The DVLA has told drivers to expect a wait up to 10 weeks to renew their licence due to backlogs caused by the pandemic.

Last month it was reported that 800,000 letters are waiting to be opened at the DVLA’s head offices in Swansea with a further 60,000 arriving each day.

But some people have said they have been waiting months.

Further backlogs have built up because the DVLA has been hit by a series of short strikes over coronavirus safety measures at its Swansea offices.

Drivers whose licences expired in 2020, between February 1 and December 31, were given a 11-month extension.

These extensions are now starting to expire, adding to the workloads of DVLA staff handling 2021 renewals.

To increase capacity, the DVLA has rented another office building and extended the opening hours of its call centre.

News Shopper: DVLA said there is a long waiting list of people trying to renew their licenceDVLA said there is a long waiting list of people trying to renew their licence

The agency is also encouraging as many people as possible to use apply or renew online.

Later this month MPs on Westminster’s transport committee will grill DVLA officials over the delays.

How to renew your driving licence

If your licence expired between 1 February and 31 December 2020

Your driving licence or entitlement to drive in the UK was automatically extended for 11 months. This is because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The extension started from the date your licence was due to expire.

You will not get a new licence as part of the automatic extension. You’ll only get a new licence when you renew it.

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You can renew your licence online at any time before the extension ends.

Renew your licence as normal if it expires on or after 1 January 2021.

If you’re driving abroad

You must renew your licence before you can drive abroad if your licence or entitlement to drive in the UK has been automatically extended.

Renew online

Your new licence will be valid from the date your application is approved, not from the expiry date of your current licence.

You must renew a photocard licence every 10 years - you’ll receive a reminder before your current licence ends.

What you need

To renew online, you need:

  • a valid UK passport
  • to be a resident of Great Britain - there’s a different service in Northern Ireland
  • to pay £14 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card (there’s no fee if you’re over 70 or have a medical short period licence)
  • addresses of where you’ve lived over the last 3 years
  • your current driving licence (if you do not have your licence you must say why in your application)
  • your National Insurance number (if you know it)
  • to not be disqualified from driving

How long it takes

It may take longer for you to get your licence because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must send your old photocard licence to DVLA when you get your new licence. You’ll be told the address to use when you finish the application.

Personal data

DVLA will send you a confirmation email once you’ve applied. You might be asked to take part in research by email, but you can opt out.