Drivers risk £1,000 fine as driving licence extension to end within weeks

Driving licence: DVLA instructs motorists on how to apply online

Driving licences which expired between 1 February and 31 December 2020 were extended due to the pandemic. However, hundreds of drivers whose licence was due for expiration back in March will need to renew their licence online to continue driving legally on the roads.

The DVLA has issued a social media plea to ensure drivers who applied for an extension in March to apply quickly before time runs out.

The statement said: “It’s a New Year – if your driving licence expired in March 2020, the 11-month extension from the date of expiry is coming to an end.

“You must renew your driving licence by February 2021 and the quickest way to do this is online.”

The extension was first put into place in March up until the end of August but this was extended to the end of the year in September.

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DVLA experts say temporary measures were introduced to ensure drivers did not need to worry about the admin or extra costs associated with renewal during the pandemic.

At the time, the agency said driving was a “lifeline for millions” during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

This temporary extension was delivered automatic meaning millions have been affected by the changes without even realising.

In a further statement online, the DVLA warned drivers will not get a new license and drivers would need to apply for renewal as soon as they could.

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The statement said: “Your driving licence or entitlement to drive in the UK will be automatically extended for 11 months. This is because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The extension will start from the date your licence is 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.

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

Renewing a licence online costs £14 with drivers needing to update their card every ten years.

To renew a licence, drivers need a valid UK passport and provide addresses of where you’ve lived over the past three years.

Drivers also need a National Insurance number and not be banned from driving in order to renew their card.

According to Cartwright King, motorists who drive a vehicle without a valid licence could be hit with severe penalties.

The offence could see between three and six penalty points issued and a possible fine of up to £1,000.

They say the courts have the authority to ban you from obtaining a full licence for a certain period if they see fit.

Public Health Wales has recently declared a coronavirus outbreak at the DVLA contact centre in Swansea with 352 cases since September.

DVLA officials have warned motorists may face “significant delays” with some applications as a result of reduced staff numbers.

However, they say online applications will mostly be unaffected by the outbreak.

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