The left corners of a UK driving licence and a provisional driving licence overlaid on one another. The picture has a black background.

Discovering the illegal trade of UK driving licenses

Due to a shortage of driving test availability, the black market for UK driving licences in London has been on the rise.

Since the pandemic caused a huge backlog in waiting for a test from the DVLA, touts and fake licence makers in the black market have block-booked driving tests to sell at a huge profit: and are even offering full UK driving licences.

Jennifer is a receptionist at a London driving school who offers booking services for driving tests in Morden, Mitcham, and Tolworth.

She said: “We charge £202 for booking a driving test for you.

“If you want to book your driving test through the UK government website, it will be cheaper, but you will be on a long waiting list.”

Jennifer mentioned learners only need to pay if their driving tests are confirmed.

Marco, an instructor from the same driving school has been selling driving test slots for four years.

He said: “I can help you in booking a test for next week. If you prefer taking tests over the weekend, it costs £215.

“I need a photo of your provisional driving licence and your e-mail address. You will not pay anything until your test is booked.”

Marco mentioned that it may take up to eight months for learners to book their driving test via the government website.

Ruth, a 23-year-old student living in Chiswick was having difficulty finding a driving test in her area.

She eventually managed to book a test in the Isle of Wight on March 13 as there were no available slots in or near London, except for in Buckinghamshire.

She said: “Nowadays a lot of people can’t afford to take driving lessons anymore.

“It costs £60 per hour for a lesson and I needed to take two lessons a week.

“Learning to drive cost me between £2,000 and £3,000, but I am not guaranteed a driving test slot.”

Ruth explained that the shortage of driving tests was due to a lack of driving instructors during the pandemic when many were unable to maintain a sufficient income because of restrictions.

And touts aren’t where the black market ends.

Ruth added: “There are people selling driving tests on TikTok.”

One seller on TikTok offers a full UK driving license for £750 without requiring any tests.

The seller stated that it takes one week to make a copy of a driving licence, followed by a 48-hour shipping period based on the buyer’s location.

In terms of the authenticity of the licence card itself, he said: “We obviously take care of it, the driving licences are certified and registered in a database.”

Another driving licence seller on TikTok offered a guaranteed pass on a driving test for £300, with an advance payment of £150.

The UK government has stated that touts employ bots to reserve slots as soon as they are released, preventing learners from securing them.

The government explained on its Despatch blog: “The challenge for us is to find ways to stop bots from accessing the booking site without affecting genuine learners and ADIs (approved driving instructors) trying to use the service.

“There can be times where the steps taken to prevent automated access result in inconveniences for our customers.”

A DVLA spokesman said: “These accounts are not connected to DVLA and are recognised scams that attempt to obtain payment or personal information.

“Anyone concerned they may have been a victim of a scam should contact the police through Action Fraud straight away.”

Featured image credit: Oleksandr Siedov via

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