Overview of DVLA Requirements for a Provisional Licence

B6TJ8T Learner driver putting L plates on car. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.

The first step to having the freedom of owning and driving a car is to obtain a provisional driving license. In the UK, a provisional driver’s license is required in order to be able to operate any vehicles legally. To learn how to drive, it is necessary for you to pass the theory exam first followed by a physical driving test. Once these have been passed, you will be granted a provisional driver’s license. As long as there is a licensed driver with you in a vehicle, you can then drive legally with your provisional driving license.

When to Apply

The legal age to drive in the United Kingdom is 17 years old. Motorbikes may be operated at a younger age if desired. There are other laws and requirements for operating motorbikes, and the DVLA may be contacted to inquire about those. Once of proper age, the theory exam may be taken to begin the steps to obtain a provisional license. When you pass everything, you can get your license and begin driving.

How to Apply

The first thing you should do when thinking about getting a provisional driver’s license is to visit the government website (UK.gov). Getting a license requires a little bit of paperwork. Once on the website, choose the first provisional driving license option. You will then be directed to the proper area, where you can submit the personal information required. The website will also give you the option to choose a convenient location and date to take the exams.

To submit a license application, a payment of £43 must be made, and upon completion of your application, you will receive an email to confirm the transaction. Getting your license will take approximately one week. Both residents and nonresidents of the UK may also submit applications through the mail if desired or if they have no Internet access. If this is the case, you may request a D1 application form at any post office. Fill out this form and submit along with a colored passport photo and any other original documents necessary.

When applying by mail, you will still have to make the application payment. It is recommended to use either checks or postal orders instead of cash. Mail your payment together with all the documents and requirements you have to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BU. If you are unable to mail to this address or if you are experiencing any circumstances that prevent you to do so, there are other options. You may contact DVLA to request further information.

In order to legally drive in the UK, a provisional driver’s license is just the first step in the process. Driving without a license is illegal and can result to a minimum fine of £1000 and a license penalty of three points. The DVLA is the only legal authority that can provide licenses, and all others should be avoided. Contact the DVLA for any other inquiries regarding the laws, processes, and costs of becoming a legal driver in the UK.