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. The information on the page is reviewed regularly so continue to check this page frequently for new updates.

Vehicle testing resuming for some categories of vehicles

There are plans for vehicle testing to resume on a phased basis from 20 July.

As testing will initially resume in a limited capacity, the DVA will prioritise those categories of vehicles which are currently not able to avail of a Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC).

Vehicles in the following categories will be able to book a vehicle test appointment by phone from 1 July:

  • vehicles not registered in Northern Ireland and due a test
  • vehicles with MOT expired by more than 12 months
  • Buses due a first time test (not for ‘hire and reward’ use)

If your vehicle is in one of these categories, from 1 July you will need to ring the booking line on 0345 247 2471 to arrange an appointment. Bookings will be available by phone only.

This number is exclusively for booking vehicle testing appointments. Other queries should continue to be submitted using the contact details provided in the Contacting the Driving and Vehicle Agency (DVA) section, on this page.

Taxis and buses (for ‘hire and reward’ use) due a first time test can also be booked in for a vehicle test, from 1 July. These vehicles require a separate approval and will follow a different process outlined in the links below.

Taxis require a taximeter test before they can undertake a vehicle test. DVA will be in contact with customers to arrange their taximeter test.

Specialist vehicles

Priority Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) tests have resumed. More information is available on the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) page.

The Carriage of Dangerous Goods (CDG/ADR) test is carried out on vehicles which carry dangerous goods. These annual inspections had been suspended because of COVID-19.

On 1 June, the DVA introduced a statutory authorisation process that will permit the continued use of ADR vehicles on the roads in Northern Ireland, provided strict conditions and control measures are in place for these heavy vehicles.

Vehicle testing for all other categories remains suspended

Vehicle testing for all other vehicles will remain suspended and owners of these vehicles should not attempt to book an appointment.

For these vehicles, Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs) will continue to be applied.

There are plans to extend testing to other categories from August, including four-year-old cars and motorbikes and three-year-old light goods vehicles.

In addition, the DVA also plans to recommence testing of heavy goods vehicles, trailers and buses at the same time.  These customers will be sent reminder letters with details of how to book a test. Further details and dates will be published soon.

Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs)

Since vehicle testing was suspended, vehicles with a test appointment have been issued with a Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC), to make sure that they may continue to be driven legally on the road. 

Issuing TECs has been an effective way of keeping vehicles on the road and making sure they can be taxed and insured. TECs will continue to be issued to all eligible vehicles until all vehicle testing services resume.

TECs will be automatically generated from DVA’s system for all eligible vehicles without any action needed to be taken by the vehicle owner.

All TECs will be automatically updated on DVA’s system and on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) system so that the vehicle can be taxed.

The DVA will not issue a hard copy of the TEC to customers. 

Eligible vehicles

Eligible vehicles include all cars and motorcycles that are four-years-old or more, goods vehicles and trailers. 

Vehicles which need to be treated differently include taxis and buses.

Four-year-old cars and motorbikes are eligible for a TEC but for legislative reasons may not receive the full 12 month exemption.

Vehicles whose existing MOT certificate expired from 26 March or will expire before testing resumes will be automatically exempt from testing for a full 12 months, with their new MOT expiry date pushed forward into 2021, when there will be capacity to test them.

The exceptions are four-year-old cars and motorbikes, which for legislative reasons will only receive a six-month TEC from the date their first test was due.

For vehicles which have previously been issued a TEC as a result of issues with the scissor lifts, their TEC will be automatically extended to the maximum timeframes set out in legislation, up to a maximum period of 12 months from their last MOT expiry date. 

Due to legislative requirements TECs are applied by DVA on a phased basis, for different durations based on vehicle type. However, where relevant, the DVA will automatically apply further exemptions to ensure the full 12 months are covered. 

Before the TEC period ends DVA will issue a reminder notice to the registered keeper to book and present their vehicle for test.

Taxis

New regulations have been put in place to allow taxi vehicle licences to be issued for vehicles that have been previously licensed as a taxi.

A six-month licence will be issued automatically and free of charge for vehicles whose licence is due to expire between 10 March 2020 and 9 October 2020.

The licence authorises taxi drivers to continue to use their taxi vehicle, for the period of the licence, without the need for a vehicle test to be conducted.    

The licence is issued subject to licence conditions, which includes ensuring that the licensed taxi has not undergone any modification or alteration which has reduced its roadworthiness.

It is a legal requirement for the owner of any licensed taxi to notify the Taxi Licensing Team of any modification or alteration.

Taxi drivers and medicals

If you are applying to renew your taxi driver’s licence and you do not have a medical to declare, your taxi driver’s licence will be renewed without a medical report.

You may be asked to submit a medical report at some future date.

If you do have a medical condition, you will need to submit a medical report. It is important to let your GP know that you are a key worker and require a medical report to renew your taxi driver’s licence.

Buses

The Department for Infrastructure has made a determination to renew bus PSV licences, effectively exempting them from the roadworthiness test.

A 12-month licence will be issued automatically and free of charge for vehicles whose licence is due to expire during the COVID-19 crisis.

Checking a vehicle’s MOT status

Customers may check the status of their MOT and details of the new expiry date online at:

Note that due to legislative requirements TECs are applied by DVA on a phased basis, for different durations based on vehicle type.   

So when you check online, it will show the date your MOT expires based on the initial TEC period that has been applied. 

However, where applicable, the DVA will automatically apply further exemptions to ensure the full 12 months are covered.

Should the online check show your MOT has expired then contact DVA Customer Services at dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk for assistance.

Owners of trailers will be unable to check online and should also contact the DVA Customer Services with any queries.

Vehicle Roadworthiness

It is important for owners to understand that it remains their responsibility to make sure their car is in a roadworthy condition to be used on a public road.

The PSNI and Insurers expect motorists to comply with their legal obligation to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition if they are using it on the road. 

Owners should continue to service their vehicle and carry out basic checks such as regularly checking tyre pressures and tread depths, looking out for brake wear and ensuring that all lights are working.

Driver licensing

Driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August 2020 have been extended for an additional seven months from the expiry date.

If your driving licence expires between this period, it will automatically be valid for a further seven months under an EU Regulation which came into force on 4 June 2020.

For some drivers this will remove the requirement to have a medical assessment conducted at this difficult time.

Note the extension does not apply to provisional driving licences that expire in this period.  A provisional driving licence can be renewed online

Key workers and medicals

If you are a key worker and you need to submit a medical report with your driving licence application or have been asked to get your GP to complete a form as a result of a driving licence application, let your GP and the DVA know that you are a key worker. 

The DVA will do everything possible to prioritise your application.

To tell the DVA that you are a key worker, email using the following link DVADriverLicensing.KeyWorkers@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.  You will need to include the following information in your email:

  • that you are a key worker
  • your full name
  • your address
  • your date of birth
  • your driver number (if you have it), you will find this on your driving licence, it is an eight digit number
  • details of your employer

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 resuming for some categories

From 6 July the DVA plans to resume off-road and on-road motorcycle tests with tests for drivers in the following additional categories: bus; tractor; and module 4 DCPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers, planned from 20 July.

Practical tests for the following categories only can be booked from 1 July:

  • off-road motorcycle
  • on-road motorcycle

If your practical test is in one of the categories above, from 1 July you will need to ring the booking line on 0345 247 2471 to arrange an appointment.

Bookings will be available by phone only.

This number is only for booking driving test appointments in the categories listed above.

Practical tests for the following categories can be booked from 1 July, by contacting DVA Customer Services:

  • bus driving
  • tractor
  • Module 4 DCPC test for bus or lorry

If your practical test is in one of the categories above, from 1 July you will need to e-mail dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.

Please provide your name, telephone number and preferred test centre so that a booking can be arranged.

Driver testing for all other categories remains suspended

Other driving tests will resume as soon it is practically possible, but currently it is not possible to carry out these tests in a way which complies with guidance from the Public Health Agency. 

While driving tests for cars, minibuses and lorries remain suspended you should not attempt to book an appointment.

Driver theory tests

Driver theory tests restarted from 6 July 2020.

You can book a driving theory test for after the suspension at:

The validity of theory test pass certificates for learner drivers during the Covid-19 crisis will be extended. Test certificates which expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2020 will be extended by eight months, and the validity of off-road motorcycle test pass certificates which expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 will be extended by six months. This requires a legislative change to the Driving Licence Regulations, which will come into effect in September 2020 but which will apply retrospectively.

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. 

This has recently been reviewed in line with existing guidance and a decision has been made to extend the suspension until further notice.

Tests for fully qualified ADIs and AMIs also remain suspended.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Business Support Unit (BSU) has limited capacity to answer customer queries and there is currently no phone service available. 

Should you need to contact BSU, email DVA.AMI@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or ADIOnlineCorrespondence@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. 

These email addresses will be monitored but due to ongoing pressure on services and staff, it may take longer than usual for a response to be provided.

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

Amended procedures are now in place for the provision of CBT certificates and logbooks to authorised CBT Trainers while counter services at DVA test centres remain closed.

Requests from authorised CBT trainers should be emailed to DVA.AMI@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

All professional lorry and bus drivers must complete 35 hours periodic training every five years to maintain a Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’).

The validity of the Driver CPC cards that expire from 1 February 2020 to 31 August 2020 has been extended for seven months.

If the expiry date on your card is in this period, you need to add seven months to that date to calculate the new expiry date.

You will not be issued with a new card to reflect the new expiry date.

More information is available at CPC for existing lorry, bus and coach drivers.

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.

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, email dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.



This email 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.  

 

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