Understanding how to add higher categories to your driving licence will help you get provisional entitlement (e.g. to drive higher category vehicles).
Passing a higher category driving test means you may also get automatic entitlement to lower categories, such as vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with a trailer.
In simple terms, the process of 'staging' means you will be adding a higher category entitlement to your driver's licence.
But, you need to have the correct licence entitlement before you can apply for provisional entitlement to drive a higher category of vehicle.
So as an example, you would need to hold a full B (car) licence before applying for provisional entitlement to drive a lorry, bus, or a minibus.
Once you get the appropriate provisional entitlement you would then be able to take the relevant test to get the new category added to your driving licence.
The different categories on a driving licence show which entitlements you will already have. But, licences issued before the 1st of January 1997 will most likely already include some of the higher categories.
This is how it works:
There is a way to check which full licence you would need before you can apply to get a provisional entitlement in a higher category.
Note: *Holding a full B (car) licence means you get provisional entitlement to these categories as an automatic process. You can view your driving licence information online to check which vehicles it allows you to drive.
In simple terms, the process of 'upgrading' means you would be getting a lower category added 'automatically' to a licence after passing the relevant driving test.
So, in most cases, passing a driving test for a larger vehicle category would mean you have the lower categories upgraded as an automatic procedure.
Here's a perfect example:
Let's assume your licence entitlements are for vehicle categories B and C1. Suppose you go ahead and pass the C1+E test.
In this scenario, you would get entitlement to drive C1+E vehicles. But, through the rules of upgrading, you would also get an automatic upgrade to drive B+E category vehicles as well.
And what about trailers?
In fact, the rules for trailer entitlements do not apply in the same way. So, getting the trailer entitlement for a larger vehicle does automatically grant you the trailer entitlement for smaller vehicles that you would get through the usual upgrading process.
A general guide to trailer entitlements:
The information in this list shows the full category held, and what the automatic upgrade would be after passing a new test with a higher vehicle category.
You can contact the DVLA Drivers Customer Services in writing to get further information on how staging or upgrading works on driving licences in the United Kingdom.
Drivers Customer Services
What if your driver's licence is only for automatic cars? If this is the case, you would be able to upgrade an automatic car driving licence by passing the driving test in a manual car.
You can book a driving test online after passing the theory test (if required). Keep in mind that the driving test booking service operates limited hours each day.
Drivers Licence Staging and Upgrading in United Kingdom