Driving Licence – Virtual Address Problem

Appealing to the DVLA

A campaign to reverse the recent legislative change.

If you have been living on the cut for any length of time,  then you are probably already aware that the DVLA have recently ‘reinterpreted’ their long-standing criteria that define the nature of an address to which a driving licence or V5C  (the old ‘log book’)  may be registered.   The DVLA are now insisting that this must be the actual,  residential,  address of the driver or keeper!

When pressed,  they did concede that registration may be permitted at the address of a relative,  friend,  Doctor or ‘similar?’. . .  but only in undefined ‘exceptional circumstances’.   Even if and when such circumstances are accepted  you may then be asked to provide documentary proof in support of any claim to a familial or professional connection.

What is very clear,  however,  is that the DVLA are now explicitly prohibiting the registration of a driving licence or V5C to any address that has been ‘commercially provided’.

This policy is,  in our opinion, discriminative and  counterproductive.   It directly negates their own stated reasons for its implementation;  the following is a verbatim quote from the DVLA’s response to a letter we sent to them on the 7th October 2022;
“The registered keeper of a vehicle needs to provide an address at which they can be easily contactable by post or in person as it helps the DVLA,  the police and other enforcement agencies to contact the keeper in the event of a law infringement.”

. . . but this is precisely why van post exists!

As anyone who has lived without a fixed postal address will attest,  it is an act of the purest optimism to expect a brother-in-law,  ex-girlfriend,  work colleague or elderly parents to receive your mail. . .  then remember to take it to the Post Office,  address it correctly and apply the appropriate postage.

And what happens when a well-meaning friend or relative forgets to send you that £90 speeding fine you received two years ago and which has now risen to over £1,200?   Not a farfetched scenario,  invented to illustrate the point,  but is exactly what happened to Lin Goode,  the editor of CanalsOnline Magazine,  and now a customer of canalpost,  just before Christmas!   It is largely for this reason that we will be launching the public campaign in the March 2023 issue of CanalsOnline Magazine!

Lest this article begins to sound like DVLA bashing,  it really isn’t!

We all share a world in which identity theft,  fraud and terrorism are a constant,  ever growing,  threat. . .  and we understand very well that the motive behind this policy change is to mitigate these existential risks.

It is our belief that this problem has arisen because the sector is currently unregulated,  with a growing number of ad-hoc providers in the marketplace,  some of which,  due to their lack of procedures and oversight,  have the potential to be used by criminals to perpetrate fraud or other unlawful acts.

our aim…

Is to persuade the DVLA to rescind the current blanket ban and,  instead,  implement a mechanism by which providers could be ‘approved’ to supply this crucial and much needed service.

We suggest that a set of compliance standards be applied,  identical to those normally reserved for Trust and Company Service Providers,  on the basis that;  if they meet HMRC’s requirements for an organisation able to set up Companies,  open bank accounts and transact international finance,  then they should also satisfy the DVLA.

Our operating Company,  Expost Holdings Limited,  already meets and exceeds these exacting standards.

We verify the identity of every account holder at the point of registration,  our staff are trained in Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Funding,  every member of management has been background checked by HMRC and certified to be a ‘fit and proper person’.   Then,  because we take our responsibility to protect your personal data very seriously,  we are also registered as Data Controllers with the IOC and comply fully with the myriad rules and restrictions placed upon us by GDPR.

our campaign…

The purpose of our lobbying is twofold.

Firstly,  to draw the DVLA’s attention to the unfairness of applying this regulation to those who,  either as a lifestyle choice or in response to financial imperatives,  have no fixed UK postal address.

Secondly,  to convince the DVLA policy makers at the Department of Transport that a virtual address and mail forwarding service supplied by a professional,  approved,  provider is more secure,  and meets their stated criteria far better,  than allowing the informal use of an estranged relative’s address!

To support our lobbying efforts,  we will soon be launching a digital petition* which,  once it reaches 10,000 ‘signatures’ will require a formal response from Government.   If we are then able to amass 100,000 signatures,  there is a very good chance that the issue will be debated in the House.

. . .some final thoughts

Please remember that this issue extends well beyond boaters, affecting an estimated 1.2 million in the UK who live a ‘No Fixed Abode’ lifestyle,  including ‘digital nomads’,  those living full time in motorhomes and,  increasingly,  in static caravans.

Although the primary subject of this campaign is the DVLA,  our overriding concern is that it may just be the thin end of an insidious wedge.   Consider the implications if similarly restrictive policies are adopted by  (or forced upon)  banks,  credit card companies,  telecoms providers,  insurance brokers,  the DWP,  NHS or HMRC. . .  even online retailers?

If you have a story that you feel may help our efforts,  please let us know

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