FTD Guide: Applying for your provisional driving licence
Getting a provisional driving licence is a major step towards driving freedom. Once you have a provisional driving licence (and a qualified driver in the car) you can get behind the wheel and start learning to drive.
How do I get my provisional driving licence?
- Feeling nervous about tons of forms and paperwork? Don’t worry, getting a provisional driving licence is fairly straightforward. But, before you start dreaming of summer-long road trips and what colour convertible to buy, follow our simple tips to help you swiftly apply for your provisional driving licence.
Your age and health
- The minimum age for driving is 17 (unless you are on higher rate disability benefit, then the minimum age is 16. You can apply for your provisional driving licence up to 3 months before your 17th birthday. But beware, you still can’t get in the driver’s seat until you are actually 17.
- Are you healthy? Driving any vehicle is a big responsibility, so it is important that you do not pose a threat to yourself or other road users. This is why there are certain standards of medical health that drivers must meet and maintain to keep everyone safe. We’re not talking super-fit, but there are certain medical conditions that could endanger safe driving and must be declared. For example, epilepsy and heart problems. For more information, see Direct Gov – medical rules for all drivers.
- 20/20 vision? As with your general health, your eyesight needs to meet a minimum standard for driving. Part of the driving test involves asking you to read a number plate from 20.5 meters for an ‘old style’ plate or 20 meters for a ‘new’ one. So if you have doubts about how well your old peepers perform, book an eye test before you hit the road, and drive safe.
Dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s
- The paperwork may be dull, but it’s necessary. Plan ahead and you can get it sorted fast. You’ll need to apply for a provisional driving licence using a D1 application form. Application forms are available from the DVLA, Post Office or online, see Direct Gov – Applying for a provisional licence
What will I need to send with my provisional driving licence application?
- You will need to send a fee of £50.
- You will also need to enclose a passport style photograph that meets set guidelines. The photo should be sized 45mm x 45mm, full colour, in front of a plain, evenly-lit background and bearing an accurate resemblance to you. (No celebrity lookey-likey poses please.) Find out more from Direct Gov – the photo for your driving licence.
- You will also need to send original documentation confirming your identity, such as your passport, or birth certificate and N.I. card. Please see Direct Gov – identity documents.
- But if sorting the paperwork’s not your thing, or you prefer not to put your documents in the post, why not use the Post Office’s ‘premium UK driving licence checking service’? For a small fee selected Post Office branches can verify your identity there and then (depending on form of identification used) saving you the cost of Special Delivery , and also check your provisional driving licence application form for errors. Please see Post Office – UK driving licences.
- When you get your provisional driving licence, you can start to learn to drive a car on certain roads (as long as an instructor or other suitable person is with you in the car). Remember to stay calm and listen carefully to your driving instructor. That way you, and everybody else on the roads, stay safe and gets the most out of driving.