Politics

DVLA issues new warning to anyone with driving licence expiring

Drivers are being warned they could face up to a 10 week wait to get their driving licence renewed.

This is due to a reported back log of 1.4m renewal applications with the DVLA saying it is facing “continuing delays” processing applications and getting the documentation sent out.

And the agency is now asking drivers to do their renewal online where possible, to avoid weeks of delays.

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A combination of strikes and ongoing social distancing requirements has led to ‘continuing delays with paper applications’, said the DVLA.

And it is still processing licence renewals from applicants submitted 10 weeks ago, on June 9, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The DVLA said in a statement on its website that paper applications “are likely to take 6 to 10 weeks to process.”

It added: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused but we are working as quickly as we can to deal with your application.

“We receive around 60,000 items of mail every day that needs to be opened and processed.”

However, the DVLA said there is no delay for online applications – and is advising drivers to use its online services ‘where possible.’

The Times reports “about 1.4 million” applications are affected by the backlog.

A DVLA spokesperson said: “Our online services have not been impacted by the pandemic and continue to run as normal and without any delays. The majority of transactions can be done online including renewing a driving licence.

“There are delays in processing paper applications due to ongoing industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have had fewer staff than usual on site at any one time.

“Paper applications are taking on average, between six and ten weeks to process but there may be longer delays for more complex transactions such as those that require medical investigations.

“It’s disappointing that the Public and Commercial Services Union is choosing to continue with industrial action and targeting services that will have the greatest negative impact on the public, including some of the more vulnerable people in society.

“As restrictions are easing and life is returning to normal, millions of people right across the UK, from those applying for their first provisional driving licence, to traders selling cars, are relying on essential DVLA services.

“PCS’s demands are causing significant and unnecessary disruption to families and businesses, all at a time when they are most needed.”

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Last year, driving licences due to expire between 1 February and 31 December 2020 were extended by the DVLA for 11 months to make it easier for drivers in the pandemic.

Licences that were due to expire in October 2020 were valid until September 2021 – which means they are no longer valid from tomorrow.

Drivers who fail to renew their licence could be issued a £1,000 fine and are urged to update them.

However, drivers can continue driving if they receive confirmation their application is being processed, says the DVLA.

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