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The process of getting a UK driving licence

You wish to hit the road and see the world? To drive a car in the UK, you must be at least 17 years old and hold a valid driving licence. But before you can get your hands on the wheel, you must pass all the driving test and apply for a provisional driving licence. We know the process can be very long and stressful. Let us help you understand the steps you need to follow to obtain your driving licence in the UK.


How to apply for your driving licence in the UK



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 driving lessons and pass your theory, hazard perception, and practical driving tests.

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 from a 20 metres distance. If you can't, you must always wear your glasses or lenses while driving.


How to apply

To get the provisional driving licence, you can apply:


  • Online

  • • By post: by completing a D1 application form, which you can get from most Post Office branches. You must pay the fee and send your completed application to:

  • DVLA,
  • Swansea,
  • SA991AD


Documenation needed


  • • A document that can be used to prove your identity, such as your passport

  • • The address where you’ve lived for the last 3 years

  • • Your National Insurance Number


Cost and processing time

The cost of the provisional driving licence is £34 if you apply online or £47 if you apply by post.

You will receive your licence within a week after applying online or 10 days if you chose to get it by post. Remember you mustn't start driving without your provisional driving licence.




You must take and pass the theory test in a theory test centre before taking the practical driving test. To do so, you will have to book it online. If you fail the test, you will be given the opportunity to retake it after ten days.

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

The theory test consists of 2 parts:


  • 1) A 57-minute test consisting of 50 multiple choice questions. You'll need to get at least 43 correct answers to pass this test.

  • 2) A 20-minute video test that evaluates the candidate's ability to identify all sorts of hazards presented in 14 video clips. The sooner the candidate identifies them by clicking, the more points they score. A score of 44 out of 75 is required to pass this section.


Cost

Each attempt costs £23.




Once you passed your theory test, you must take the practical test within two years. After that, the theory test will no longer be valid and will have to be retaken.

Once you feel confident with your driving skills, you can book a free slot online. The test will last 40 minutes and will require you to drive freely for the first 10 minutes. Then, you will be asked to drive by following the examiner's instructions or requests for another 30 minutes.

When the test is over, you must also pass an eye test and answer two mechanical questions asked by the examiner. The examiner will tell you on the spot whether you have passed the test successfully or not. In the case of a negative result, you can take the test again after 10 days.


Cost

The cost of the practical driving test is £62 on weekdays and £75 on weekends.




What happens after you pass your tests?

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

Did you know that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has developed a digital service named "view your driving licence"? It allows you to view or share your driving licence information online, see your permit category, and check your current status regarding penalties and disqualifications.




Now you know

Getting your full UK driving licence will require you to obtain a provisional driving licence and pass a theory, practical, and hazard perception tests. You can study the material online on your own, or with the help of a driving instructor at a driving school.