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Driving Licences: Applications

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 134101, tabled on 3 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the delays in processing driving licence applications at the DVLA.

Answered on

11 March 2022

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. 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. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.


Waiting time in minutes

February 2022


January 2022


December 2021


November 2021


October 2021


September 2021


It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.