A simples guide

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.

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What is a Provisional Licence?

A provisional driving licence allows you 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 are over the age of 21 and have held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years.


Your 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.

Learner driver L plates
Man handing over car keys

When can I get one?

You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you’re aged 15 years and 9 months old. 

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 via the post from the DVLA.

Driving under a provisional licence

As well as the restrictions about being accompanied and not driving on motorways, you must 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.

Car wheel and sunset

What happens to my provisional licence when I pass?

You need to convert your provisional licence into a full licence. This is quite 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 inside the next four 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 are learning you will need learner driver car insurance. Use our car insurance comparison service to help you find the right cover for your needs.

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