UK to introduce digital driving licences

Written by Sam Trendall on 21 September 2021 in News

Reforms will also encompass provisional licences and MOT documents

Credit: PA

The UK is to introduce digital driving licences as part of a package of technology and process reforms.

The government’s intention is also to reduce – if not eliminate – the use of physical test certificates and provisional licences. The process of obtaining an MOT will also be digitised.

Alongside these reforms of transport documents, the government plans to create legislation to “to put electronic trade documents on the same legal footing as paper documents, removing the need for wasteful paperwork and needless bureaucracy”.

This will allow for other legal documents – such as share certificates – to be issued in digital, rather than paper form.

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“Our transport network will be fairer, greener and more efficient thanks to our exciting new post-EU freedoms,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps, on Twitter. “We will introduce digital driving licences – moving provisional cards online, doing away with paper test certificates and bringing MOTs into the modern age.”

He added: “This is a golden chance to shake off the bureaucracy, invest in our future, and realise our potential with world-leading transport that benefits all of Britain.

A timeline has not been set for the introduction of digital licences but, in April, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency published a three-year strategic plan, in which chief executive Julie Lennard said the organisation would be “working to secure the legislative changes that will be needed to move to providing digital driving licences”.

The strategy added: “We will consolidate our position as a dynamic, digital organisation which provides high quality, innovative and secure-by-design services. Over the next three years we will prioritise the redevelopment of our drivers’ services to ensure that they are even more flexible and responsive and fit for a changing future. We will introduce a digital driving licence for provisional drivers and also start to build a customer account facility. This will ultimately give our customers personalised, easy and secure access to a range of services and allow them more choice in how they transact with us. Our services will be secure, scalable and resilient and we will continue to explore and expand the use of emerging technologies.”


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on


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