The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued a warning over a new driving licence deadline that could keep drivers off the roads if they do not renew by the end of the year.

Officials have warned drivers who had their licence renewal date extended due to the coronavirus pandemic between February 1 2020 and December 2020 have until the end of this year to apply for a new one.

However due to backlogs, the agency has told drivers to apply by November to ensure their licence arrives on time.

It comes amid a backlog of applications with renewals sent in August still being worked on.

DVLA issue backlog warning linked to Covid

In August, drivers are told to expect a long wait for their new driving licence.

“With 49 million drivers and 40 million vehicles on the road, millions of people transact with us each month,” the DVLA said.

“We issue around 12 million driving licences and 18 million vehicle log books annually and usually answer around 1 million phone calls each month."

They added: "Industrial action has been taking place since April and PCS is targeting a variety of areas within DVLA designed to have maximum negative impact on members of the public.

“This means that there are continuing delays with paper applications and in reaching our contact centre. There are no delays for those applying online.”

"We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused but we are working as quickly as we can to deal with your application. We receive around 60,000 items of mail every day that needs to be opened and processed."

Different ways to apply for a new driving licence

The quickest way to apply for a new licence is online with the DVLA warning paper applications can take between six and 10 weeks.

A DVLA spokesperson said: "Our online services have not been impacted by the pandemic and continue to run as normal and without any delays.

"There are delays in processing paper applications due to ongoing industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have had fewer staff than usual on site at any one time.

"Paper applications are taking on average, between six and ten weeks to process but there may be longer delays for more complex transactions such as those that require medical investigations."

If your licence application requires additional checks, you may need to wait even longer.

The DVLA said:  "There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed as part of your driving licence application."