DVLA driving licence backlog: renewal delays for motorists with medical conditions rise by 65% in 12 months | heycar (2023)

What medical conditions must be declared to the DVLA when applying for a driving licence?

You must notify the DVLA about any medical condition or disability that could affect your ability to drive safely. If you don’t, you could be fined up to £1,000 and you could also be prosecuted if you have an accident.

Notifiable medical conditions include: diabetes (or taking insulin); epilepsy; glaucoma; heart conditions (including atrial fibrillation and pacemakers); sleep apnoea; strokes; and syncope (fainting).

You can look up your condition on the GOV.UK website to see if it affects your ability to drive safely. There is also an A to Z guide of medical conditions to check if you need to report your condition.

How do I apply for a DVLA medical driving licence?

If you are applying for a car, moped or motorcycle driving licence you complete the D1 form, which includes a health section to fill in.

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If you are aged 70 or over you should fill in the D46P form, which also includes a health section.

If you are applying fora driving licence for a lorry, minibus or bus (D2 form), there is a separate D4 medical examination form, which has to be completed by a doctor.

Can I renew a DVLA medical driving licence online?

You can only renew your medical driving licence online if you have diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition, or a heart condition.

What happens after I notify the DVLA about a medical condition that may affect my driving?

The DVLA will normally ask you to fill in a medical questionnaire and give permission for details of your medical condition from your doctor. However, if you have applied for a lorry or bus licence and you have provided a D4 medical examination report with your application this may not be needed.

The DVLA then might contact your doctor or consultant, arrange for you to be examined, ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving appraisal. If you need to attend an examination or an assessment the DVLA will write to you explaining who you need to contact.

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Once the DVLA has all the information it needs, it will decide if you need to get a new driving licence, you can have a short-term medical driving licence for one, two, three or five years, you need to adapt your car by fitting special controls or you must stop driving and give up your licence.

Can I still drive while my DVLA medical driving licence application is being processed?

While your driving licence application is with the DVLA you may be able to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, provided certain condition are met.

The DVLA must have received your correct and complete application within the last 12 months and you must have previously held a valid driving licence and only drive vehicles you have applied for on your current application and were entitled to drive on your previous licence. Any conditions that were specified on your previous licence still apply.

You must also meet the medical standards of fitness to drive. If you have a medical condition and have been told not to drive by a doctor or healthcare professional, you cannot drive under Section 88. You also cannot drive if your last licence was revoked or refused for medical reasons.

You must not have been previously disqualified from driving as a high-risk offender (a high risk-offender is a driver convicted of a serious drink driving offence) or be currently disqualified from driving by a court.

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The DVLA says that while it is completing medical investigations to decide whether a licence can be issued, it cannot tell you if Section 88 applies to you. It says that you and your doctor or healthcare professional are in the best position to consider the Section 88 criteria and to decide whether you should drive while you are waiting for a licence to be issued.

Do I have to apply for a Section 88?

No, you don’t need to apply for a Section 88 to continue driving while your medical driving licence application is being processed. However, the DVLA says it is your responsibility to make sure you meet the Section 88 criteria at all times while driving prior to receiving your licence.

Can I drive abroad while I am waiting for my DVLA medical driving licence?

If you are driving under Section 88 this may not be accepted in other countries because it is UK legislation. The DVLA says you should check with the relevant licensing authority before you travel.

What are the processing times for DVLA medical driving licences?

The DVLA does not publish monthly figures showing the average processing times for medical driving licence applications.

It says to allow four weeks for non-medical paper applications and that medical licence applications “will take longer”.

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When considering an application to issue a driving licence, the DVLA aims to make a decision “as quickly as possible” but where it requires additional information from a driver’s doctor or the driver it says that it is “wholly reliant on receiving this information before a decision can be made”.

How do I get in touch with the DVLA medical department?

You can phone the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 or 0300 790 6806. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturdays, 8am to 2pm.

You cannot use the DVLA’s webchat to check the progress of your medical driving licence application. However, you can use this service to: notify the DVLA of a new medical condition; obtain advice on how to renew or reapply for your medical licence; withdraw your application; update yours/your doctors details; request a new form to be re-sent; enquire about an appointment DVLA have requested.

The DVLA webchat is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturdays, 8am to 2pm.

There is no email address but you can complete an online contact form.

You can also write to the DVLA medical department. The address is:

Drivers' Medical Enquiries
SA99 1TU


What is the update on DVLA backlog? ›

DVLA eliminated the backlog in paper-based standard driving licence applications in mid-2022, returning to processing applications within usual time limits by May 2022 and reducing the number in progress to typical levels by July 2022.

How long are the delays at DVLA? ›

The timeframe depends on the complexity of the applicant's medical problems, the DVLA said. Between April 2020 and September 2022, of the medical licensing decisions that the agency made, 36% took longer than 90 working days, and 6% took longer than 250 working days.

Why is my DVLA taking so long? ›

Paper application times can vary massively, with some people being hit with weeks-long delays. Drivers who have opted to renew a licence with a new photo using a paper application are likely to have to wait the longest, The Mirror reports.

How long are the DVLA taking to process? ›

If you apply online, you should receive your driving licence or vehicle registration certificate (V5C) within 5 days.

Is there a backlog at DVLA 2022? ›

In May 2022 the DVLA pledged to clear the backlog for medical driving licence applications and return to 'normal' processing times by September 2022. That meant 90% of medical applications being processed within 90 days.

Why does DVLA have such a backlog? ›

The DVLA have attributed the backlog to the vaccine rollout and the fact that medical checks became "deprioritised" by the NHS. They also claim to still be seeing the impact of 58 days of industrial action by the Public and Commercial Services union in 2021.

How do I actually speak to someone at DVLA? ›

If you would like to contact DVLA, you can ring them up at 0300 790 6802. If you're calling from abroad, please dial +44 844 306 9203. If you would like to know of other ways to contact DVLA, please view the options below.

How do I get in touch with the DVLA medical department? ›

0300 790 6806 between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday, and between 8am and 2pm on Saturdays. If you have hearing or speech difficulties, contact us by textphone on 0300 123 1278. This number will not respond to an ordinary phone. Drivers Medical Group DVLA Swansea SA99 1TU.

Can I talk to someone online from the DVLA? ›

Things you can do via webchat:

Obtain advice on how to renew or reapply for your medical licence. Withdraw your application. Update yours/your doctors details. Request a new form to be re-sent.

Why is my driving license renewal taking so long? ›

The processing times are taking months longer than expected for many – a delay that the DVLA has attributed to a strike that took place in August 2021. For some, the stalling process has left them out of work, or immobilised in rural areas for months on end.

How long are driving licence renewals taking at the moment? ›

We will send off your application electronically, and you should have your new licence within 3 weeks. We'll also take your old driving licence and send it back to the DVLA for you.

Can you still drive while waiting for your renewed license? ›

The DVLA says if your licence expires while it is processing your renewal application, you should be able to continue driving as long as you meet certain conditions, including only driving vehicles you were entitled to drive on your previous licence, not being told by a doctor or optician that you shouldn't drive, and ...

Is there a problem with DVLA right now? ›

DVLA's Online service is currently unavailable as we're undertaking essential maintenance work.

What medical conditions need to be declared to DVLA? ›

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely.
They can include:
  • diabetes or taking insulin.
  • syncope (fainting)
  • heart conditions (including atrial fibrillation and pacemakers)
  • sleep apnoea.
  • epilepsy.
  • strokes.
  • glaucoma.

Can I drive while DVLA is processing my licence? ›

If your licence expires (runs out) while your application is being processed by DVLA you may be able to continue driving.

How long do DVLA medical Enquiries take 2022? ›

The time they take to deal with your particular case will depend on the medical condition you have and the information they need to gather. If the DVA can make a decision based on the information you originally provided, they aim to make this decision within three to four weeks.

Can I drive while waiting for DVLA medical? ›

Your application may take longer than usual if it needs to be referred to a doctor (unless you're applying for a bus or lorry licence). You can usually keep driving while DVLA are considering your application.

How long are UK driving Licences taking to come back? ›

If you apply online, you should receive your new licence within 1 week. Applying by post: Fill in a D1 form, which is available from most Post Offices or the DVLA form ordering service. You should get your updated licence in 3 weeks, although there may be a delay if your personal details need to be checked.

Can your doctor contact the DVLA? ›

Doctors and other healthcare professionals should: advise the individual on the impact of their medical condition for safe driving ability. advise the individual on their legal requirement to notify DVLA of any relevant condition.

Does DVLA respond to emails? ›

Remind yourself that the majority of companies do not contact you by text or email asking you to confirm your details or give over your bank account information. If DVLA want to get in contact with you then they'll more than likely write to you by post.

Can I email DVLA about my licence? ›

DVLA on Twitter: "@durhambill Hi Tony, the correct email address is: tyrqueries@dvla.gsi.gov.uk" / Twitter.

Can I inform DVLA of a medical condition online? ›

You cannot use the online service to check for your condition or report it to DVLA .

What medical conditions have to be declared for car insurance? ›

If you develop a medical condition that affects your ability to drive, you have to tell your car insurance provider. You must also inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) whether it's a new condition (e.g., head injury) or an existing medical condition, such as diabetes, that's become more severe.

Does it cost to call the DVLA? ›

Calls cost 7p per minute plus your standard network charge.

How can I check the status of my driving licence? ›

Following are the steps to check the application status of driving licence online: Step 1: Visit parivahan.gov. Step 2: Click on 'Driving Licence Related Services' under the 'Online Services' tab. Step 3: On the top-left corner, click on 'Application Status'.

What time can you chat with DVLA? ›

Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm. Saturdays, 8am to 2pm. Public holidays, Closed.

Is there still a backlog for driving tests? ›

Current driving test waiting times as of January 2023.

Waiting times at most test centres are still around 6 months but cancellations do come up so it might be possible to get a test for around 4 months time.

How long does it take to renew driving licence by post DVLA? ›

Postal applications take up to 3 weeks.

Is it quicker to renew driving licence online? ›

This is substantially quicker than applying by paper. You will also save money by applying online.

What is a medical review licence? ›

The licenses are issued and stay valid for a period ranging from 1, 2, 3 or 5 years to expire. The licence can also be applied by learner drivers who have certain medical conditions. When a driver informs DVLA of a certain medical condition, it will give them a medical questionnaire to provide certain details.

Can I drive if my license hasn't arrived yet? ›

My driving licence hasn't arrived, can I drive while I wait for it from the DVLA? Yes, most people will be able to keep driving while they wait for a renewed driving licence.

What medical conditions do not allow you to drive? ›

Medical conditions that affect driving
  • Cataracts. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes opaque, causing blurred vision. ...
  • Macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss, especially among people over age 60. ...
  • Dementia. ...
  • Epilepsy.

What medical conditions mean you can't drive? ›

Neurological conditions

Dementia, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke and a host of other conditions affecting your nervous system can all affect your ability to drive.

What eye conditions stop you driving? ›

Driving eyesight rules

Some of the problems that should be disclosed to the DVLA include eye conditions such as blepharospasm, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, macular degeneration and night blindness. You can find the full list of health conditions that affect driving here.

Is the DVLA on strike 2022? ›

Some driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Services ( PCS ) union are planning to take strike action at times during December 2022 and January 2023. The strike action is part of national industrial action by the PCS union over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms.

Is there still a backlog on driving tests? ›

The driving test backlog has increased by 34,263 at the end of May 2022 compared to a year earlier, data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency following a freedom of information request shows.

Why is there still a backlog of driving tests? ›

The delays are blamed on coronavirus, when lockdowns brought the industry to a halt. More than 450,000 tests were cancelled during the pandemic, leading to spiralling wait times.

What is the most failed driving test? ›

Indeed, Cha Sa-soon, age 69, estimated that it cost her well over $10,000 to finally pass the South Korea drivers' test. Of course, she took it 960 times before finally passing in 2010 and now holds the world's record for most failed attempts.

Why can't I find any driving tests? ›

Spoiler: there is a backlog of around 800,000 – 1 million driving tests. The average waiting time for instructors is generally between 3-6 months. With the UK coming in and out of lockdown throughout the last year this has made both learning to drive and passing your driving test difficult.

Will driving tests be cancelled on 19th September? ›

Following the update from the DVSA, All driving tests booked for Monday 19th September 2022 are canceled, Anyone who has their driving test booked will be contacted directly by the DVSA. Update from the DVSA: "Our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the Royal Family at this sad time.

How long will driving test backlog last? ›

Current driving test waiting times as of December 2022.

Most test dates we are now finding are for around 4 to 6 months. Please call us on 020 7205 2251 as we may be able to help you get a driving test much quicker for your intensive driving course than those showing on the Government DVSA's website.

What is the best time to get driving test cancellations? ›

The best time of day to find a driving test cancellation is between 9am and 11am in the morning. You are more likely to find a vacant spot at this time of the day as learner drivers that intend on cancelling or rescheduling their driving tests, often do so at the start of the day.

What time is best to book driving test online? ›

5pm – 6pm appears to be the most successful slot

The data appears to show that there are very different driving test success rates depending on the time slot the learner opts for.

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