DVLA: 0843 504 7161

Contact the DVLA – call the DVLA phone number: 0843 504 7161.


The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) was formed in 1965 and is an agency of The Department for Transport. It was set up with the aim of centralising the system of vehicle licences and taxes that had previously been run on a local level by county councils. This process of centralisation was completed in 2013, when the DVLA closed all of their 39 remaining local offices and, with them, their face-to-face service with the general public.

Where is the DVLA based?

The DVLA have their headquarters in Swansea, Wales. Five thousand people are employed in the 16 floor tower block, which is based in the Marston area of the city. In 2007 the DVLA hit the headlines for having the highest rates of employee sick leave of all the government agencies. The average of three weeks off per employee, per year, came to the attention of Conservative MP, Edward Leigh, who stated: “Sick leave seems to be a way of life in two large agencies of the Department for Transport, the Driving Standards Agency and the DVLA”. One worker was fired in 2013 for using Facebook – which is banned in all DVLA offices – on his mobile at work.

What does the DVLA do?

  • Issue driving licences
  • Collect road tax
  • Maintain a database of drivers in the UK
  • Keep a database of all cars in the UK – The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)

What doesn’t the DVLA do?

There is a common misconception amongst the British public that the DVLA are responsible for endorsing driver licences with penalty points acquired for motoring offences. In fact this responsibility can only be fulfilled legally by county courts, who are usually sent the driving licences of suspected offenders by police. County courts in the UK have access to the DVLA driver database; if they decide to they will add points to the individuals driver record. The DVLA’s role in the process is a passive one.

How do I apply for a provisional driving licence?

Whilst you are learning to drive you will need a provisional licence in order to get behind the wheel of a car. At this stage you must be supervised by a qualified instructor, or a friend/family member, who has a full licence, and you are not allowed to drive on motorways. To apply for a provisional licence you can either make your application online, through the DVLA website, or go to the Post Office to make a postal application. If you apply online the price for a provisional licence is £34; a nine pound saving on the £43 charge to apply by post.

To apply for your provisional driving licence online you will need your passport number, and national insurance number to hand. You can apply online on the DVLA website.

If you have an enquiry about licensing which you would like to speak to the DVLA by telephone about, then call: 0843 504 7161 or 0300 790 6801.

How do I apply for a full driving licence?

Once you have passed both the theory and the practical driving test you are ready to upgrade to a full driving licence. If you have one of the new photocard provisional licences you can expect to receive your full licence within three weeks of the DVLA receiving your driving test pass certificate from your driving test examiner.

How do I pay my road tax (vehicle tax)?

Shortly before your vehicle tax runs out you will receive a letter about tax renewal, which will have a 16 digit number on it. If you decide to pay your road tax online, on the DVLA website, you will need to enter this number. You will also need to enter the 12 digit reference number in your new keeper supplement, if you are paying road tax for the first time on a car you have bought.

If you want to contact the DVLA by telephone, then you can call their specialist road tax line, on: 0300 123 4321.

How do I request a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) on a car I want to buy or sell?

In order to legally sell a car it should be registered with the DVLA and on their vehicle database. Equally any prospective car buyer should enquire whether the car has a VIC.

If you know the make and the registration of a car you can check if it is registered on the DVLA database, by either:

  • Calling the DVLA on 0843 504 7161 or 0300 123 9000
  • Making an online application for a VIC

No More Papers

The DVLA used to issue a paper copy of your driving licence alongside the plastic credit card sized one that you carry around in your wallet. The paper one was really useful for people who were hiring a car – particularly when abroad – because it listed endorsements such as the amount of points on your licence and driving offences; which satisfied the insurance requirements of car rental companies when you were hiring a car off them. However, from June 8th the paper one will no longer be valid. Instead drivers looking to hire a car, will need to get a code from the DVLA website. The codes are only valid for 24 hours, so drivers who look to hire a car a few days into their holiday will have to access their code from abroad.

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