Ataxia UK

DVLA Decisions


Can anyone tell me how long it takes for the DVLA to make a decision about a person with Cerebeller Ataxia being able to drive. My friend has suffered with this for about a year now, and only recently informed the DVLA. He has had an initial letter back saying they have to put his case before a team of doctors, so it may take some time. He has been driving on and off since he was diagnosed, but now has a brace type contraption on his foot which helps him no end. I am sure he will end up being very distressed and depressed if they do stop him driving altogether. Any advice would be appreciated please.

8 Replies

It takes up to 10 working days


Thank you for your quick reply. I will let him know.


Sometimes, it will take longer, because the person's Neurologist may be contacted and inevitably a reply may be delayed😏xB


Having gone through this procedure in the last few months I should advise against being too optimistic about the time it will take.

My experience - I telephoned the DVLA early November, explaining what I needed. A few days later I received their letter with two forms attached, one for me to complete about my Ataxia and everything about my own health history with it, and another for my GP to complete. (I have late-onset Idiopathic Cerebellar Ataxia, diagnosed 7 years ago and once a year I attend the Ataxia Centre at Southampton Hospital).

About four weeks later I had a reply from the DVLA and, having got excited was immediately disappointed as they were writing to say they had not yet heard from my GP. I telephoned my local surgery who assured me that they would deal with it right away.

Eventually at the end of February I received a package from the DVLA which was at least ambiguous, at worst damned confusing. There were two letters, one asking me to identify the modifications my car would need, the other saying that as I would be 70 in Mid-April I needed to re-apply for a licence.

A further telephone call to them and they explained that I should ignore the one about modifications.

I sent off the new application, explaining on the telephone that it was now urgent as I would be going to Spain on holiday at the end of March and needed my driving licence for car-hire. They noted everything and told me I should receive the licence in good time.

6th March I received yet another missive from the DVLA, an exact duplication of the very first one with the 2 forms. Yet another phone call!

This time they confirmed that there was an error and that actually everything was in order, they had received the application and their notes on-screen confirmed that they were aware of my holiday date. I was told that it would normally take 3 weeks for me to receive the licence. I reiterated that I was leaving on 29th March and they said that they'd do what they could to ensure it got to me in time.

Friday 24th March the new licence arrived!

All in all it was successful if long-winded. The DVLA staff I spoke to were very considerate and helpful, but the organisation is a bureaucratic nightmare so I would advocate being efficient and prompt in dealing with them. Patience is a pre-requisite.

Good luck, Derek.


I have Sensory Ataxia, did not get it until I was 77, I see a Neuro Consultant once a year in London. The first time I had to renew my driving licence with my Ataxia, it took DVLA 11 months before I received my licence, and the last time it took 10 months. I've just received the Medical Driving Renewal form to renew again, and will be sending it off shortly, again giving details of my GP, Neuro Consultant, and this time my Heart Consultant. While you are waiting you are still allowed to drive, and ha, ha, it works out to our advantage, because the 3 year licence starts from the date they issue it, not from the date it was due to be renewed. Hope this helps - have fun.


I've been waiting 4 months. My license expired on 28 February and all they keep saying is we're waiting for medical reports. They're questioning my depression now so I called them and said do you penalise people for being depressed because most people wouldn't be able to drive but all they say is they're waiting for reports. I can still drive because I've reapplied pending a decision however I'm doing a fly drive in June in America so I'll need to produce my license and it has expired. Going to phone them again later so I'll let you know how it goes. X


I lost my license last November. I was gutted and distraught at the time. I'm ok with it now. I'm glad it went before I had an accident. And now I have a free bus pass, and no tax and insurance etc to pay for. It was tough transitioning, but you get used to it very quickly x


Incidentally, I first called them in March. I finally found I was unsuccessful in November.


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