When and how do you apply for your provisional licence?

1. When can you apply?

You can apply 3 months before your 17th birthday. However, you can only start taking lessons from your 17th birthday unless you are in receipt of the enhanced rate of the personal independence payment (PIP). If so, you can learn to drive from the age of 16.

You will also need your provisional licence before you can book your theory, hazard perception or practical driving test.

2. Where do you apply?


• If you have a UK passport, which is no more than 5 years old you can apply online here . All you need is your passport number. They will use the photo on your passport for the photo on your new licence. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply; or

• You can obtain a form known as the D1 at the post office from one of their car tax issuing branches . In Edinburgh, you can pick one up at Waverley Mall, Elm Row, Frederick Street, St Mary’s Street, Tollcross, Stockbridge, Newington and a few others. The post office has some helpful guidance on their site . You will need to send with your application to the DVLA (DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD) with a passport sized photograph and appropriate identification. If you don’t have a UK passport you can send in your original biometric residence permit, UK certificate of naturalisation, or EU or EAA national identity card. Full details can be found the governments website


Provisional Driving Licence

Provisional Driving Licence

3. Eyesight and health

Before applying you need to check that you are able to read a number plate from 20m away (with glasses/contact lenses if required).

You must also tell the DVLA if you have certain medical conditions.

4. How long does it take?

Online – about 1 week

Paper – between 2 and 3 weeks.

5. How much does it cost?

• Online £34
• Post £43

6. Where can I drive when I have my licence?

Provided you are with your driving instructor (or another driver who has held a full driving licence for over 3 years and over 21) you can drive on any road in the UK bar private roads and motorways.

7. What happens when you pass?

Once you pass your practical test your licenced will be upgraded to a full licence for no further cost.

What do you need to bring to your first Driving Lesson?

What do you need to bring to your first driving lesson?

The answer is not very much….

1. Provisional licence – the most important thing is to remember to bring your provisional licence (if you haven’t got one see our blog on how to apply for your Provisional Driving Licence). You instructor must see this before he/she is allowed to give you any lessons.

2. Glasses/contact lenses – if you need them, please remember to bring them. Your instructor will ask you to read a number plate from:-

• 20 metres for cars with the new-style number plates (2 letters followed by 2 Numbers KP34 CCA; or
• 20.5 metres for the old style number plates.

If you are unable to read the number plate unfortunately, your instructor wont be able to take you out unless you are able to collect your glasses before the lesson starts. If you were unable to read a number plate on the day of the test, the examiner wouldn’t be able to continue any further with the Driving Test.

3. Shoes – it may sound silly but please wear comfortable shoes (trainers or flat shoes are best)