Guidance

DVLA Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our online services have not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are running as normal.

With 49 million drivers and 40 million vehicles on the road, millions of people transact with us each month. We issue around 12 million driving licences and 18 million vehicle log books annually and answer around 1 million phone calls each month.

Our online services are the quickest, easiest and often cheapest way to deal with us. We have been busy adding new online services since March 2020 to make it even easier for customers.

You can complete most transactions online which means you don’t need to post an application or speak to our contact centre. If you apply online, you should receive your driving licence within 5 days (it can take up to 6 weeks if you post your applications to us).

Your V5C log book should be received within 6 weeks.

Here are some of our most popular online services:

Using our online services is the quickest and easiest way to complete your application. Social distancing requirements mean that we must have fewer staff than usual on site at any one time. If you post applications to us, which must be processed securely on site by a member of staff, they will take longer than if you apply online. Ongoing industrial action will also cause delays in processing paper applications and for customers trying to contact us.

Contacting DVLA

Driving Tests and MOTs

If you have a query about driving tests or MOTs, you will need to contact DVSA. DVLA is not responsible for driving tests or MOTs.

Contact Centre

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm. Demand is currently very high on our phone lines, so for all general enquiries the quickest way to find information is to use the Contact DVLA service to access our 24 hour chatbot or email services. You can also follow us on Twitter or use our online services to solve your query.

Customer reception

DVLA’s customer reception in Swansea is currently closed. Please do not travel for this purpose as there is no public access to the site.

Paper applications

Paper applications are likely to take up to 6 weeks to process, but there may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions. There is no need to phone to chase up your application during this time as we are dealing with all paper applications as quickly as possible and in the order in which they are received.

Identity documents

Make sure you only send in what is required and that you check requirements on GOV.UK before you post your application.

There is no need to send us a UK passport if you’ve provided us with a passport number on your application form.

If you need to post original ID documents such as passports or Biometric Residency Permits to us, we recommend that you consider using registered post.

Please do not send passports and other documents by post if you are planning to travel in the immediate future, and allow at least 6 to 8 weeks for processing.

Renewing a driving licence

Extension for driving licences that expired between 1 February and 31 December 2020

If your photocard driving licence or your entitlement to drive expired between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020, you have an 11-month extension from the date of expiry. This means that you will not need to renew your photocard or entitlement to drive until 11 months after your original expiry date. You do not need to do anything as this extension is automatic. If your licence or entitlement to drive in the UK has been automatically extended, then you must renew your licence before you can drive abroad.

The extension only applies to full GB driving licence holders. It does not apply to provisional driving licence entitlement.

If you’ve already applied to renew your photocard or entitlement you can continue to drive while we are processing your application providing you have not been told by your doctor or optician that you should not drive. For further information about this, see the guidance leaflet ‘Can I drive while my application is with DVLA?’

By law, all drivers must make sure that they always meet the medical standards for fitness to drive when driving. Find more information about driving with a medical condition.

This table shows the renewal dates based on the 11-month extension period:

Licence expiry New renewal date
February 2020 January 2021
March 2020 February 2021
April 2020 March 2021
May 2020 April 2021
June 2020 May 2021
July 2020 June 2021
August 2020 July 2021
September 2020 August 2021
October 2020 September 2021
November 2020 October 2021
December 2020 November 2021
January 2021 onwards Renew as normal

If your driving licence expires on or after 1 January 2021

You will need to renew it as normal. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online.

If you are unable to renew your licence online find more information on other ways to apply. This includes advice on taking your own photograph if a new photograph is required. You will need to print your digital photograph and attach it to the application form to renew your licence.

Update: applying for and renewing your lorry and bus licence with a D4 medical form

In consultation with the British Medical Association (BMA), GPs have agreed to aim to accommodate D4 medical appointments for working drivers to make sure that you are available to the transport industry.

If your lorry or bus driving licence is due to expire as normal, or if you’ve been issued a 1-year licence without a D4 medical report that is due to expire:

  1. You’ll have been sent an ‘application for renewal of lorry and bus entitlement’ form 2 months before the licence expiry date.
  2. You should arrange for an appointment for a D4 medical examination with a doctor and an optician as soon as you receive the reminder.
  3. After the examination, fill in the form and send it to the address on the form as soon as possible and before the licence expiry date.

If your lorry or bus driving licence was automatically extended by 11 months:

  1. You will not be sent another ‘application for renewal of lorry and bus entitlement’ form before your 11 month extension ends. You’ll have received a reminder letter, before the original expiry date that told you if you need to have a D4 medical examination to renew your licence.
  2. If you’ve not kept the reminder you should order a D2 pack and book an appointment with a doctor and an optician for a D4 medical examination as soon as possible but no earlier than 2 months before the automatic extension to your licence is due to expire.

Book your D4 medical examination as soon as possible

Your appointment could be in several weeks so you need to be flexible about when you can attend.

Remember to take your:

  • spectacles (when going to your optician’s appointment) if you need to wear them for driving
  • current driving licence and ‘application for renewal of lorry and bus entitlement’ form
  • take confirmation of employment or offer of employment if you’re applying for a provisional licence for a lorry or bus driving licence or its already expired

Temporary scheme for 1-year lorry and bus driving licences (without a D4)

The temporary scheme, put in place because of the impact of coronavirus on NHS doctors, to issue 1 year lorry and bus licences to drivers aged 45 and over without a D4 is ongoing but only in exceptional circumstances, if you are unable to get a D4 medical examination.

The D4 waiver scheme only applies under the following conditions:

  • if your lorry or bus driving licence expires after 1 January 2020
  • you have not already been issued a 1-year licence in this scheme

If your licence shows your entitlement to drive lorries and buses expired between 1 August and 31 December 2020, and was automatically extended for 11 months, you cannot apply to the D4 waiver scheme for a 1-year licence without a D4. You must renew, with a D4, when your 11 month extension is due to expire.

Only in exceptional circumstances should you apply to DVLA without the D4 medical report.

Further information

BMA guidance to GPs to accommodate D4 medical examinations for working drivers excludes car driving licence renewals with small lorry (C1, C1E (107)) and minibus (D1 (101) and D1 (101,119)) entitlements issued before 1997 where these entitlements are used for driving large recreational vehicles rather than for working in the transport sector. D4 appointments may be available from private sector providers but these may also be subject to delay.

You may have received a reminder letter asking you to provide a D4 medical form. If you cannot get a D4 medical appointment before you renew you can still apply for a car driving licence and reapply for the above entitlements after your D4 medical examination and application form has been filled in.

Applying to renew a driving licence if you have a medical condition

If you have a health condition requiring further information or examinations, there are currently delays before NHS doctors, consultants or opticians are able to provide us with the information we need to be able to make a licensing decision.

Providing you have a current driving licence and you have not been told by your doctor or optician that you should not drive, you will be able to drive while DVLA is considering your application and waiting for a response from NHS professionals.

Road safety is our top priority and by law, all drivers must meet certain minimum medical standards and must make sure they are medically fit to drive. All drivers must tell DVLA about the onset or worsening of a medical condition. Check if a health condition affects your driving.

You can renew your driving licence in other ways if you cannot renew online.

Published 25 March 2020
Last updated 8 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added in detail about industrial action

  2. Additional information added about V5C applications.

  3. Updated information on applying for and renewing your lorry and bus licence with a D4 medical form

  4. Updated timescales for paper applications

  5. Information on what to do if your driving licence expires on or after 1 January 2021.

  6. Updated information regarding impact of lockdowns, and to signpost to DVSA for MOTs and driving tests.

  7. Updated latest information on services with external link to welsh government news update; added a table to section about driving licence extensions to show renewal dates.

  8. Updated information about impact of lockdown measures in Wales; and added a line to the Renewing a Driving Licence section to notify users that they will need to renew their licences if driving abroad, despite the existing extension.

  9. Added Welsh translation.

  10. Updated information on services, expected timescales for responses, and sending identity documents.

  11. Welsh translation added.

  12. Updated contact centre opening hours.

  13. Updated driving licence extension information

  14. Updated driving licence extension information

  15. Removed MOT extension information

  16. Update to contact centre opening hours

  17. Information added about entitlement to drive.

  18. Information about DVLA customer reception updated.

  19. Essential travel reference updated.

  20. Update on how we are prioritising work via our contact centre, online services and postal channels.

  21. Update to contact centre opening hours

  22. new information added.

  23. Update to contact centre opening hours from Tuesday 12 May 2020.

  24. Updated D4 section.

  25. Updated with information about renewing a licence with a medical condition and D4 medical forms.

  26. Removed reference to Easter opening times

  27. Updated information about taxing with an MOT exemption and to add link to current DVSA guidance.

  28. Added link to contact centre Easter opening hours.

  29. More clarity on MOTs and to inform that DVLA's main reception is closed.

  30. Further update on how we are prioritsing our work

  31. Update on how we are prioritising work via our contact centre and postal channels.

  32. Added further information relating to DVSA announcement about MOTs.

  33. First published.