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Driving Licences

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 48142, tabled on 13 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people waiting for their driving licence to be renewed by the DVLA; and what that estimate was for each of the last five years.

Answered on

21 September 2021

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services are the quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days. However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union, along with having fewer staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government guidelines, has led to delays for customers who make paper applications.

There are currently around 638,000 paper applications for a driving licence awaiting processing. This includes those applying for a driving licence for the first time and those renewing an existing licence. It should be noted that the large majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed. Information for each of the last five years is not available.

The DVLA continues to look into opportunities to reduce the backlog and has been developing additional new online services and recruiting additional staff. The DVLA is urgently exploring the possibility of securing extra office space to house more staff to help reduce backlogs.