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Provisional Driving License

- Understand how you can get on the road

What is a provisional license?

A provisional license gives you permission to drive on all UK roads. To do so you must be supervised by an instructor or a person over the age of 21 who has held a full driving license for three years or more. Up until recently (4th of June 2018) learner drivers were prohibited from driving on the motorway, new legislation now allows provisional license holders to drive on the motorway with the following regulations:
  • Accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • Driving a car that is fitted with dual controls

Do I need a provisional license?

If you want to learn to drive then the answer is yes, you cannot begin learning or take any of your tests (theory, hazard perceptions or practical test) without a provisional.

You can apply for your provisional licence when you are 15 years and 9 months old, you cannot start learning to drive until you are 17 years old. Exceptions to this rule are for individuals who receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP). You are likely to be aware if this applies to you.

You can apply for your provisional license through the DVLA, it currently costs £34 and states you must be 15 years and 9 months old and must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away to apply.

When applying for your provisional license you must include a photograph of yourself, similarly to a passport photo. The photo must be 45mm x 3mm and must show your whole head with no obstructions for example sunglasses, hats, helmets or face paints. The easiest way to obtain a photograph like this is from a passport photo booth usually found in supermarkets on drugstores. You must also have the photo signed by an appropriate person who you have known for two years or more and is not related or a family member and who does not live at the same address as you. This could be a family friend, your doctor or a parent of a friend. This process is to ensure you are, who you say you are as you will be able to use your provisional licence as a form of identification.

Do I need insurance?

If you will only be learning with an approved, qualified instructor then no you do not need insurance as the instructor`s policy will cover your lessons. However, if you plan to practice or learn in a family member or friend`s car then you must have provisional insurance. In addition if you have already purchased a car you must have provisional insurance on this. It is much cheaper to add a named driver (an older and more experienced driver) onto your insurance.

Obtaining your full driving licence

Once you have successfully passed your driving test, if you have not changed your name since obtaining your provisional, your examiner will send off your pass certificate to the DVLA and you will receive your full driving licence in a few weeks free of charge. You do not have to wait until you have received this to start driving, as long as you have valid insurance you are good to go.

If you have changed your name since obtaining your provisional your will need to apply for your full license using the D1 `application for driving license` form. You can get one of these from the DVLA or some post offices.
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