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How to get your UK driving licence

Learn how to apply for your driving licence in the UK

You wish to hit the road and see the world? Getting your driving licence could be a fun and challenging experience! Being able to drive opens a whole world of possibilities and new beginnings.

First of all, to drive a car or another vehicle category legally in the UK, a driver must be at least 17 years old and hold a valid driving licence.

Before being able to learn how to drive or take any of the three driving tests, you need to apply for a provisional driving licence.


THE PROVISIONAL DRIVING LICENCE

A provisional driving licence allows you to drive on UK roads (except motorways) under the supervision of your driving instructor or another driver who is over 21 years old and has held a full licence for at least three years. You will need this licence to take your theory, hazard perception and practical driving tests, and for your first driving lesson.

You can apply for it if you are at least 15 years and 9 months old, and you are able to read a car number plate made after September 1, 2001, from a 20 metres distance. You must always wear your glasses or lenses while driving.


• How to apply for the provisional driving licence?

You can apply:

  • - By post: by completing a D1 application form, which you can get from most Post Office branches.

    Send your completed application and payment to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD.

  • - Online: following this link: www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence

You will need to provide:

  • - An identity document such as your passport

  • - Your current address where you’ve lived for the last 3 years

  • - Your National Insurance number

The cost is 34£ if you apply online or 47£ if applying by post.

You will receive your provisional driving licence within a week after applying online or 10 days if applying by post. Don’t start driving without your provisional driving licence!


TAKING THE DRIVING THEORY TESTS

You must take and pass the theory test in a theory test centre before taking the practical driving tests. If you fail, you will be given the opportunity to retake the test after ten days, but each attempt costs £23.

To prepare for your driving test you have the choice of learning it online or taking classes in a driving centre.

The theory test consists of 2 parts:

  • 1) A 57-minute MCQ with 50 questions. You need 43 correct answers to pass.

  • 2) A 20-minute video test which tests the candidate against all sorts of hazards presented in 14 video clips.

    The sooner the candidate identifies them by clicking, the more points he/she scores.

    A score of 44 out of 75 is required to pass this section.

You must then take your practical test within two years after obtaining your theory test certificate. After that, the theory test is no longer valid and must be retaken.


LAST BUT NOT LEAST... THE PRACTICAL TEST

Once you have passed your theory test, you can then take (and pass) your practical test.

To get your driving licence, you must take practical driving lessons with a certified instructor, regardless of your driving skills. Once you feel confident, and with the agreement of your instructor, you can register for the practical test. You can book a free slot online for £62 on weekdays and £75 on weekends.

The test lasts 40 minutes: for 10 minutes the candidate drives freely and for 30 minutes he/she drives under the orders of the examiner. Once the test is over, you must pass an eye test and answer two mechanical questions asked by the examiner. The examiner will tell you directly whether you have passed the test successfully or not. In case of a negative result, you can take the test again 10 days later.

Once you have passed your practical test, you can apply for your permanent driving licence at the post office for a fee of £17. You should also know that a UK driving licence is valid for ten years, after which you must apply for a renewal online or at a post office.

Remember that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has developed a digital service named "View your driving licence", which allows you to view your driving licence information online, such as your personal information, your permit categories, and your current status regarding penalties and disqualifications: