February 2020 and 31st December 2020, you’ll have an automatic 11-month extension in place already, which is active from the date you licence expired. Keep in mind that you’ll have to renew your licence after this 11-month period.
For licences which expired on or after 1st January 2021, the normal procedure is still in place and you’ll have to renew your licence as normal – either online or by post.
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