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Date of publication: 28 February, 2022

Summary of the information

The IMA received information regarding EU, EEA and EFTA citizens experiencing issues with European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) share codes expiring when waiting for a driving licence application to be processed by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).

The share code can be provided on all DVLA driving licence application forms. However, they are primarily required for applications for a first provisional licence, exchanging a foreign licence for a GB one, or applying for a photocard licence for the first time. This had a potential to impact all qualifying EU citizens who apply for a driving licence.

The IMA also obtained information in relation to the application process for any citizens who do not have a UK passport as they must make a paper application to apply for a UK driving licence as opposed to making the application through DVLA online services.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

Having carefully considered the issues identified in the information received, in combination with wider intelligence gathered, pre-inquiry investigations were conducted into DVLA to seek clarity around the concerns identified.

DVLA advised that they were aware of the issues raised by the IMA and had proactively invoked a recovery plan to reduce the number of driving licence applications that were waiting to be processed in a backlog while mitigating the risk of an EUSS share code expiring in applications.

DVLA are proactively identifying and separating applications that include a share code. The share code is then checked and validated to prevent it from expiring and the application is then processed alongside other applications in order of the date in which they were received.

DVLA will reject applications with an invalid or expired share code but will write to the applicant to request a new share code, enclosing a pre-paid envelope to allow the applicant to respond free of charge.

DVLA have also been proactively liaising with the Home Office to collaboratively improve the service offered regarding EUSS share codes.If a driving licence applicant does not hold a UK passport, DVLA confirmed, the applicant can start the application for their first GB photocard driving licence online and will then be sent a D801 form, which must be completed and returned with any additional information or documentation required.

DVLA are also currently exploring several options for a full online application process to support customers who do not have a UK passport by liaising with the Home Office.

Summary of Decision

The IMA considers that the actions undertaken by DVLA will resolve the potential systemic concerns identified and does not require any IMA intervention at this time.

Furthermore, the IMA considers that it would not be proportionate and or reasonable to continue to explore this issue further by way of inquiry at this time merits and in line with IMA’s internal processes.
For the avoidance of doubt, this resolution would not preclude the IMA from acting further should matters of concern in relation to this issue arise again in the future.

The IMA would encourage affected citizens to continue to report any issues whether related to this issue or otherwise.