DVLA urges drivers to use online driving licence photocard renewal service as paper applications experience delays of up to 10 weeks
Drivers whose photocard licences were extended because of the pandemic are being advised to renew them online before the end of November deadline, because paper applications are taking up to 10 weeks to process.
Anyone with documents that ran out in 2020 had a further 11 months added to their expiry dates, meaning that those with licences due to expire last December have until the end of this month to get a replacement.
But motorists who have not yet organised their new application - with a fortnight to go until the November 30 deadline - must use the DVLA's online service where possible if they wish to get their new licence back in time because officials are still working on paper applications sent to them in September.
The DVLA says it is working hard to work through the backlog of paper applications and reduce waiting times caused by a number of factors including safety measures connected to the pandemic, postage problems and industrial action.
Paper applications also often involve more complex transactions, for example if medical reports or change of name and identity documents are needed as part of an application, which can also contribute to the time needed to process the request.
Forms for a new photocard driving licence, provisional licences and the renewal of a licence if a motorist is aged over 70 are among the paper applications currently facing the biggest delays.
As a result anyone attempting to replace their expired licence, either through its natural cycle or because they were given an 11-month extension last December, should apply using the government's online application service if their circumstances allow.
A DVLA spokesman confirmed that paper applications were taking around six to 10 weeks to complete.
He explained: “The quickest and easiest way to renew your driving licence is by going online to GOV.UK.
“Paper applications will take longer as will more complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed as part of a driving licence application.
“Once a driver has submitted their application, either online or by post, they may be able to continue to drive while we are processing it, provided they have not been told by their doctor or optician they should not drive."
Motorists who have a licence that is about to expire are written to by the DVLA, around two months before its end date, to remind them to begin their application.
Anyone without a valid licence can face a £1,000 fine, while also risking invalidating their car insurance should they be involved in an accident.
Drivers wishing to renew their licence online should click here. Post Office branches that also deal with DVLA photocard licence renewals can also help.