How to apply for a provisional driving licence

So you have reached that magical age and you cannot wait to start learning to drive; however, you firstly have to apply for a provisional licence.

You can apply for a provisional licence at 15 years and 9 months although the rules state you can only drive a car on a public road after your 17th birthday. You must be able to read a standard licence plate from a distance of 20 metres (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary). If you receive the enhanced mobility benefit of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can start driving a car at the age of 16.

Apply online

The quickest way to apply for a provisional driving licence is online. The fee is £34.00. Make sure you use the official government site when applying. Avoid using unofficial registration sites because they charge you an extra fee.

Apply by post

You can apply by post. Fill in form D1 available from the DVLA form ordering service or collect one from your local Post Office. It costs £43.00 to apply by post.

What identification documents do I need to apply?

A current and valid UK biometric passport is required with a 9 digit passport number.

If you don’t hold a biometric passport, you can also use these as forms of identification:

  • A valid and current passport
  • A biometric residence permit
  • A UK certificate of naturalisation
  • A European Union national identity card 

What happens after I receive my provisional licence?

Once you receive your provisional licence you cannot drive on your own but must be supervised by either a trainee or fully qualified driving instructor a friend or family member who is over 21 years of age and has had a full licence for three years or more.

You must display L plates on both the front and the back of your car.

If you learn with an instructor but also get extra practice with a friend or family member in your car third party motor insurance is the minimum legal requirement. But if you take your car to your driving test, the examiner will be required to check a copy of fully comprehensive motor insurance, L plates back and front of your car, and an additional interior mirror for the examiners’ use.

If you pass, the examiner will give you the choice of either sending your provisional licence to DVLA on your behalf for a full licence or you can send it yourself. Contact the DVLA if your full licence has not arrived within three weeks.​

Your driving test pass certificate will entitle you to drive straight away but remember your previous insurance policy as a provisional holder will not cover you anymore.

If you have just passed your test, you will be on probation for two years. If you accrue 6 or more penalty points on your licence in that time, you will lose your licence and you will have to apply for a provisional licence again. This means you will be a learner driver again.

Drive safely!