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Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Motoring and coronavirus

In this section you'll find information and updates related to coronavirus that are relevant to the law on motoring.

The UK's response to coronavirus is changing regularly and often very quickly. While we'll continue to make every effort to keep this page up to date, there may be short periods where what you read here is not the latest information available. Where possible we've tried to provide links to official government resources, so you can check the current situation.

MOT extensions

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the availability of MOT certificate testing providers has been disrupted.

England, Wales and Scotland

If your vehicle's MOT expires between 30 March and 31 July 2020 (inclusive), you can continue to drive it without a valid MOT certificate for up to 6 months from the original expiry date. The extension should be applied for you, automatically.

This extension does not apply to goods vehicles or public service vehicles.

If the vehicle fails an MOT test during the extension period, you can't drive the vehicle until it is made MOT compliant.

You still need to keep the vehicle roadworthy during the extension period – you can still be punished if you're stopped by police and they find your vehicle is unsafe.

See the GOV.UK guidance for more.

Northern Ireland

Vehicle testing at DVA test centres is currently suspended. Temporary extension arrangements are in place but differ depending on the age of your vehicle. Some limited categories of vehicle can get tests from 1 July, and the DVA has plans to add further categories from August. See nidirect for more.

DVLA and DVA service restrictions

England, Wales and Scotland

Online DVLA services are available. Paper applications are being accepted but processing times are longer than usual.

See GOV.UK for more.

Northern Ireland

The DVA can only be contacted by email currently. See nidirect for current service restrictions.

Driving licence extensions

Under Regulation (EU) 2020/698 which applies from 4 June 2020, all UK driving licences that expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will be automatically treated as valid for an extra 7 months from the date of expiry.

In Northern Ireland this extension will automatically apply to all drivers with a valid driving licence, and in England, Wales and Scotland to all drivers with a valid photocard driving licence.

Renewing your licence is more difficult during COVID-19 if it depends on a medical assessment or requires an eye test to be completed (as is the case when you reach 70). This extension is especially helpful for people in this situation.

You must, however, hold a valid driver's licence (a photocard licence in England, Wales and Scotland) to get this extension. It will not apply if:

  • you previously applied for renewal of your licence that was refused;
  • your licence was revoked; or
  • you've been disqualified from driving.

Also, if your entitlement to drive is due to expire, this extension will not apply to you and you'll have to renew your entitlement in the normal way. This can still be done online.

If you've already applied for renewal of your licence and have received it, that will not be affected.

The DVA in Northern Ireland may return your application for renewal if your licence expires between 1 February and 31 August 2020 and you've not yet received your new licence. If they do return it, you will be sent a reminder notice when the temporary extension is close to coming to an end.

The DVLA will also automatically send you a reminder to renew your licence before the 7-month extension ends, without the need for you to do anything now.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.