In United Kingdom, driving license is official document to operate motor vehicles on highways and other public roads. Driving licenses are issued by Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in England, Scotland and Wales. Driving license is required in England, Scotland and Wales for any person driving vehicle on road. Here we will explain process of applying for driving license in UK.
Getting UK Driving License at Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA)
Exchanging your driver’s license in UK can be quite confusing. Before driving any vehicle in United Kingdom (England, Wales and Scotland), you should check that you meet all legal requirements which apply to driver and to vehicles. There are various regulations which depend on your country of origin. In this article, we offer brief introduction to getting Great Britain driver’s license.
Driver’s license is required for driving vehicles on any UK public road. To drive car or other vehicle legally in UK, driver must be minimum age of 17 years and have valid driving license. You can start driving as soon as you pass your driving test. In rest of UK that is, England, Scotland and Wales http://www.dvla-driving-license.co.uk , if you want to take Great Britain driving test, please see gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/learn-to-drive-a-car for more information about learning to drive.
Types of Driving Licenses in UK
Minimum age for driving car is 17 years. For mopeds it is 16 and for motorcycles, depending on power of bike, it may be from 17 to 21 years.
There are two types of license in UK
- Provisional Driving license
- Full driving license
Provisional licenses are for drivers who:
- Have never had full license
- Are not able to show they are entitled to full driving license
How to get driving license in UK?
Apply for provisional license – you have to be 15 years and 9 months old.
- Pass your theory test – this involves multiple choice questions based on Highway Code and hazard perception test.
- Pass your practical driving test – made up of vehicle safety questions and driving ability test with an independent driving section.
- Apply for your full UK driving license – fill out forms and start driving
How to apply for your first UK driving license online?
Today, it’s possible to interact with government services online. Applying for your first driving license is much more efficiently these days on web, compared to offline. This guide will talk you through all steps to apply for driving license online, documents you need, and how to update your license details once you have completed your application
What you will need for your application?
- An identity document such as valid UK passport
- Addresses where you have lived over last 3 years
- Debit card to pay for your online application
- Your national insurance number
Applying for your first driving license in UK
- Visit GOV.UK DVLA section http://www.gov.uk
- You will see list of vehicle and driver options. Click on Driving Licenses.
- Then click on Apply for your first driving license. You will see following page. https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-license
- You will automatically be redirected to DVLA homepage. To start your application, click on Register
- Here, form is presented and you need to fill out few details.
- Make sure you type in all relevant information in boxes and click on drop down menus to complete application. When you are happy and you have checked everything, click on Next.
- To search for your address, type in your house name, number and postcode. DVLA will also ask you how long you have lived at your current address.
- Once you have cleared this section you need to fill in security details to confirm your identity.
- When you have finished, click on Next and then you will be taken to National Insurance section of your application.
- Now you need to add your passport number. You find at back of your passport (on same page as your picture).
- last step to complete this part of application is photo and signature section.
- Driving & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) now only issue photo card licenses. You can either send it to DVLA through postal application or you can choose to allow DVLA to get back your passport photo and signature from Majesty’s Passport Office.
- Your application will require you to choose a password. This should be 8-12 characters and should contain letters and numbers.
- To apply for new driving license, you need to live in UK. Confirm your UK residency status by selecting Yes or No to questions presented.
- Next, you will be asked few questions about your ability to drive. This includes questions about your eyesight, as well as fitness to drive.
- At end of section you need to complete medical declaration. Add your personal email address to have confirmation of your application sent to your inbox.
- Application will cost £34 and you need to have your credit or debit card to hand to pay for this. Once you have submitted this payment you need to finalize and confirm your application. You should get an email shortly afterwards from DVLA, confirming this.
- You need to go back into and review your application you can go back to homepage and clicking Log on.
When can you apply for your Provisional Driving license in UK?
Getting your Provisional driving license is first step to getting on road. Before you get behind-the-wheel, whether that is for professional driving lesson or practicing relative’s car, you need to get provisional driving license. You can apply for it from age of 15 years and 9 months and you can also start to learn to drive moped at age of 16 year.
You will have to wait to learn how to drive cars and motorcycles until you are age of 17. If you are receiving or you have made an application to received mobility part of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), then you can learn to drive card from age of 16 years. For more information see official site https://www.gov.uk/
Provisional driving license requirements
There are some requirements you have to meet in order to apply for provisional license from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
- You must be resident of Great Britain
- You must be at least 15 years and 9 months of age at time of applying for your provisional license
- You must be able to read standard license plate from distance of 20 meters (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary)
How to apply for first provisional driving license in UK?
To get your first provisional driving card online for car, motorcycle or moped. You can apply online for your provisional driving license using Government Gateway ID. Before you can apply for your first British provisional driving license you must be
- Be resident of Great Britain
- Meet minimum age requirement
- Meet minimum eyesight requirement
- Pay £34.00 by MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card (or £43.00 if applying by post)
- Have valid UK passport or other form of identity
- Have your National Insurance number if you known it
- Be able to provide addresses you have lived for last 3 years
How much does it cost to get driving license in UK?
Driving license expenses can be divided into three groups. Before you start having lessons, you need provisional license, which costs £45 from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. When you pass your test, you will upgrade free of charge to full license.
These are fees you will have to pay to DVLA. You are not legally permitted to start learning to drive without provisional license. Your first payment of £34.00 for online or £43.00 for post will go to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for your provisional license.
How much does theory test cost?
Next fee to pay will be for your theory test. Cost of theory test is £25.00 for cars. If you fail to pass your theory test, the fee is not refundable. You will have to pay again each time you re-sit test. https://www.gov.uk/driving-test-cost
What is cost of driving test in UK?
You have to pay £62.00 to book practical driving test and £75 for weekend or bank holiday. It works same way as with your theory test. If you fail, you have to pay again. There is no way to cut on your statutory fees, but with best preparation possible, you can aim to keep to minimum.
There is fee for getting driving license, and this depends on type of license you are applying for. In some cases you can apply for your driving license online. Find out more information about applying for your license applying for your license https://www.gov.uk/driving-license-fees
How much does provisional license cost in UK?
However, learning to drive is now slightly more affordable than it used to be. Provisional license cost now varies from £34 for online applications to £43 for postal applications. Cost of provisional license was previously flat rate of £50 for all applications. Learner drivers can apply for a provisional license three months before their 16th birthday, but remember you can’t get behind the wheel until you’re 17.
How much do driving lessons cost?
According to Driving Standards Agency, average learner driver needs 47 lessons and 22 hours of private practice before they pass their test. There is no minimum or maximum cost for learning to drive, as most instructors set their own prices. However, average cost of driving lesson in UK is £24. You can contact British School of Motoring (BSM) and RED driving school, two of largest providers in UK, for their average prices.
For 10-hour package of tuition, RED driving school charges £276, while BSM gave us quote of £230 for same time. According to consumer website average motorist will spend £2582 on learning to drive. Of that, £960 will be spent on lessons, while other costs include getting provisional driving license, fees for taking practical and theory tests and revision materials.
Where you have to take driving lessons?
You can take driving lessons anywhere in UK, and there are number of instructors operating in your town. Government has set up website allowing you to find approved driving instructors, which you can access, https://www.gov.uk/find-driving-schools-and-lessons
How many driving lessons will you need to pass?
This will vary from person to person. There is no minimum number of lessons, or minimum number of hours you need to spend behind the wheel in order to pass your driving test. How many lessons you require will depend on how quickly you learn the skills needed to pass driving test. Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says that on average, you are likely to need 47 hours of instruction before passing your test, backed by up to 22 hours of private practice.
How long is UK provisional license valid?
Provisional driving license itself lasts for 10 years but you have 2 years from date you pass your written theory test to take your practical test. So once you do your theory test you have 2 years to complete your practical otherwise you have to redo theory test. When you can drive with a provisional license
There are different rules depending on your age and type of vehicle. Check what vehicles you can drive and when before you start to learn.
Applying for your Provisional Driving License by post
You can apply for your provisional license by post and this method may take up to 3 weeks. To do this you need to complete D1 application form, which can be found at your local Post Office or by using DVLA’s online form ordering service.
- As well as your D1 form, you will need to send following documents
- Original documentation that confirms your identity
- Colour passport-style photo
- Pay £50 fee in either cheque or postal order form, made payable to DVLA. Please note DVLA cannot accept cash.
You need to send your completed form and relevant documents to below address
Applying for provisional license with non UK identity documents
If you are sending non-UK identity documents, you need to send your application to
What is restriction for provisional license in UK?
If you have provisional license to drive car, you need to be aware of following restriction. There are certain restrictions for provisional license both for car and motorcycle drivers:
- You must be go by front-seat passenger seat who is over 21 and has had full driving license for at least three years
- You must not drive motorbike that is above 14.6bhp.
- In England, Wales and Scotland, you must not drive motorbike on public road unless they are taking compulsory basic training course
- You must not carry passenger on motorbike
- You must display ‘L’ plates on front and back of your vehicle (or ‘D’ plate in Wales).
- Full license is issued to driver that has passed driving test in UK, within two years.
How to get Driving License in Great Britain?
In order to qualify for driving license for vehicle or motorbike, you must pass both theory and hazard perception test followed by supervised driving test. Enrolment at driving school is not mandatory, although learner drivers must be go by driver aged at least 21, and with minimum of three years’ driving experience.
Learner plates ‘L’ plates (‘D’ plates in Wales) must be fixed to front and back of car. Driving instructors must be registered and approved by Driving Standards Agency before they can charge fee for lessons.
What are UK driving rules?
Speed limits range within 20-40mph (50-65km/h) in built-up areas and maximum of 70mph (110km/h) on motorways or dual carriageways. Look out for speed signs on other roads. It is compulsory for all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts in Britain.
Do not drink and drive in UK as penalties are severe. You can see UK Highway Code https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code to check legal limit. This Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. It is illegal to use mobile phone while driving unless it is operated hands-free or even then it is advisable you put your phone away while you drive.
How to get your full UK driving license?
You can get your full driving license as soon as you have passed your practical driving test. However, if you have Photocard provisional driving license, then your examiner will send your driving test pass certificate to DVLA. Thus you will receive your full UK driving license within 3 weeks
Applying Full driver license by Post
- If you have paper provisional driving license or you have changed your name, then you must get below documents
- You must fill D1 application for driving license, it is available from DVLA form ordering service or Post Offices
- Fill in declaration on your driving test pass certificate
- Give original documents confirming your identity
- Provide passport photograph (only if you have paper provisional license)
- Send your paper provisional license and documents to DVLA
Renewing Your Driving License
You need to renew your photo card driving license every 10 years. You can do this online, if your valid passport has been issued in last 5 years, or by completing renewal form (D798) that you get in post and sending finished form to below address. There are 3 different ways you can renew your driving license if it is due to expire. Driving licenses expire every 10 years and you will receive reminder before it runs out
You can also do your renewal at certain Post Offices, although there is an extra charge of £4.50 for this.
Renewing Your License through Post Office
You will receive renewal form also known as D798 that will list closest Post Offices so that you can go to renew your license. You can’t make renewal application at Post Office if your name has changed. You will need to take these with you when you want to submit your form. You can do this at https://www.gov.uk/renew-driving-license
- D798 renewal form, fully completed
- Your photo card license and paper counterpart if you have got them
- Pay £20 fee cheque or postal order that is payable to DVLA
- There is also further £4.50 charge from Post Office for processing your application. You should receive your new driving license within 3 weeks time, although it may take longer if there are medical or personal details to check over.
- To make postal application, you will need to complete D798 form and send
- Your completed D798 form
- New passport style photo that has been taken within last month- please don’t sign back
- Your current photocard and paper counterpart sections of your license
- Cheque or postal order of value of £20 that is payable to DVLA.
Renewing Photo on Photocard License
Photo can be renewed by you at any time. And photo on photocard license has an expiry date. You must renew your photo before it expires. Date of expiry is shown on front of driving license. You can learn more about renewing photo on your license and apply online via DVLA’s website. https://www.gov.uk/renew-photo-driving-license
Renewing driving license by online
If you want to renew your driving license online, you need to have valid British passport. There are also other exclusions that apply and you won’t be able to renew your license online if
- You have changed your name- you need to apply by post
- You are trying to renew your 5 year bus or lorry license
- DVLA is unable to use photo and signature from your passport for your new driving license
- Have been issued valid UK passport in last 5 years
In order to go through with an online application for renewing your driving license, you need to following
- Have valid British passport
- Be considered resident of Great Britain
- Pay fee of £20 by debit or credit card
- Be able to provide addresses of where you have lived for last 3 years
- Have your current driving license including paper counterpart
- Have your national insurance number
- Not have any disqualifications from driving for any reason
If you apply to renewing your driving license online, your new license should arrive within week. When you receive your new license, you must send your old version, along with paper counterpart back to DVLA. Your new license is valid from date that your application gets approved on, not date your current license expires.
Changing Information on your Driving License
DVLA must be informed immediately for any changes to name or address or both. These changes can be made to your driving license online or by post. This service is free unless you want to update photograph on license.
When changing information on your driving license, there are different forms and various addresses that need to be considered, depending on information you want to change. Below you find information relating to changing your address, name and photo
How to update address on your driving license in UK?
Changing your address on your driving license can be done online. You can change address on either your full driving license or your provisional driving license. There is no charge for changing your address on your driving license with DVLA. You can do it online or by postal application.
Postal application may take up to 3 weeks. Telling DVLA your details have changed will ensure your record is up to date and all future driving license reminders are sent to your correct address.
- Changing your address by online
- Have both part of your driving license
- Be considered resident of Great Britain
- Be able to give address that you have resided in for last 3 years
- Have valid UK passport or another form of identity
- Have you driving license number, national insurance number and passport number if you know it
- Not have been disqualified from driving for any reason
If you apply online you should get your license within week. If you are moving abroad, you cannot update your British driving license with your foreign address, you will need to contact relevant driving license authority in country you are moving to.
Address change on your driving license by Post
You can also change your address on your driving license by post. This process is different depending on what driving license you have such as Photocard or paper driving license.
Photocard Driving License
You need to send completed changes section on your paper counterpart, including your signature and date. Then you need to send your photocard driving license and letter to DVLA. If you do not have D741 form, you can order license application form https://www.gov.uk/dvlaforms to update your address.
Paper Driving License
If you are changing your address on your paper driving license by post, you will need to send
- Completed D1 form
- Your driving license
- Original document that can confirm your identity
- Passport sized photograph
You will need to send these to
Lost, Stolen, Damaged or Destroyed License
If any part of your license has been lost or stolen then you need to replace your driving license, ensuring you notify DVLA of any changes if any apply. If you’re driving license is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you can apply for replacement by online. If you license has been stolen, you will need to report it to police.
You can sort replacement in 3 different ways such as online, by phone or by post. Also you can call 0844 453 0118 to replace. However, to make your application online, you need to apply by using Government Gateway
Receiving your New License
Expect your new license within one week if you apply online. If DVLA need to check any of details of your application then it will take longer. If you find that your driving license is stolen, you will need to contact police. By completing application online, you should find that your new photocard and paper counterpart will arrive within week.
Steps to replace your license by online
When trying to replace your license, you will need to make sure that below. Use DVLA’s online replacement driving license service. https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-to-replace-a-driving-license
- You are considered resident of Great Britain
- Not have any driving disqualifications for whatever reason
- Be able to pay £20, using MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card
- Hold valid UK passport or another form of identity
- Be able to give addresses of where you have resided for last 3 years
Also, you should give your driving license number and National Insurance number, if you know them. If your photocard license is due to expire in next 2 years and you have been issued UK passport in last 5 years, DVLA will use an electronic copy of your passport photo for your license photo.
If there is no suitable photo available, DVLA will inform you and you will need to print form to send to them with new photograph. If you find your old driving license at later date, you must return your old license to DVLA with letter to explain what has happened after applying for or receiving replacement.
How to exchange your driver’s license for British driving license?
If you are driving in Britain, make sure you’re on road legally with our guide for non-GB license holders. To exchange your license, you must meet following conditions.
- If you hold driving license issued outside Great Britain that is England, Scotland and Wales then you can use tool on Government website https://www.gov.uk/ driving-non-GB-license to check whether you can use it to drive in UK. You may be allowed to do so for limited period of time only. You must aware of correct procedures, which may be very different from your home country.
- If you are just visiting UK you should be fine to use your foreign driving license to drive a car in the UK. On the other hand, if you came here and you are a resident (have permanent address, stay at least 185 days a year in the UK and intend to stay for at least 2 more years), you might want to exchange your license to the UK one.
- You must change your license if you are from EC/EEA member state aged 70 or for three years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period
- You must change your license if you are from any other country after 12 months of staying in the UK
How to exchange your foreign driving license to UK one
If you are from European Community or European Economic Area (EC/EEA) country member state or Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man must exchange your driving license to UK by following. Additionally, to get more information regarding vehicle tax and SORN please visit following link http://www.direct.gov.uk/taxdisc
- Complete application form D1, available in Post Office® branches
- Enclose original identity documentation confirming your identity
- Enclose one passport sized colour photograph
- Enclose fee of £50.00, cheque or postal orders made payable to ‘DVLA, Swansea’
- Enclose your current driving license (this will be returned to issuing licensing authority)
- Send your completed application to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BT
- Your new driving license will normally be issued within 15 working days from day DVLA receives your application
How to renew your License When you are over Age Of 70
There is no charge to renew your driving license if you are over age of 70 years. And criteria for renewing your license online if you are over age of 70, or will be soon. Additional information regarding driver enquiries is provided on following page https://www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla/y/driving-licences-and-applications
- Your British driving license has expired or will do so in the next 90 days
- You must be resident of Great Britain
- You fulfill minimum requirement for eyesight
- You have not been prevented from driving for whatever reason
If you have been issued with valid UK passport in last 5 years, you can also change your photo at same time. And you apply online, you should get your license in next week or so. At the same time, DVLA has your license, you can continue to drive until you receive your new license, as long as you have sent valid application and follow any conditions attached to your license.
However, other way to renew your license when you are over age of 70 is to apply by post. You must use D46P application form for this, which will be sent to you by DVLA 90 days before your 70th birthday. If you have not received D46P form, use D1 application form, which can be found at Post Office or online. Check driving medical conditions https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/disability-health-condition
Find Contact information of DVLA and hours
DVLA official contact number is 0300 790 6801 to apply for your first provisional driving license. Alternatively if you are an existing license you should call this number to report your document as lost or stolen in order to get replacement sent out to you as quickly as possible. Additionally if you have any enquiries about your license including what penalty points will apply for certain offences such as speeding.
Vehicle enquiries postal address
Vehicle Customer Services,
Write to DVLA about your driving license?
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are government organization that operates in United Kingdom. DVLA is responsible for maintaining database of drivers and vehicles across country. DVLA issues driving licenses also collect road tax and providing personalized registration plates to UK drivers.
Alternatively you can send your written enquiries to them via postal addresses below according to which department is most relevant for your queries. You can phone this number from 8am-7pm Monday-Friday and 8am-2pm Saturday. See more details https://www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla/y/driving-licences-and-applications .
- Vehicle Registration and Tax – 0300 790 6802
- Driving License Enquiries – 0870 042 1101 or 0300 790 6801
- DVLA medical enquiries – 0300 790 6806 or 08439033770
- you can call on DVLA license renewal phone number is 0300 123 0815.
Drivers’ Customer Services (DCS)
DVLA, Swansea, SA6 7JL