Coronavirus (Covid 19) and motoring

This page provides information on the Driver & Vehicle Agency's (DVA) services that are affected during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are reviewing the information provided as new processes are put in place - the DVA apologises in advance if it takes some time for information to be posted but please continue to check this page frequently for new updates.

All Vehicle testing suspended 

On 24 March 2020, in the interest of public safety and to tackle the spread of COVID-19, the DVA suspended all vehicle testing at DVA test centres for three months, until 22 June 2020.

All HGVs, trailers and buses with a vehicle test appointment will be issued with a three month Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC).

Cars five years old or over will continue to be issued with a four month TEC, which will allow owners to tax and continue to drive their vehicle on the road.

This is the correct and necessary measure to take given the public health advice concerning social distancing and new measures announced by the Government.

It remains the responsibility of the vehicle owner to make sure their car is in a roadworthy condition to be used on a public road and operated within the terms of operators’ licence conditions.

The DVA is grateful for the patience of the public at this time and will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves.

Four year old cars and motorbikes

From 26 March 2020, four year old cars and all motorbikes will be given a Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC) for six months from the date that their MOT test should have been due. However, the vehicle owner must book an appointment online to trigger the production of the TEC.  This will allow the vehicle to be taxed and driven on the road.

Taxis

Urgent work is underway to put a solution in place for taxis. At present there is no legal way of issuing TECs for these vehicles.  

The DVA understands the frustration of taxi drivers and is grateful for their patience at this time and will continue to keep them informed as the situation evolves.

Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC)

Arrangements are in place to make sure that those vehicles whose MOT certificates have expired or will expire within eight weeks, are granted an automatic Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC). This TEC will issue well in advance of the expiry date, to provide assurances to customers that they may continue to drive. This will give a temporary exemption from the legal requirement to hold an MOT certificate up to the new date on the TEC.

While the DVA works through this process, it encourages you to check the status of your MOT online and for details of your new expiry date at:

However, this can only be granted for tests already booked by customers and cancelled by the DVA.

Book your MOT

All customers whose MOT vehicle test is due, and who have not yet booked an MOT appointment, should do so immediately.

It is important that a booking is made and registered on the system so that, if a test has to be cancelled, a temporary exemption may be automatically applied.

Refunds

If your vehicle test appointment is cancelled by the DVA, your test fee will be refunded. Please note that although testing has been suspended until 22 June, an appointment will only be considered cancelled from the date when the appointment was due.

Given the high volume of cancellations which took place recently as a result of Covid-19, as well as the inevitable pressure the current situation has placed on staff and resources, it may take longer than usual for refunds to be processed. If your original payment was made by card, your refund is likely to be processed more quickly and directly into your bank account. Refunds for cash and cheque payments will take longer to process. The DVA apologises to customers for any inconvenience caused and would like to assure them that every effort is being made to ensure that all refunds due will be issued in the shortest possible timeframe.

Counter services

Further to the government’s decision to introduce measures to delay the spread of coronavirus (COVID- 19), the decision has been taken to suspend all counter services across the DVA.

These are necessary precautionary measures to protect staff and customers, and adhere to government guidelines on social distancing.

Until further notice, counter services are no longer available at County Hall, Coleraine or at any MOT test centre.

Driver licensing

In considering the latest health advice DVA has put in place additional measures to protect staff and customers. As a result, at this time, the DVA is unable to accept any further first time driver licence applications. 

The DVA is currently processing a limited number of paper driving license applications for HGVs. 

Please apply online if you need a driving licence renewal for a car, tractor or motorbike. You can also use online services to replace or change the address on your licence. The DVA will not be processing postal licence renewals for these categories. Requests already in the system will now be returned and should be submitted online.

Please do not submit first time driver licence applications at this time.

The DVA apologises for any inconvenience but protecting the health of staff and customers is the priority at this very difficult time.

Driver testing services

Following the Government’s decision to introduce measures to delay the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the DVA has suspended all practical driving tests until 22 June 2020.

Driver theory tests

Due to the unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, driver theory tests have been suspended from Friday 20 March 2020, for four weeks, until Monday 20 April 2020.

Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) and Approved Motorcycle Instructors (AMI)

Following the Government’s decision to introduce measures to delay the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) the DVA has suspended delivery of the ADI and AMI qualifying tests – this includes the ADI and AMI theory test, practical test of driving ability and practical test of instructional ability.  Tests are currently suspended until 22 June 2020.

Check tests for fully qualified ADIs and AMIs are also suspended for the same period.

Vehicle approval tests

Vehicle approval tests are suspended until 22 June 2020 due to the coronavirus measures.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

Due to the current challenges posed by COVID-19, no enforcement action will be taken against drivers whose certificate of professional competence (CPC) has expired between 1 March and 30 September 2020.  This should allow drivers to continue to operate during this period of disruption and reflects the difficulties the freight industry is facing, in the absence of driver training being provided by third parties, for drivers to complete the necessary training to retain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) renewal.

Contacting the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA)

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the DVA has limited capacity to answer customer queries and there is currently no counter or phone service available.

Should you need to get in touch with the DVA on an urgent matter, please use the e-mail provided below. This e-mail address will be monitored but due to ongoing pressures on services and staff, it may take longer than usual for a response to be provided.  

Email: dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

More information on Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)

More information on Driver CPC is available via the following link.

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