How to apply for a provisional licence
Before you can start your driving lessons or take your theory or practical tests, you’ll need a provisional driving licence.
You'll need to send an application to the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency) any time from 3 months before your 17th birthday.
Just follow these 5 steps:
Sort out your ID
To start with, you'll need to produce a valid form of ID, either a passport or birth certificate from the options below.
If you have a standard UK passport you’ll need to post it to the DVLA with your application. Be warned, they don’t accept photocopies, so make sure you send the original document. But, if your passport has a camera symbol on the front - good news! - you have one of the newer digital passports and you won’t need to send your passport to the DVLA after all. You’ll just need to fill in your 9-digit passport number in the relevant section on the application.
Need your passport in the next month? Postpone applying for your licence in case your application gets delayed or lost in the post.
Birth and adoption certificates
You can also use your original birth or adoption certificate as a form of ID, just as long as you also send in any one of the following:
- National Insurance card or a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions showing your National Insurance number
- P45, P60 or pay slip
- A photocopy of the front page of a benefits book or an original benefits claim letter
- College or university union card or school record
Get yourself a passport photo
Never the most flattering pictures, we know, but with your application, you'll need to include a colour passport-style photo that has been certified.
It’s easy to get your photo certified - you’ll just need a person from a recognised profession i.e. doctor, teacher, police officer, MP or librarian, who has known you for more than two years, to sign the back of your photo and complete a small section of the application form.
Fill out the application
Once you’ve got your ID and photo sorted, you’re ready to complete the application form. There are two ways to apply; via the official government website or by post.
Applying online is quick and you’ll only need to wait about 10 working days for your licence to arrive.
To apply by post you can either order the D1 application form direct from the DVLA or pick one up from the Post Office.
To complete your application, you'll need to:
Top Tip: Smaller Post Office branches don’t always stock provisional driving licence applications, so check the Post Offices’ online Branch Finder before making a special trip
- Be a resident of Great Britain - there’s a different service in Northern Ireland
- Meet the minimum age requirement - that's 16 for mopeds / motorbikes and 17 for cars
- Meet the minimum eyesight requirement
- Not be prevented from driving for any reason
- Pay £34 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card
- Have a valid UK passport or other form of identity
- Have your National Insurance number if known
- Provide addresses where you’ve lived over the last 3 years
Track your progress
Once you’ve submitted your application, you can keep an eye on its progress via the official government website. Depending on how you applied, your licence can take between two and three weeks to arrive, but if it’s taking longer, this tool will give you an idea of what's going on.
Take to the road
Once your provisional driving licence hits the front door mat you’re ready to grab your L-plates and get behind the wheel! Well providing you’re 17, under supervision and insured, of course.
You can now start your driving lessons and, when you’re ready, book your driving theory test.
Tyger's Diary: Applying for your provisional licence.
ingenie video blogger and BBC actor Tyger Drew-Honey talks about how he applied for his provisional licence