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DVLA’s new API developer portal launch first API - Vehicle Enquiry Service (VES) on GOV.UK

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DVLA Digital Services, Integrated Enquiry Platform

Back in 2018 we launched our ‘Check if a vehicle is taxed and has an MOT’ vehicle enquiry service into private beta. It’s a vital service as not only do vehicle keepers use it to check the status of their vehicle tax, but commercial customers were also making extremely high volumes of enquiries that put a strain on our infrastructure.

This then led to us developing a new channel called the VES API (application programming interface). An API is a piece of code that allows systems to talk to each other in the cloud (which is a network of servers hosted on the Internet used to store, manage and process data).

The service has proved to be a massive success, averaging 1.2 million enquiries a day. Our next step was to launch it into public beta and this is where the developer portal came in.

Building the API developer portal

To fully support the VES API roll-out on GOV.UK we quickly realised we needed to develop an API portal. This would show developers how we construct our APIs and allow them to build their own frontend interfaces. The portal would also have to provide technical documentation and available support for integration, as well as a route into applying for a service.

3 DVLA service designers working on new Vehicle Enquiry Service API around a laptop

After 2 months of planning and build time, we provided the common and vehicle requirements needed to publish the DVLA API developer portal on GOV.UK.

We’re the first government service to apply for an API domain name from Government Digital Service. We worked with API lead Rosalie Marshall who said:

We encourage development teams to use consistent naming conventions to make APIs and resources easier to locate. We worked closely with DVLA to be the first to adopt the new subdomain for its external developer portal and are excited to see this go-live. We hope the DVLA's adoption will encourage more development teams to follow suit.

3 DVLA service designers planning vehicle enquiry service on whiteboard

VES API is here

As a result of a lot of hard work our VES API is now in public beta and the first service to be launched through the portal.

We’ve worked closely with you, our customers, to gather requirements, and keep you involved and up to date with progress. More than 90 customers have already been given access and with your help and a lot of hard work it’s allowed us to build a customer-centric, efficient service to meet your needs.

More APIs are planned  

The API portal will allow us to use it for any of our online services so keep an eye out on this blog for updates.

To register to use the VES API fill in the web form on our API developer portal.

In the meantime if you have any queries please drop us an email or post a comment below.

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  1. Comment by Charles Sweeney posted on

    I am one of the 90 who have been using the API. Very pleased with it! It's been very reliable. Top job. Welcome back, Emma!

  2. Comment by D. Brooks posted on

    Good work team.

    I would like to see you team up with the DVSA team so we can get the MOT history and Enquiry details in a single request/response rather than two calls to different APIs.

    Appreciate your different depts/systems/tech stack, but with a bit of collaboration this offering could even be more useful.

    Nonetheless great work.

  3. Comment by Paul Browning posted on

    Hi I have recently changed my vw t5 van into a camper. How do I go about changing the details to dvla?