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Driving Licenses: Foreign Nationals

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 59000, tabled on 19 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the timeliness of correspondence (a) with non-UK citizens applying for a driving or provisional driving licence and (b) to return additional documentation provided by those applicants.

Answered on

22 October 2021

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (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. The 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.

The DVLA has introduced additional online services and recruited more staff. The DVLA is urgently securing extra office space to house more staff to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

The DVLA understands the impact that delays can have on people’s everyday lives and is working as quickly as possible to process paper applications and return people’s documentation to them.

The DVLA recognises the effect that the delays are having on drivers who have been revoked on medical grounds and additional resource is being utilised to process cases as quickly as possible.

However, DVLA is often reliant on receiving information from medical professionals to ensure drivers can meet the required medical standards which can add to delays.

The DVLA deals with around 750,000 medical driver licensing cases each year. The length of time taken to deal with an application depends on the medical condition(s) involved and whether further information is required from medical professionals. Although doctors play an important role in the driver licensing process, the DVLA is responsible for considering the medical information supplied in the context of safe driving and deciding whether a licence can be issued.

When a decision has been taken to issue a driving licence, the DVLA writes to the applicant to inform them that they should receive the licence within ten working days.

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