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The provisional driving licence

The provisional driving licence

A provisional licence will be required when taking your theory test, hazard perception and practical driving tests. You’ll also need it ready for your first driving lesson.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
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Posted 31 OCTOBER 2019

What is a provisional licence?

A provisional driving licence allows you to learn to drive on all UK roads except motorways, provided you are supervised. You can be supervised by your driving instructor or any other driver, as long as they’re over the age of 21 and have held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years.

When can I get my provisional driving licence?

You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re aged 15 years and 9 months old. To qualify to apply, you’ll also need to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away.

You can use a provisional driving licence from the age of 16 if you want to ride a moped or light quad bike. But you won’t be able to use it to drive a car until you turn 17.

The provisional licence costs £34 online or £43 by post from the DVLA.

What are the restrictions that come with driving under a provisional licence?

As well as the restrictions about being accompanied by an experienced driver and not driving on motorways, you must also ensure you display L plates. These must be fixed to both the front and rear of the car you’re driving.

You are allowed to carry passengers, but the person supervising your driving must be in the front passenger seat.

What happens to my provisional licence when I pass?

You need to convert your provisional licence into a full licence. This is simple, and you can do it immediately after you pass.

If you have a photocard driving licence that was issued after 1 March 2004, you can apply at the test centre electronically. Your provisional licence can be scanned by the examiner, and details are then automatically uploaded to the DVLA.

You’ll be issued with a pass certificate by the examiner and your full licence will follow in the post within three weeks.

You can also apply for the full licence by post. In this case, you’ll need to sign the declaration from the pass certificate and send that along with your provisional licence to the DVLA.  

Lastly, don’t forget that when you’re learning, you will need learner driver car insurance and you may have a few questions about this.  

Take a look at our guide for how many years to declare on your insurance and use our car insurance comparison service to help you find the right cover for your needs.

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