Before you can start learning to drive or take any of the three driving tests you need to apply for a provisional drivers licence. There are a few important points to take into consideration and multiple methods of applying for your licence, this useful guide highlights all the steps you need to take to apply for your provisional licence.
What is a Provisional Drivers Licence?
The provisional drivers licence gives you the permission to drive on the UK roads (excluding motorways) whilst under the supervision of your driving instructor or another driver over the age of 21 who has held a full drivers licence for a minimum of three years.
The licence will be required when taking your theory, hazard perception and practical driving test and will also be needed on your first driving lesson.
In order to apply for your provisional licence you must be a resident of Great Britain and at least 16 years and 10 months of age (meaning you can apply for your licence two months before your 17th birthday). You must also have sufficient eyesight to be able to read a standard number plate from 20.5 metres (67ft).
Before you start your application you will need the following items:
- Means of identification.
Ideally this is in the form of a UK digital passport, meaning you only need to supply the nine digit code for the DVLA to confirm your identity. Otherwise there are many other forms of documentation that you could supply, these however will need sending along with your licence application: A non-digital Passport, EU Identity Card or UK certificate of naturalization. You may also send your birth certificate, although further proof of identity must be supplied alongside it, such as your National Insurance Card, P45, P60 or Pay Slip.
- Passport sized photograph.
This must be a full colour, 45mm x 35mm photograph showing the full head. The criteria continue with a plain, evenly lit background with no hats, helmets or sunglasses obscuring the face. You can quickly generate a suitable photograph by using the photographic booths found in shopping and leisure areas. Remember you must also have your photograph signed by someone who has known you for at least two years (non-relative).
- A Black Pen.
Unless you choose to fill out your application online, you must write your details on the application in full capitals with black ink.
The provisional licence has a current cost of £50, payable by cheque or postal order.
Once you have collected the necessary items required for your submission, you must now decide which of the three application methods you will use. These are:
Online – Complete the secure online form at Direct.Gov.Uk
In Person or By Post – Both of these methods require the D1 application form, which is available from the DVLA or your local Post Office.
Read the information supplied with each of the application methods and accurately complete the relevant sections. Once finished, send your application to the DVLA along with the necessary documentation.
Once your licence is received by the DVLA it usually takes approximately three weeks for it to be created and delivered, therefore it could be advised to send off your application early if you wish to start learning to drive straight after your 17th birthday.
You now are the holder of a provisional drivers licence, remember to take your licence with you when setting out on your first driving lesson or when taking any of the driving tests. Once you have passed your driving test, your licence will be exchanged for a full drivers licence free of charge.
For more information on driver licensing, see the Motoring section of the Government’s Direct.Gov.Uk website or speak to the DVLA directly on 0870 240 0009