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Driving Licences: Applications

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 43471, tabled on 6 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce licensing backlogs at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Answered on

13 September 2021

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is by using its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day and industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union has led to delays for customers. Throughout the pandemic DVLA has also been working with a significantly reduced number of staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements. The current increased demand for the DVLA’s services has also contributed to delays with paper applications.

Paper driving licence applications are currently taking between six and ten weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The DVLA continues to explore opportunities to reduce turnaround times and has introduced new online services and recruited additional staff. The DVLA is exploring the possibility of securing extra office space to accommodate more staff to work predominantly on drivers’ medical casework and queries. This will be surge capacity accommodation and resource to help reduce backlogs while providing future resilience and business continuity.