Provisional Driving Licence Guide

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If you are looking to get on the road, taking the right steps towards a full driving licence is important. While a driving test seems like the first thing to look forward to, you need to obtain a provisional driving licence to start driving lessons and practice first. To help you earn your provisional licence, we put together a guide providing everything you need to know!

What is a Provisional Driving Licence

The provisional driving licence is obtainable as early as 15 years and 9 months of age. But to learn to drive a car and take the test, you must be 17 years old. There is an exception if you qualify for the mobility part of personal independence payment (PIP).

When you turn 17 (or 16 in the exception mentioned above), you may drive in a car with a driving instructor or with family or friends that are over 21 and have had their full friving licence for 3 years.

How To Apply For a Provisional Driving Licence

Initial Requirements

To be able to get your first provisional driving licence for a car, moped, or motorcycle you will need to meet a few initial requirements. These include:

  • Be a resident of Great Britain.
  • Be at least 15 years and 9 months old.
  • Be able to meet the minimum eyesight requirement; read a car number plate from 20 metres away (with contact lenses or glasses if needed).

Apply Online

The best and easiest way to apply for a provisional licence is on the official GOV.UK DVSA website. Before starting the application, you will need the following items:

  • £34, payable by Electron, MasterCard, Visa, Delta debit or credit card.
  • A valid UK biometric passport or another form of valid identification.
  • Proof of addresses you’ve lived in the last 3 years.
  • If known, your National Insurance number.

Apply By Post

Additionally, you can apply for a provisional licence by post. To do this, start by filling out the D1 application form, available from the DVSA form ordering service and certain Post Office branches.

When applying by post, make the postal order or cheque payable to DVLA. Cash will not be accepted. An approved identity document or valid UK biometric passport and a colour passport photograph is needed.

Send your application to:

  • DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD (if all documents are from the UK)
  • DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AF (if any documents are from outside the UK)

When to Expect Your Provisional Driving Licence

If you apply for the provisional licence online, your license should arrive within one week, but may take longer if additional checks are needed.

If you apply for the provisional licence by post, your licence should arrive within 3 weeks.

How Long is a Provisional Driving Licence Valid?

A provisional driving licence lasts for 10 years. After you pass your written theory test, you have 2 years to take your practical driving test. If 2 years go by after you pass your written theory test, you have to retake the theory test.

After you have obtained your provisional driving licence, remember to study our free mock theory tests to help you pass the first time around.

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