Applying for a Provisional Licence

Before you can learn to drive a car, you must apply for a provisional driving licence. You must be:

  • at least 16 years 10 months of age (although you will not be permitted to start driving until your 17th birthday),
  • be a resident of Great Britain, and
  • meet the minimum eyesight requirements

To apply for a licence, you will need to send in a D1 application form, along with confirmation of your identity and a colour passport-style photograph. There is a £38 fee for this service.

Identification

If you have a digital UK passport, then the DVLA will be able to confirm your identify without you having to send in your passport as proof. To see if you have a digital passport, check the page with your photograph; if your signature also appears on this page, then you have a digital passport. You will be required to provide the nine-digit passport number in the 'confirming your identity' section of the application form D1. Do not send your passport in with the application form, DVLA with confirm your identity directly with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

However, if you do not have a digital passport, there are a number of other ways to confirm your identity. Unlike the digital passport, you will need to send the original documentation to the DVLA with your application form.

  • full valid current passport
  • UK certificate of naturalisation
  • identity card issued by a member state of the European Community/European Economic Area (EC/EEC)
  • travel documents issued by the Home Office
  • UK birth or adoption certificate
  • UK certificate of registry of birth (your name must be present on the certificate)

Please bear in mind however that a birth certificate is not absolute proof of identity and you may be required by the DVLA to provide other evidence to confirm your identity.

If you have reached State Retirement Pension age, you can also confirm your identity using one of the following original documents:

  • BR2102, BR2103 or BR2199 letter confirming your eligibility for the state retirement pension
  • recent (within three months) bank or building society statement showing your National Insurance number and pension payment

If your name has changed and it does not match your documentation, you must also provide evidence that shows a clear link between the name on your identity document and your current name; for example, an original deed-poll declaration, marriage certificate, decree nisi or decree absolute.

Photographs

When applying for your driving licence, you must also send in a photograph. This must be:

  • colour passport style and size (size of image 45mm x 35mm)
  • taken against a plain, and evenly lit background
  • taken recently and be a true likeness. It should show your full face, with no hat, helmet or sunglasses; however, you may wear everyday glasses.

If you have provided confirmation of your identity by using any other documentation other than a full valid current UK, EC, EEA passport or a Home Office issued travel document, then this photograph must be certified and signed on the reverse by the person who has completed section seven of your D1 form. This must be some one who lives in the UK, has known you for at least 2 years and is not a relative. They must also be one of the following:

  • a professionally qualified person, for example, a teacher, lawyer or engineer
  • a minister of religion
  • a magistrate
  • a police officer
  • a local councillor, an MP, AM, MEP or MSP
  • a civil servant
  • a bank or building society officer
  • a librarian
  • a local business person or shopkeeper

Application Form

You can apply for your driving licence in three ways: online, in person or by post.

1. Online

If you are applying for your first provisional licence, you can apply online. However, you will need a Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card to pay the £38 fee. The DVLA will capture your photograph and signature from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), and should send your driving licence within 10 working days.

However, if you do not have a UK digital passport or it has not been possible to verify your identity or retrieve your details from IPS, you can still complete the application online by printing off the application and returning it to DVLA along with any relevant documentation. In this case, DVLA will aim to send you a new photocard licence within 15 working days.

2. In Person

To apply for a provisional licence or a replacement licence, you can fill in a D1 application form, which you can pick up at a Post Office or order online. You may then either send the form, the fee and the relevant documents to DVLA (see By Post, below), or you can use the premium checking services available at selected Post Office branches or DVLA Local Offices. For a small fee (£4), staff at these offices will check your application while you wait, return your ID to you and then send the application to DVLA. You may only use this service if you are using a UK passport or proof of State Retirement Pension as your identity document.

3. By Post

If you do not use the premium checking service, you must send the D1 form, fee and all the original documentation to DVLA Swansea. If you would like them to return your documents by secure mail service, you should include a prepaid self addressed special delivery envelope. It's a good idea to keep a note of the serial number for your own reference.

DVLA aims to deliver your driving licence to you within 3 weeks of receiving your application; however, it could take longer if they have to check on your health or personal details.