UK provisional driving licence – A complete guide

A provisional driving licence allows you to drive on all UK roads except motorways before you pass your driving test. But you must be supervised by your driving instructor or any other driver over the …

A provisional driving licence allows you to drive on all UK roads except motorways before you pass your driving test. But you must be supervised by your driving instructor or any other driver over the age of 21 who has held a full driving licence for at least three years.

If you want to apply for a provisional licence, you must be at least 15 years and 9 months old. You will need to fill out an application form and send it along with supporting documents and the correct fee to the DVLA.

Once your application is processed, you will receive it in the post. This typically takes about two weeks. We recommend you check the DVLA website for turnaround times.

You can start learning to drive as soon as you receive your licence but cannot take your driving test until you are 17 years old (remember you must be supervised by another driver over the age of 21 who holds a full driving licence for at least three years).

What is a provisional driving licence?

A provisional licence is a temporary licence that allows you to drive on all UK roads except motorways before you pass your driving test.

How to apply for a provisional licence?

If you’re a first-time driver in the United Kingdom, you will need to apply for it before you can start learning to drive.

You can apply online via the Gov.UK website or you can complete a D1 from which you can obtain from your local post office and send that by post.

To apply for a provisional licence, you must:

  • Be a resident of the United Kingdom
  • Be at least 15 years and 9 months old
  • Have a parent or guardian consent if you are under 18
  • Meet the minimum eyesight requirement
  • Not have any medical conditions that would prevent you from driving
  • Not be banned from driving
  • Have an dentification document like your passport or national insurance number
  • Have evidence of your address, where you’ve lived for up to the last 3 years
  • If you apply by post you need to include passport-sized photo

Once your application is processed, you will receive your provisional licence in the mail. This typically takes around four weeks (sometimes longer so do check on the Gov.UK website). Postal applications usually take longer to process. Once you have your provisional licence, you can start taking driving lessons.

Beware: There are many “unofficial sites” out there so be careful when you search on Google and make sure you go to the official Gov.UK DVLA website before you submit or apply.

DVLA / Gov.UK Provisional Licence Website

How much does it cost to apply for a provisional licence?

A provisional licence currently costs £34* or £43 if you apply by post. You will need to pay this fee when you apply for your licence and it can be paid online.

Can I drive a car without a provisional licence?

No, you cannot drive a car without a provisional licence in the UK. A provisional licence is a temporary licence that allows you to drive on all UK roads except motorways before you pass your driving test. But you must be supervised by your driving instructor or any other driver over the age of 21 who has held a full driving licence for at least three years.

How long does a provisional licence last in the UK?

Your provisional licence is valid until you pass your driving test, or for a maximum of three years. After that, you will need to renew it.

You can apply for a provisional licence up to three months before your 16th birthday. However, you will not be able to actually start driving until you are at least 17 years old.

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Can you drive on a provisional licence without a theory test?

You cannot drive on a provisional licence without first passing your theory test.

Once you have passed your theory test, you can then take your practical driving test. If you pass your practical driving test, you will be issued with a full driving licence. Provisional licences are only valid for a certain period of time, so it is important to make sure that you pass your tests as soon as possible.

There is no set time limit for how long a provisional licence is valid for, but it is generally recommended that you take your tests within two years of passing your theory test. Provisional licences can be renewed if they expire before you have passed your tests.

What information appears on my provisional licence card?

The following details will appear on the licence card:

Front of the licence card:

  • Your personal details (name, surname, date of birth)
  • Date licence was issued, expiry date, and issuing authority
  • Your driver number
  • Licence holder photo
  • Licence holder address

Back of the licence card:

  • Pictogram entitlement categories (types of vehicles you allowed to drive)
  • Valid from and valid to dates
  • Information codes and restrictions
Provisional drivers licence card sample

What are the restrictions on a provisional driving licence?

There are several restrictions placed on provisional driving licences. The most notable restriction is that you cannot drive on motorways. Other restrictions include a limit on the number of passengers you can carry, and a limit on the types of vehicles you can drive. You also cannot tow a trailer or caravan while on a provisional licence. Finally, you must always be supervised by a licenced driver when driving on a provisional licence.

Can you get points on your provisional driving licence?

Yes, you can. If you’re caught speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, or using a mobile phone while driving, you’ll get points on your provisional licence. These points will stay on your licence for four years. If you build up 12 or more points within that four-year period, your provisional licence will be revoked. This means you’ll have to reapply for a new provisional licence and take your driving test again.

Do you need car insurance for provisional driving?

You need to have car insurance to drive with a provisional licence. You can insure yourself as the main driver or named driver on your parents’ or guardian’s insurance policy. The minimum insurance cover you must have is ‘Third Party’. This will cover damage to other people’s property and vehicles, but not yours.

Can I get provisional insurance if I have points on my licence?

Yes, you can get provisional insurance if you have points on your licence. However, the cost of your insurance will be affected. You may also find it difficult to get insurers to cover you. It’s important to disclose any points or endorsements on your licence when you apply for insurance.

What do I need to do if I lose my provisional licence?

If you have lost your provisional licence, you will need to contact the DVLA online as soon as possible to request a replacement. You can do this by phone or online. There is a £20 fee for replacing a lost provisional licence. Once you have received your replacement provisional licence, you will need to take it to a driving test centre in order to have your photograph taken and updated on the licence.

If you do not replace your provisional licence, you will not be able to drive legally in the UK. This could result in a fine or points on your driving record if you are caught driving without a valid licence.

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about provisional driving licences in the UK. We hope this guide has been helpful and gives you a better understanding of what is required in order for you to obtain your licence. Remember, always drive safely and within the law. Good luck!

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