UK 1 – USA 0 : our DVLA beats DMV hands down

by Simon Murdoch

I’m reading Peter Thiel’s new book Zero to One which is awesome (I’ll post more about it when I’ve read the whole book). He talks about how hopeless the USA’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is at getting a licence to motorists. For him the DMV is an example where “bureaucrats can make your licensing experience pleasurable or nightmarish at their sole discretion”.


Well hats off to the UKs DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). I’m going to Spain next Monday and have arranged a hire car. After doing that I noticed just this Monday that I couldn’t find the photocard part of my driving licence. So that evening I logged on to the DVLA website to try and find out how long it would take to get a new licence.

I found that they now have a service where you don’t need to send in photos by post but can automatically get a licence made up based on the photo on your passport. So I ordered one of those, taking about 10 minutes online. The website and confirmation emails said it would take about 1 week to come and lo and behold, the new licence arrived in the post this morning, Friday, so it took <3 working days to prepare assuming 1 further day in the post. Fantastic.

UK 1 – USA 0

Go DVLA – who knew!


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