Can I Drive If My Driving Licence Has Not Arrived(UK)? | Information for Full and Provisional Driving Licence

The Driving and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) is infamous for its long waiting times and red tape, with many applicants reporting longer than usual processing times for anything, from a new licence to a vehicle logbook.

Sometimes these delays can cause unnecessary hassle in terms of work placements and other important aspects where people need a driving licence right away.

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If you happen to be one of these unlucky souls or if you want to be prepared just in case, then read on to find out whether or not you can keep driving if you haven’t received your licence from the DVLA.

We will also take a look at other important information related to this topic, such as how long a licence application can take to be processed by the DVLA and how to track your application.

Why My Driving Licence Has Not Arrived(UK)

The DVLA is in charge of the 48 million drivers currently present in the UK and it is tasked with issuing 12 million licences per year.

Due to the sheer volume of applications, you can probably understand why there might be significant delays when issuing new licences or rectifying issues with lost licences (UK).

While the DVLA has promised to amend these long waiting periods, there are still certain categories of applicants who still face issues.

These include those who have applied for a paper licence with a new photo and those who have certain medical conditions.

Those with medical conditions need to have thorough medical investigations carried out which can increase the amount of time taken for their licences to be issued.

How Long Does It Take to Get My Driving Licence Back from DVLA?

For a normal application by post, you can expect to wait around 3 to 4 weeks to get your licence issued, while online applications can be processed within 5 days.

However, people with certain medical conditions that have applied for a new licence, or to renew their existing licence will have to wait much longer for medical clearance to be allowed to drive in the UK legally.

Those applying for their first provisional licence, or hoping to renew their licence due to it being revoked, can also expect a longer turnaround time of up to 2 months.

Due to these extreme delays, the DVLA recommends that people apply online instead of in person, and they also advise against contacting them to inquire about why your application might be delayed.

However, if you want to remain updated on where the DVLA stands with certain applications and services you can check out their latest updates here.

Can I Drive While My application Is With DVLA?

These days there are a number of UK drivers that are wondering – can I drive while waiting for my licence renewal?

Fortunately, there are some situations where you can continue driving in London or other parts of the UK while your licence is being processed.

However, you need to meet certain requirements in order to do this.

If your licence has expired and you are waiting for your replacement you might be allowed to drive if you meet the requirements of the law under section 88 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act.

This is a law that outlines the list of criteria needed to be able to drive while waiting for a licence. According to this law, you can continue driving if:

  • You have been cleared to drive by your physician according to the guidelines set in the ‘Assessing fitness to drive’ guide.
  • If you continue you meet the conditions specified in your old licence.
  • You held a previous legal driving licence and drove vehicles mentioned on that old licence.
  • If you have made a proper licence application to the DVLA within the last year.
  • Your licence is not cancelled or suspended.
  • Your old licence has not been banned based on medical grounds.
  • You were not deemed a high-risk drunk driving offender on or after June 1, 2013
  • You are not banned from driving by a court.

The rules for section 88 will no longer apply to you if your licence application has been denied by the DVLA, if a court has deemed you unfit to drive, or if you have not been granted a new licence 12 months after your initial application.

To find out more about if you qualify to drive while waiting for your licence, you can read the official DVLA handout about this subject.

How to Track My Provisional License and Full Driving Licence

Track Provisional License online

If you have already applied for either your full or provisional licence and are awaiting a response from the DVLA, you can check out the status of your application by using the following steps:

  1. To check the progress of your application, you will need the 14-digit reference number that was emailed to you when you made your application.
  2. Next, enter your details such as your application number, surname and postcode on the following DVLA page.

For provisional licences, you will have to use a different service to track your application.

  1. First, have your reference number prepared which begins with FP followed by 10 letters.
  2. Enter your National Insurance number, your home address for the last 3 years, and your UK passport number.
  3. You will then need to sign in here, in order to check the status of your application.

Keep in mind that your online application might take up to one week to be processed, and longer if there are additional checks that need to be made.

What Happens If My Driving Licence Is Out of Date

My driving licence has expired can I still drive? For most people, driving without a licence can result in a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

In addition to that, doing so also negates any car insurance you may have had, and driving with an uninsured vehicle can lead to an even higher fine and permanent disqualification.

This is one of the most severe DVLA penalties and offenses. However, if you meet the requirements mentioned in Section 88 for medical conditions and you have already applied for a licence at the DVLA, you can be allowed to drive with an expired licence.

Can I Drive While Waiting for My Licence after a Ban

In short, you cannot drive until your period of disqualification is over and you have made a full application for a licence with the DVLA.

If you have not received your licence, you may still be able to drive provided that you have proof that the DVLA has accepted your application for processing a new licence and you do not need any further medical investigations to be conducted in this regard.

High-risk offenders, meaning those who have been banned from driving due to drunk driving-related charges, need to pass a complete medical examination which includes a physical exam, an interview and a blood test, before being allowed to drive again.

These factors increase the amount of time it takes for your new licence to be issued.

Questions: My Provisional Licence Has Not Arrived

How long does a provisional licence take to be delivered?

A provisional driving licence is a permit that allows new drivers to practise driving while under the supervision of an adult with a legal licence.

The amount of time taken to process your provisional licence application depends on the method you used to apply.

The DVLA recommends online applications, as this only takes about a week to process. Paper applications can take up to three weeks to be delivered.

If you are worried about the status of your provisional application, you can always track your application on the official DVLA provisional licence tracking page.

Can I drive while waiting for my provisional licence?

Unfortunately, unlike the provisions made for full licence applicants under section 88, provisional licence applicants are not allowed to drive until their licence has been issued.

This may seem unfair, but it is the best option to keep all UK road users safe.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, this article has enlightened you on how to move forward with your licence application if it has been delayed.

At the very least, we hope that it has helped to ease any worries you might have about the status of your application.

Further Reading for Driving in the UK.

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