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Reapplying for license with exceptional circumstances-UK only


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Welcome GCoutt. Although most of us are neither medical practitioners nor working for DVLA in their medical team, we hope to be able to give you a steer and maybe some hope! It seems like you have been through the mill a bit but I think there is certainly a good chance that you can get your licence back. There may be some hoops to jump through (all well documented in this and other threads in this section) and it may take some time!


A read through some of the threads in this section will give you a good idea of what the DVLA expect of you when you have a visual defect. You, however, have come from a different place as your licence was revoked for other reasons. I'm afraid I know nothing about the DVLA rules in respect of operative, or post operative, regulations about driving abilities. Unless someone here can make that clear, you may need to discuss that with them separately.


For instance, would they now give you your licence back if you didn't have a visual defect? If they would, you know that you only have the 'visual defect' hoop to jump through. If not, you may have to take a two-pronged approach.


With respect to the visual defect matter, you are sensible to have taken the Esterman test at Specsavers although I suspect they may ask you to do so again so that they can receive a formal report from Specsavers under their own system. It seems that the DVLA like to instruct Specsavers themselves (DVLA pay for it, so you don't have to suffer the cost again) so that they can explain properly the reason for the test (despite the fact that you may have done this when you got the test done!).


Once Specsavers issue the report to DVLA (or the DVLA accept the report sent by you with your re-application) they will let you know whether you can a) drive again, or b) need to jump through some hoops. If you need to jump through hoops you will receive a letter that will explain what the hoops are. Once you have this letter, then come back with more questions. We are well versed in hoop jumping.


There is no 'bucking the system' here and many of us have successfully regained our licences (oh, deep joy!) but it may take time and patience on your part. What you have here is a bunch of people who know the frustrations of being without 'wheels' (I felt my heart leap with joy just thinking that I can drive again!) and will work tirelessly to help you through the tribulations to regain freedom of the road.


Fill out that re-application form and send in that information. In the meantime we will keep our fingers crossed that the news is good for you but steel ourselves to be of assistance. Bon chance!



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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Jonnie M


Thanks for your comments. I’m sending off all the forms and test results this week. I had a consultant appointment so wanted to see if their was anything from that I could add. He assures me, if anything, my visual defect could improve slightly over the next 6 months.


It certainly won’t get worse so I’m managing to keep a little bit of optimism. It will just be a visual field defect hoop I have to jump through so I may well be tapping you up for advice and techniques on how to do this successfully!! I’ll keep you posted,

Thanks for your interest and concern.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 6 months later...
On 24/04/2019 at 13:00, Johnnie M said:

Thanks for the response GC. Keep in contact and let us know how you are getting on.




Hi there, sorry for not responding sooner!! My big news is I’m driving again!!!!

The delay was slow due to no movement at dvla which will come as no surprise. Had to redo tests and get more letters from my doctors as dvla said my info was no longer up to date which I thought was a cheek as they had taken so long to respond.


Sent more test results off (visual fields from spec savers in York - lovely lady did my test) and all quiet for another 10 weeks until my patience snapped and I rang to complain. I said it was unacceptable to to have all the information at your fingertips and not say yes or no.


I had been waiting for months, lo and behold 48hrs later my licence dropped through my letterbox!!


My visual fields had improved marginally from previous tests, I only missed 1 point in the central area on my last test. Do make sure you do the tests 4 or 5 times at a sitting as they do improve.


No other health issues and I am almost back to normal. My short term memory is still not brilliant but I nearly feel like me again. It’s been a very long 26 months but to be mobile again is fantastic. It is easy to get disheartened but things can improve, just not always as quick as we would like! 

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  • 8 months later...

Hi Everyone,


I suffered a stroke in April 2017, and had to have a fairly urgent operation to ream out my right Carotid artery, the only symtom I ever had was the loss of what I thought was some vision in the lower left quatrant of my left eye.


It turned out that in fact I had lost vision in that quatrant in both eyes, after a month I had to report this to DVLA, I had of course been told not to drive from the outset.  I work at our local hospital so wangled a very quick appointment with the Eye clinic and failed the Field Vision test from day 1.


I was told that I would be unlikely to be able to drive for at least 12 months, to say that I was devastated would be an understament, but I was told that if DVLA revoked my licence, it would be easier to get it back if you just comply and don't fight it.


So anyway I reported the problem to DVLA and within a few day received a letter to make an appointment with Specsavers for a Field Vision test, which I did, and as expected failed it, and again within a few days received a letter from DVLA revoking my licence.


My optometrist had told me about the Exceptional Circumstances rules and told me not to give up hope, so while you have to wait 12 months, it pays to apply about 2 months before this as DVLA are not known for their speed, anyway I knew that the likelyhood was that I would need to undertake a driving assessment if I could get past the 7 conditions that DVLA impose on you. 


I thought that it was very unfair to expect someone who had not driven for some time to jump into a car and be assessed, so I found a driving school at RAF Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, that could let me drive on the disused airfield without having a licence.


I booked a couple of hours with them, and had the time of my life ragging their car round the airfield, it was worth every penny of the £150 it cost, and they wrote a report that I sent to DVLA with my application.


As people will know the hardest part of the process is condition 7, where to have to have proof of functional adaptation to your vision, even my stroke consultant at the hospital, said how can I test this, he even wrote to DVLA asking this, which was ignored.  In the end I wrote a letter which my GP was happy to sign as if it was his own.


So I emailed all my evidence to DVLA along with my Application, and was send for another Field Vision Test at Specsavers (which I failed) and in a couple of weeks was informed to make an appointment with East Anglian DriveAbility. The assessment was not that bad, they sat me in a static rig, and tested my braking reaction times, which at first I failed, but the staff told me to use the peripheral vision that I had on the right side.


Basically they set you off on the rig at a speed of 30mph and where the windscreen would be there is rows of lights and when you see a Red light then you have to brake as hard as you can, so I tilted my head to the left and used my right peripheral vision to see the lights on the right hand side and my main vision on the left, we then went out in one of their cars round the town and on a dual carriage way.


In all it took me 14 Months to get my licence back, so there is hope.  If I can help anyone please ask, I'll give all the information I can.



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  • 8 months later...

Hi, so 2018 I was diagnosed with optic disc drusen in a routine eye test as my work made me do one as part of their ‘assurance’  it came back I had to see my go then they referee me to Oxford eye hospital. 

I work in the military and to them this was the end of the world and made me non deeply able and to Just sit around twiddling my thumbs as I was in and out of the hospital for almost a year. Tried a few things to help (improved on its own) my work then forced me to inform the DVLA of my condition.


I did so being a Young sensible lad. They then said to stop driving and go do the DVLA test… bearing in mind leading up to this I was not to drive for that year. I then waited a month to find out I had a 3 year licence approved. Better than nothing… 


covid hit so I was unable to renew and was given a years grace for them to catch up!? I then go do my normal DVLA test for a week later to be told I must stop driving immediately.


I see my gp and tell them I am going to go to another practise test to prove it was a one off fail. Specsavers and lost my recent results and was only able to find 1 of 3 tests I completed. (I was informed they should send all 3 off)


I have been trying for weeks to get booked into a practise test so I can send to my gp so she can sign the exceptional case field. She now wants to refer me to a specialist (seems like I’m back to square one) 


do I 

A. Do a practise DVLA test and send off results to reapply knowing full well I’ll have to do another DVLA ‘approve’ test 

B. See the specialist/ gp and get them to sign off exceptional case 

C. Go to court and pay someone to deal with it.


I just dont see to have time to be going around in circles and getting a train 2x per week to get to my work (5 hours on train)


oh and my last eye test specsavers said I should never have told them in the first place… 😅😂 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles. In this instance I have to admit that I don't really know what the issue is as I have absolutely no idea what an 'optic disc drusen' is and how it affects your sight. Keep trying and hopefully you'll have a result after a while. DVLA take their time for sure and they are very behind with their paperwork, as you may have seen reported in the press!


Good luck!



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  • 2 months later...

Hello everybody. David here.. To save time explaining my experiences with my lower right side hemianopia and the DVLA.. My story is practically identical to Finollie's  I have an online assessment with an nhs occupational therapist next wed with the intention of a practical assessment happening before Christmas. My PDAL runs out mid January. Does anyone have any info or advice on either assessments. Nervous times looming. 


Cheers David

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Hi David


A very warm welcome to BTG.

I cant offer any advice on the assessments but want to wish you good luck and hope for a positive outcome.

Hopefully if you read through all the helpful informative posts on this section you will find the advice you need.


Please let us know how you get on.

Take care 

Tina :)  

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To all.


After reading your posts about your problems with dvla medical, all I can say is I have been exactly where you are and have been.


Back in 2019 after an operation, I had a small bleed on my brain resulting in the loss of peripheral vision in my right eye. But it wasn't until 2021 that DVLA medical wrote to me telling me I must not drive. This was because I failed the visual test they sent me for. Now let me explain, I failed the test not because of my eye sight, but because I was unable to do the test properly, I always panic when faced with things like this so I expected to fail.


I even told DVLA that I would fail but they refused to take this in to account. My vision is perfectly fine but because I failed their test, they decided I was unfit due to blindness in both eyes, which was ridicules to say the least. Anyway I contacted my local MP who in turn wrote to them and with the help of my GP, DVLA are now inviting me to reapply for my driving licence. Hopefully I will be back driving soon. 


The point of this letter is to hopefully give you all a measure of hope in your own applications and I wish you all the very best of luck. DVLA are very slow at present for which I received an apology and a note saying they will treat my application as a matter of priority.


I can't wait to be back behind the wheel. So for anyone who faces the same prospects, you may not have faith in your MP but they can help, as In my case. I wasn't going to write to my MP, as I did not have faith in him from past experience but fair is fair, he has come through for me.


Respectfully, Mac#

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  • 2 months later...

Good Morning everyone. 


Good news.. I'm numb with disbelief After the endless amount of hoops. I reached the last one. Dvla has eventually reinstated my full driving licence!!! . I don't have it yet. Dvla has confirmed it's reissue with me. I honestly thought it was game over..I really did. I had a right side homonymous Hemianopia in Feb 2019.. I'm left with a right side loss lower quarter in both eyes.


My reapplication took nearly three years to the day... Covid impacted that waiting time too.  So I'd guess now it'd be 2 years from incident 


Key points I'd like to stress.. 

In daily life going about your business crossing roads.. In the house.. EVERYWHERE TBH.. Always always SCAN.. KEEP SCANNING Like your watching tennis. YOU NEED TO PROVE TO THE DVLA And the NHS at the driving assessment THAT  YOUR VISUAL LOSS DOES NOT AFFECT YOUR LIFE ENOUGH TO LOSE YOUR LICENCE 


Never give up hope keep Pushing Push push push


Try to use the email and phone always remain calm and civil. Be nice No raised voices. The people on the phone are basically a call centre with no medical training. Get them onside. They can be so helpful... Some of them anyway :)..  Avoid posting if you can. DVLA has a 2 week scan post to system backlog. IF POSTING USE TRACKED MAIL. LETTERS DO GO MISSING. use your phone to take a picture of any letters you need to send by email. Get an app to convert to pdf file. it does everything So much easier 


Doctors are fearful of Dvla and very reluctant to get involved with the  confirmation of adaption to the loss criteria. 


If like most people.. The only stumbling part of the exceptional circumstances is confirmation of adaption. Go private. Cost approx 400. A private Occupational therapist comes to your house. Watches you go about your daily business. Kitchen.. COOKING.. . Then does a series of tests... Memory.. Puzzles maps scanning. Eyes scanning tests 


Practice playing catchy with someone with a tennis ball.  Track targets people cars and moving objects. It does help and it trains your brain to adapt. Always try to be mindful of Everything going on around you and your surroundings.  GOOD LUCK FOLKS. 


Cheers David 




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