DVLA warns of significant delays - here’s what you can do to beat the queues

The DVLA has warned motorists to expect continued long delays in some of its services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Since the start of lockdown, drivers have seen major delays in services such as obtaining new logbooks and licences, with many taking to social media to air their frustrations. 

Some people claim to have been waiting weeks to receive new documentation, with many others complaining that they are unable to get through to the agency’s contact centre. 

The agency says such hold-ups are due to reduced staff numbers caused by the coronavirus outbreak and are likely to continue while social distancing measures remain in place at its offices.

In a statement, the DVLA advised drivers: “Paper applications sent to our office in Swansea will take longer to process as they must be dealt with in person on site, where we are working with reduced numbers to meet social distancing requirements. 

“If you’ve already made an application we will process this and return any documentation as quickly as possible.”

The agency also said that its phone lines, which are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm, were particularly busy and advised motorists to use its online services wherever possible, which it said would be processed quicker than paper applications. 

The statement continued: "Please use our online services if you can and before calling our contact centre, as it is the quickest and easiest way of transacting with us. Our online services have not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Among the services available online are taxing a vehicle or declaring it off the road (SORN), applying for a new driving licence, renewing or replacing an existing one; notifying the DVLA that you’ve bought or sold a vehicle; changing the address on your licence or V5C logbook; keeping or assigning a private registration

The agency also highlighted that drivers whose licence is due to expire before August 31, 2020 are being given an automatic seven-month extension, meaning they do not need to reapply immediately. The extension applies to anyone whose licence expires between February 1 and August 31, 2020.

It also said that drivers who had applied to renew their licence can continue to drive while the application is processed, as long as they have not been told by their doctor or optician that they should not drive.