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The UK provisional driving licence
If you want to legally drive a car in the UK you need a full driving licence which can be obtained by either exchanging your foreign licence if it is on the DVLA list of acceptable countries or learning to drive on a provisional licence if you don’t have one or have no previous driving experience.
You can apply for a provisional licence 2 months before your 17th birthday or 16th if you are on higher rate of disability benefit. You are not allowed to drive on the public roads until your provisional licence arrives (unless you have an international driving permit) and you reach your 17th birthday (if under 17).
To apply for a provisional licence, you need a D1 application form which is available from most UK post offices, and the current application fee (Nov 2008) is 50. A few of the following documents will be required to complete your licence application form.
A current full passport
An identity card issued by a member state of the European Union (EU) with the exception of Sweden.
Appropriate travel documents issued by the Home Office
A UK certificate of naturalisation
If using your birth certificate, you will need one of the following in addition:
NI card or letter from Department for Work and Pensions containing your NI number
photocopy of front page of a benefits book or an original benefits claim letter
P45, P60 or pay slip
marriage certificate or divorce papers (decree nisi or absolute)
College or University union card or school record
Certified passport sized photograph.
The D1 application form will let you know how many of the above you need to enclose when applying for your provisional licence.
Digital UK passports owners can apply for their provisional licence online at the DVLA Website.
Once you’ve received your provisional licence, you can start learning to drive either with a professional instructor, a family member or a friend.
Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions attached to your provisional licence, as you need to abide by the law, and don’t get penalty points on your licence as these will drive up insurance premiums for you, and any points on your provisional licence will transfered to your full driving licence once you pass the driving test.
On your first driving lesson, your driving instructor will check both parts of your provisional licence (photocard and counterpart), so make sure you take good care of these documents. You also will need to produce both parts of your licence when you take your theory and practical tests.
Conditions of Provisional Licence
It is important as a provisional driving license holder that you are fully aware of the law governing how you learn to drive in the UK, and the terms of your license.
As a provisional license holder, you can not drive a car unsupervised. The terms of your license state that you must be accompanied by a full license holder who is over 21 and has held their license for 3 years or more.
If you are caught driving unsupervised as a provisional licence holder, you could be fined, and have penalty points added on your license.
A foreign license holder with an international driving permit can drive unsupervised provided your car is not displaying ‘L’ plates and are driving within the first 12 months of their first arrival in the UK
Shola Ogunlokun is an approved UK driving instructor, he runs a
blog where he provides free advice, tips and videos to
proisional driving licence
holders on passing the UK driving test.
The UK provisional driving licence