Applying for a UK provisional licence is relatively straightforward. Here we explain how to get yours.

 

What is a provisional driving licence?

A provisional licence is required in order to take your first driving lesson, and to take your theory, hazard perception and practical driving tests. You cannot use motorways with a provisional licence, and you must be supervised by someone who has had a full UK licence for at least three years and who is at least 21 years old.


How old must I be to get a provisional licence?

You must be at least 15 years and 9 months old to apply for a provisional driving licence. However, you cannot use it to drive a car until you are 17 years old.

However, you can use a provisional licence to ride a moped or light quad bike from the age of 16.

 

Eyesight requirements

You must be able to read a number plate (post-2001 design) from 20m. If you need glasses or contact lenses to do this, they must be worn while in control of a vehicle.

How much does it cost?

  • £34 online
  • £43 by post from the DVLA

 

How do I apply?

You can apply online or by post. You'll need to provide:

  • An identity document, or a valid biometric passport if you have one.
  • Details of where you've lived for the last three years
  • National Insurance number (if known)

How long will it take?

Around a week if you apply online; possibly longer if you apply by post.


What if I receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

You only have to be 16 years old to learn to drive and take a test if you receive, or have applied for, PIP.

 

What are the next steps?

Once you have received your provisional driving licence, you can:

  • Take lessons from a driving school
  • Take lessons from or be supervised by another driver (they must be at least 21 and have had a full licence for three years)

 

Can I drive with passengers on a provisional licence?

You can drive with passengers only if accompanied by someone who's had a full UK driving licence for three years and is 21 or over. They must sit in the front passenger seat at all times.

 

Can I drive on motorways with a provisional licence?

No, this is not permitted until you pass your test.

Apply for your provisional driving licence here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence

 

What happens to my provisional licence when I pass my driving test?

You’ll need to convert your provisional licence to a full licence after you’ve passed. This is a simple process. If your provisional was issued after 1 March 2004, your test centre can organise your full licence by scanning your provisional and sending it electronically to the DVLA. Your full UK licence should arrive in the post a few weeks later.

This can also be done through the post; you’ll need to sign the declaration from the pass certificate, and send it, together with your provisional licence, to the DVLA.