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 more categories of vehicles

From 1 September, the DVA is extending vehicle testing to further categories of vehicles.

From this date all categories below will be able to book a vehicle test:

  • four year old private cars, including four year old cars which got a six month Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC) 
  • four year old motorcycles
  • three year old light goods vehicles
  • all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) due a test from 1 September 2020 
  • all trailers due a test from 1 September 2020 
  • vehicles not registered in Northern Ireland and due a test
  • vehicles with MOT expired by more than 12 months
  • vehicles currently declared SORN (only if the previous MOT has expired by more than 12 months or if the vehicle is now due its first test).
  • buses due a first time test (not for ‘hire and reward’ use)

Vehicles listed in bullet points 1-5 above should all receive reminders but customers are encouraged to keep an eye on their vehicle expiry date through Check the MOT status of a vehicle

If your vehicle is listed in the last four bullet points you'll not receive an automatic reminder as your vehicle is not currently in the DVA system.

Owners of these vehicles should pro-actively seek to book a test.

If your vehicle is in one of these categories, or if you received a reminder, you'll need to ring the booking line on 0345 247 2471 to arrange an appointment.

All other vehicles not listed in the categories above will receive Temporary Exemption Certificate.  You can view the expiry date on your Vehicle through Check the MOT status of a vehicle . 

Bookings are available by phone only.This number is exclusively for booking vehicle testing appointments.

For other queries, use the contact details in the Contacting the Driving and Vehicle Agency (DVA) section below.

The DVA will no longer be issuing TECs for the vehicles in the categories listed above, and will instead issue reminder notices to the owners with instructions on how to book a test.

Reminders will be sent as the vehicles approach their test due date. However, capacity within the test centre network remains limited due to COVID 19.

Taxis and buses (for ‘hire and reward’ use) due a first time test can also be booked in for a vehicle test. These vehicles require a separate approval and 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.

At the test centre

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, a number of things have changed and will remain in place temporarily for your safety and the safety of others.

Do not present a vehicle for test if you feel unwell or you have any of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

When you arrive at the test centre

Drive to the test hall and park in the lane indicated above. Make sure your vehicle’s engine is at the normal operating temperature for the test.

Make sure your vehicle is presented in a hygienic state and free from any unhygienic matter such as used tissues, gloves or wipes.

When presenting the vehicle for test, come alone. Do not bring pets, children or other persons with you.

You'll have to exit the vehicle before it enters the test hall and DVA staff will take the vehicle through the full test.

You may need to remain outside while the test is ongoing. There may be no shelter available so come prepared for the weather.

If you're unable to exit the vehicle, call 03452472471 to make alternative arrangements.

Bring your own sanitiser and/ or wipes to clean and sanitise all internal surfaces after the test.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) tests have now resumed after being suspended due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

New applications are now being accepted, however a priority scheme is still in operation for vehicles directly involved in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response. It may take longer than usual to appoint non priority vehicles.

If your vehicle is not provided with a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the manufacturer, a vehicle type approval is needed. All vehicle categories need this.

Further details can be found on the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) page.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods (CDG/ ADR)

Testing carried out on vehicles which carry dangerous goods, has now resumed. Vehicles due their annual roadworthiness test (MOT) from the 1 September 2020 will need an ADR test if their current ADR1 certificate has expired.

New applications are now being accepted for:

  • heavy goods vehicles and trailers due an annual road worthiness test from 1 September
  • ADR/CDG tests for heavy goods vehicles and trailers due ADR test from 1 September
  • or heavy goods vehicles and trailers that are unable to apply for authorisation 945 or 476, for example, those which carry dangerous goods on international Journeys.

Further information is available at Carriage of Dangerous Goods (CDG/ADR).

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. 

Vehicles whose existing MOT certificate expired from 26 March or will expire before testing for their category 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.

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 will be implemented which will extend the automatic renewal of taxi vehicle licences.

There will be no application process as these licences will be issued automatically, without prior test, and free of charge.

Vehicles which have already received an automatic six month licence, will receive a further six month licence.

In addition, vehicles with a taxi licence that expires between 10 October 2020 and 31 May 2021, which have not already received a six month licence, will receive a twelve month licence.

Vehicle owners will receive their automatic licence in the post before their current licence expires.

Only taxis that have been previously tested and issued with a taxi licence will be eligible under the temporary arrangements.

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 with a licence expiry between 10 March 2020 and  31 May 2021.

Vehicle owners will receive their automatic licence in the post before their current licence expires. Only buses that have been previously tested and issued with a licence will be eligible under the temporary arrangements. Only one automatic licence will be issued for each vehicle.

The licence authorises the continued use of the 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.

Checking a vehicle’s MOT status

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

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's 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

You should not attend the offices in Coleraine as you will not be allowed into the building. Refer to the relevant licensing page for alternative means to contact DVA for licensing issues

In accordance with EU Regulations, all driving licences with an expiry date between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 will be treated as valid for a further 11 months. 

This extension will be automatically applied, the driver record will not be updated and renewal licences may not be issued during this period. 

Drivers whose licence expiry falls within these dates are not required to take any action on the expiry of their licence.

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're 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.

You should not come to the offices in Coleraine as you will not get access to the building. To contact the DVA for licensing issues go to:

Driver testing services resuming for further categories

From 1 September 2020, the DVA is resuming driving tests for private cars (category B) and lorries (Category C) only.

A stakeholder information pack is available to download for ADIs, AMIs and candidates at the link below.

As capacity will initially be limited, the DVA will prioritise the following groups:

  • priority workers who have previously requested an urgent driving test and are currently on a waiting list;
  • customers who had driving tests booked (March-June) and whose tests were cancelled due to the measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID 19.

The DVA will contact these customers to arrange appointments. 

If you've already applied for a critical worker test or if you had a driving test booked between March and June which was cancelled by the DVA, you do not need to contact the DVA - they will contact you in due course.  

More information about this process and how it will be handled will be published in the coming weeks.

Key workers (as defined by the Department for Health) should email ni.critical.worker.driving.test@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk setting out the reason why they meet the criteria and need an urgent test in order to fulfil the duties of their job. The DVA will assess the application and, if applicable, offer an appointment. Applications which do not meet the criteria, will not be progressed and customers will need to wait until the booking system is opened to the general public.

Once requests by customers in these priority groups have been processed, booking will then open for general customers to arrange a date for their driving test.

From 6 July the DVA resumed off-road and on-road motorcycle tests. Tests for drivers in the bus, tractor, and module 4 DCPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers resumed from  20 July.

Practical tests for the following categories can be booked by phone:

  • off-road motorcycle
  • on-road motorcycle

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

Bookings are 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 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, you  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 theory tests

Driver theory tests restarted from 6 July 2020.

You must wear a face covering at the theory test centre.  Read information on face coverings

You can book a driving theory test at:

The validity of theory test pass certificates for learner drivers during the Coronavirus (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. 

If your theory test or off-road motorcycle test pass certificate expires between these dates, you will not be able to book or take your test until the legislation is amended.

Once the legislation is amended, the extension will be applied automatically to affected certificates, so you do not need to contact DVA to request an extension.

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

DVA understands the significant challenges that Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Approved Motorcycle Instructors (AMIs) have faced in these difficult times.

This information pack for stakeholders, outlines how the DVA plan to manage the phased return of driving tests, with key dates, and links to other useful information.

The DVA will continue to review how they are progressing with this challenging task, and would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support.

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.

If the expiry date on your card is outside this period, you must not drive until it is renewed.  You could face a £1000 fine if you drive without a valid CPC.

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)

The DVA has reinstated its telephone enquiry service, which was suspended from March due to Covid-19 related restrictions.

Customers who wish to contact the DVA with queries may use the contact details below. 

  • For Driver Licensing queries phone: 0300 200 7861
  • For Driver and Vehicle Testing queries phone 0300 200 7862

E-mail address for all queries: dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.

The 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.

Counter services remain unavailable until further notice.

 

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