How to apply for a Driving Licence in the UK.

Everyone who drives, or wants to drive, has to apply for a driving licence in the UK as it is illegal in the UK to drive without a valid driving licence.

As a learner driver you cannot take driving lessons until you have a valid provisional driving licence. And, as a qualified driver you must have a valid full driving licence before you can legally drive a car. This page has guidance on how to apply for a driving licence in the UK.

The UK Provisional Licence:

A provisional driving licence (

car ) can be applied for up to two months prior to the seventeenth birthday. However, it cannot be used before the date of the seventeenth birthday, and it has to be in an individual's possession before they can legally take driving lessons.

Individuals in receipt of Higher Rate Disability Living Allowance can apply for a provisional licence and begin lessons from the age of sixteen.

The provisional licence allows individuals to learn to drive, either with a relative over the age of 21 who has held a full driving licence for more than three years, or with a DSA registered Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).

An Approved Driving Instructor will always ask to check your provisional licence at your first driving lesson.

How to apply for a UK Provisional Licence:

A provisional licence can be applied for:

  • at any Post Office, using Form D1
  • by telephoning the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) on 0300 790 6801
  • online, by ordering for to be posted to you via the DVLA form ordering service
  • by completing the online application form on the Directgov website, following the instructions given on screen.
  • All provisional driving licence applications require:

  • two passport size photographs endorsed by an approved person (see list below)
  • an appropriate means of identification
  • the current fee of £50.00
  • the completed application form
  • These should then be sent, with a SAE to:

    SA99 1AD

    Your licence should arrive through the post within 14-21 days.

    Persons approved to endorse photographs of identification.

  • A magistrate or local councillor, MP or MEP
  • The Police
  • A Civil Servant e.g. a librarian
  • A professional person,eg lawyer, teacher, A.D.I.
  • A minister of religion
  • A bank/building society employee
  • A local business person or shop-owner
  • The person who certifies your photograph must not be a relative and should have known you in a personal capacity for at least two years.

    Once you have applied for, and received, your provisional licence, you can then begin to take driving lessons on public roads, as long as you have also passed your seventeenth (17th) birthday.

    Take a look at our Driving Lessons pages, to get an idea about what taking driving lessons involves and what, and how you will learn, when you learn to drive.

    How to apply for a UK Driving Licence:

    In the UK, you never apply for your first full licence yourself. You can only apply for a driving licence when it is a provisional licence, and you can apply to update a licence, both provisional and full, but your first full driving licence is not applied for. Your full driving licence is automatically issued when you pass your driving test.

    When you pass your driving test, the driving test examiner will issue you with a pass certificate. This acts as a temporary full licence. He/she will take your provisional licence from you, complete the necessary documentation and send it to the DVLA. The issue of a full driving licence from a provisional driving licence is free. The DVLA will issue you with your full licence, which you will normally receive through the post within 14-21 days.

    We hope this page has been of help to you if you were looking to find out how to apply for a driving licence in the UK.

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    choosing a driving instructor

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