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Getting a Trainee Driving Instructor Licence

The primary reason to get a trainee driving instructor licence is to help in your preparation for qualifying as an approved driving instructor (ADI).

This section explains the two options you have when applying for the ADI trainee licence. Review the rules for using your trainee licence and what happens when it runs out.

Benefits of Having an ADI Trainee Licence

There are several advantages of getting the ADI trainee driving instructor licence. Most of all, it means you will be able to:

  • Start giving instruction to ‘real’ pupils.
  • Get experience instructing students to drive.
  • Prepare for the ADI part 3 test.
  • Charge money for giving instruction.
  • Work under the licence for up to six (6) months.

Note: Before you apply for a trainee driving instructor licence you must have already passed the ADI part 2 test and:

Applying for Trainee Driving Instructor Licence

The cost to apply for an ADI trainee licence is £140 and you can only pay by debit or credit card. The process takes around thirty (30) minutes to complete and you are going to need:

Send these documents to the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency to finish your application:

  • A printout of the last screen.
  • A passport-sized photo (write your ADI personal reference number on the reverse side).
  • Your ‘application for trainee licence: declaration of manager/owner‘ form reference DVSA/ADI3L(MD).
  • The ‘instructor training declaration’ (for a first time trainee driving instructor licence application).

Approved Driving Instructor Registrar
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

Note: Some of the rules for getting a trainee driving instructor licence and becoming an ADI differ in Northern Ireland.

Appealing a Driving Instructor Registration Decision

Have you been refused a trainee licence or registration as an approved driving instructor (ADI)? If so, you can make an appeal to an independent tribunal at the General Regulatory Chamber.

There are set time limits to appeal a driving instructor registration decision. The deadline from the date of the decision is:

  • 14 days (for a trainee instructor to appeal about a registration decision).
  • 28 days (for an ADI to appeal about a registration decision).
  • 28 days (for appealing about a compensation claim).

Use the Notice of appeal General Regulatory Chamber (GRC) form T98 and associated guidance leaflet to state why you want to appeal against the decision.

It’s important to include any relevant supporting documents (e.g. the decision given by the registrar). Fill in the form and send it by email or post to:

General Regulatory Chamber
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 123 4504
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5pm

HM Courts and Tribunals Service
PO Box 9300

Options When Applying for a Trainee Licence

You must choose between two different options to complete the trainee licence application process (either):

  • Being supervised for 20% of all the lessons you conduct while under the trainee licence.
  • Doing at least twenty (20) hours of extra training while you have the trainee licence.

You must choose one of the options. You cannot change it to the other option after making your decision!

Option 1: Being Supervised

If you choose the supervision of lessons option, your sponsoring ADI would need to supervise you for 20% of all the lessons you give to pupils.

Thus, you would need to keep an accurate record of the number of hours that:

  • You give while under supervision
  • You give as driving lessons (total)

You and your ADI must both sign the DVSA/ADI21S record form. Send the licenced trainee supervision record to the Approved Driving Instructor Registrar at DVSA (address above) when your trainee licence has run out.

Option 2: Doing Extra Training

Choosing this option would mean you need to receive at least twenty (20) hours of extra training in the training programme topics. You must also (both):

  • Complete all the training before booking the ADI part 3 test.
  • Book the ADI part 3 test within three (3) months of getting your ADI trainee licence.

A minimum of 25% of the training must be carried out as practical in-car training. You must record the training that you do on the instructor training declaration form.

Send the form to the DVSA before the end of the three month deadline or the day after booking your ADI part 3 test (whichever occurs first).

Failing the ADI Part 3 Test

If you fail the ADI part 3 test (or don’t book it in time) you need to do five (5) hours of extra training before the next attempt. You can take no more than three (3) attempts to pass the test.

You would also need to have five (5) extra hours of training before you book the test if you fail to book it within three months of getting your trainee licence. It is also important to record any extra training you get on a new instructor training declaration form.

Important: The DVSA can take away your trainee driving instructor licence if you fail to send in the declaration form.

Rules for Using ADI Trainee Licence

To meet the conditions of using a trainee driving instructor licence you must:

  • Be a ‘fit and proper’ person.
  • Receive the required amount of supervision (or extra training) while
    the licence is valid.

Displaying a Trainee Licence

Any time you are giving driving lessons to pupils you must display your ADI trainee licence on the nearside edge of the front windscreen of the car.

Operating Regulations

Any trainee’s licence will show the name and address of the training establishment that they are working from.

Hence, you should only give instruction from that particular operation. Trainee licence rules do not allow you to work ‘independently’ (e.g. setting up your own driving school).

Also, you must NOT advertise yourself as a qualified driving instructor. The training establishment you work for must NOT make any advertising that appears to show you as a ‘fully’ qualified instructor.

Changing Driving Schools

You can choose to leave one driving school and join another one. But, you would need to apply for a new trainee licence to change your driving school (the process is free of charge).

The new licence from the DVSA would show the details of the new driving school. Remember to send your old licence back to the DVSA when you get the new one.

Note: You can still give driving lessons to students while you wait for the new licence.

Taking Away Trainee Licences

There are several reasons why the ADI registrar may take away a trainee licence – even before it runs out, such as if:

  • You breach the rules or conditions of using a trainee licence.
  • They issued the licence by mistake (or you gained it by fraudulent methods).
  • You fail all three allowed attempts at the ADI part 3 test.

If You are Not Using Your Trainee Licence

A long period of illness, for example, may mean you do not use your trainee licence. In cases such as these, you should return it to the DVSA.

There is no refund for returning the licence. But, the DVSA would know you did not get full use of it. They would use this as a factor in deciding whether to grant you another licence at some time in the future.

If it Gets Lost or Stolen

You should contact the police without delay away if your licence is lost or stolen. You would get a crime reference number after reporting it as lost or stolen.

Send all the following details to the DVSA (address above) if you need to get a replacement trainee licence:

  • The police crime reference number.
  • A recent passport-style photograph (if they do not have permission to use your photocard driving licence photo) or you do not have a photocard type of licence.
  • The current fee (if you lost it or you do not have a crime reference number).

The DVSA will charge you £3 if you lose your licence or you cannot give them a crime reference number.

When an ADI Trainee Licence Runs Out

A trainee licence only lasts for six (6) months. So, you must stop charging people for driving lessons after it has expired.

How to Get Another Licence

Even though you will be able to apply for another trainee licence when it runs out, you would need to pay the application fee again.

The DVSA are unlikely to issue another licence if:

  • You failed to follow the rules for using your previous trainee licence.
  • You are trying to get more time to pass the approved driving instructor (ADI) part 3 test.

They are more likely to grant another licence if the reason for requesting it is because you stopped using the first one (e.g. because of an illness). You can appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber if do not get it.

You must not receive money or benefits for giving driving lessons if your trainee licence is invalid.

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