Provisional driving licence

Get your wheels in motion

Before you even think about getting behind the wheel, there are a few things you need to sort. We know this isn't exactly the fun part, but it’s important to make sure your driving life starts off on the right foot (or should we say - in the right gear?). Read on to answer some of the questions you might have about getting your provisional licence.  

Why do I need a provisional driving licence?

A provisional licence is the first step to getting you on the road. You can’t get behind the wheel – or even take a lesson - without it. But once you've got it in hand, you can:

  • Begin learning to ride a moped or light quad bike at 16.
  • Start learning to drive a car at 17.

When can I apply for my provisional driving licence?

You can apply for your provisional licence once you’re over 15 years and 9 months old, but it only becomes valid when you turn 16.

Can anyone apply for a provisional driving licence?

There are some provisional licence requirements you need to meet before you can submit an application to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA):

  • You must be a resident of Great Britain – Northern Irish citizens can apply through the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).
  • You must be able to read a standard licence plate from 20m away (wearing your glasses or contacts if you need them).

How long is my provisional driving licence valid for?

Your provisional licence lasts for 10 years. But you only have 2 years from the date you pass your written theory test to take your practical driving test. If you wait longer than that, you’ll have to retake your theory test first.

How much does a provisional driving licence cost?

Your provisional licence will cost you £34 to apply online through the DVLA site.

When applying, you’ll need to give the DVLA the addresses you've lived at for the last 3 years, as well as a passport-style photo. You’ll also need to provide a valid form of ID, such as a current passport, a biometric residence permit or a UK certificate of naturalisation.

If you don’t have any of these documents, you can send your birth certificate along with either: your National Insurance number, benefits claim letter, P45, P60 or pay slip, marriage certificate or divorce papers, college or university union card, school record, or PASS CitizenCard. Your licence should arrive within a week, though it could take longer if the DVLA have to make any extra checks.  

Can I get my provisional driving licence replaced?

Yes - a lost provisional licence can be easily replaced. You can apply for it online, and you’ll need to pay £20. The process is the same as applying for a new licence - you'll need to provide addresses for the last 3 years and a valid form of ID.

Once you have your provisional licence, it’s time to get in touch with a driving instructor and begin your adventures behind the wheel.