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Apply for First Provisional Driving Licence

What is a provisional driving licence in the United Kingdom? You first need the provisional licence before you can have driving lessons. The provisional licence is also required for the theory test, hazard perception, and practical driving test.

Note: Currently, you must be a key worker (e.g. a doctor, nurse, school teacher) to apply for a new provisional licence due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

PROVISIONAL LICENCE: Having the provisional means you can ride a moped, motorbike, or drive a car on public roads.

But, holding a provisional permit does not allow you to drive on motorways in the United Kingdom. There are several conditions for driving around the roads and highways on a provisional licence.

You must have supervision by a driving instructor or by another qualified driver over the age of 21. In this case the qualified driver must have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years.

You can apply for your first provisional driving licence online or by post. You get it from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.

Apply online using your Government Gateway ID. Your ID gets issued during your application if you do not already have one. The same also applies if you need to re-register.

Note: Once you get a provisional driving licence you do not need to reapply to drive a car. This help guide is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Apply for First Provisional Licence Online

Several steps and conditions apply to get your first provisional driving licence online.

  • First you must be at least 15 years and 9 months old.
  • You must be able to read a number plate on a parked car from a distance of 20 meters. This is part of the driving eyesight requirements in the United Kingdom.
  • You may need to provide a valid identity document for driving licence identification purposes. This step is unnecessary if you have a valid UK biometric passport.
  • The system asks for accurate addresses of where you lived for the last 3 years. You should also prepare to give your National Insurance number if you have one.
  • You can pay the £34 fee by Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card.

DVLA will send you a confirmation email after you apply online for a provisional licence. Their email may also ask you to participate in their research. There is no legal requirement for this part.

Note: Your first provisional licence should arrive within 7 days when you apply online. There is a way to track driving licence application progress after applying online.

Provisional Driving Licence Age Conditions

You cannot apply for the first provisional driving licence until you are at least 15 years and 9 months old. These driving licences show you the age limits to start driving different road vehicles. But, once you have a provisional you can:

  1. Ride a moped or drive a light quad bike when you reach 16 years old.
  2. Drive a car when reach 17 years old.

Note: You can drive a car from age 16 if you get, or applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment.

Provisional Driving Licence Application by Post

You can apply for a provisional driving licence by postal service. In this case you should complete a D1 application form which is available from:

  1. A Post Office.
  2. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency form ordering service.

Note: UK Provisional Driving Licence application by post may take up to 3 weeks to process.

These are the documents you must include in a postal application.

  1. Original documents confirming your identity for driving licences.
  2. A colour passport-style photograph.
  3. The fee of £43 by cheque or postal order payable to DVLA (Do Not Send Cash by Mail).

Follow that by posting your completed application with appropriate payment to this address.

  • DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD (if all your documents are from the United Kingdom)
  • DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AF (if any of your documents are from outside the United Kingdom)

Related News: Learner Drivers to Get Car Driving Lessons on Motorways

Applying for Provisional Driving Licence UK Rules