Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Coming soon: tax your car and get a new licence online

Drivers in Northern Ireland will be able to tax their cars and renew their licences online for the first time.

Currently a string of online and over-the-phone services are only available to people in Britain.

Now under a shake-up of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and British Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Northern Irish drivers will be offered the full range of services.

Conservative Transport Minister Mike Penning said: “Motorists in Northern Ireland currently do not have access to all vehicle services that are available on the mainland.

“For example, the facility to tax a vehicle online is currently unavailable in Northern Ireland.

“As part of this programme, the DVLA will also look to offer the full range of services to motorists in Northern Ireland.”

As a result of merging Britain and Northern Ireland's computer systems, drivers in Northern Ireland will be able to use the internet to:

  • Tax cars online and over the phone.
  • Order a duplicate tax disc.
  • Apply for a provisional driving licence.
  • Exchange a paper licence for a photocard version.
  • Renew a licence if you are aged 70 or over.
  • Change address details.
  • Replace a lost or stolen licence.

More services will also be available over the phone than are currently offered. The changes were revealed in the small print of the recent DVLA announcement that it is to close 39 regional offices in England, Scotland and Wales, with operations centralised at Swansea.

Hundreds of jobs are at risk from the move, although the centre at Bangor, which employs 11 staff, remains unaffected.

A DVA spokesperson said there were currently two separate IT systems in use in Britain and Northern Ireland, which had led to different services being available for customers.

He said: “In 2009 DVLA suspended a project to integrate the two IT systems, but are now reconsidering the position.” There is no definite timescale for the introduction of the services but the changes are expected to be made within the next two years.

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