Before you can get you can get in a car and start taking driving lessons you will need to apply for a provisional driving licence. This gives you permission to drive a vehicle on UK roads under the supervision of either a qualified instructor or someone over 21 who has more than 3 years driving experience. It does not allow you to get in a car on your own and drive.
Requirements for qualifying for a provisional licence are:
- You are a resident of Great Britain.
- It is no more than two months before your 17th
- You must be able to read a licence plate from a distance of 20 metres.
- You must also notify the DVLA of any health conditions or other reasons that may affect your ability to drive.
You can apply by going to your local post office and picking up a D1 form (cost of licence £43) and you will need to include documentation and a photo which all needs to be sent to the DVLA. You will have to get someone to sign the back of your photo to confirm that it is you. This should be a UK resident who is known to you personally, is not a relative and does not live in the same property as you. Suitable people include your GP, a local businessman or woman, a teacher or minister of religion.
You can now apply online if you have a current UK passport and the licence comes at the cheaper cost of £34. Processing your application doesn’t take too long and you should expect to have your provisional licence in about two weeks or less. You do not have to provide a photo when applying online.
It’s important to note that you can apply for licence online by going to the official government website. There are other organisations/website who offer to handle your application and usually charge extra. If you are a UK resident, there is no need to go through a third party such as this.
Once you have received your provisional licence you can then have lessons with a qualified instructor or someone with sufficient experience to deal with a novice driver. You will keep your provisional licence up until the time you pass the practical side of your test.
Getting a Full Driving Licence
When you pass your test you can then apply for a full driving licence. If you have a provisional licence, your examiner will automatically send your pass certificate to the DVLA and you should receive your new licence in a few weeks. The only time you will need to apply again is if you have changed your name or, for some reason, still have a paper provisional licence.
You will need to do this no later than two years after you passed your test. You will have to get a D1 application again and send it off to the DVLA along with your pass certificate, having first signed the declaration, providing documents confirming your identity and including a passport photo if you have a paper provisional licence.