In the UK, a driving licence is required to operate a car or truck on public roads. To obtain a driving licence in the UK, you must pass several tests to demonstrate your knowledge of the road rules and your ability to drive safely. There are different driving licence categories for different types of vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, and buses. Typically, getting a driving licence entails applying for a provisional licence, passing a written test about the rules, and then taking a practical driving test with an examiner.
|Percentage of adults aged 17+ with a full driving licence||74%||GOV.UK, 2022|
|Breakdown by Gender|
|Breakdown by Age Group|
|Number of practical driving tests taken in 2022||1,492,000||GOV.UK, 2023|
|Number of practical driving tests passed in 2022||899,000||GOV.UK, 2023|
|Practical driving test pass rate in 2022||60%||GOV.UK, 2023|
How to get a Driving Licence in the UK?
To get a driving licence in the UK, you must follow these steps:
- Apply for a provisional driving licence. This can be done online or by mail. To apply, you must be at least fifteen years old and nine months old.
- Pass your theory test. This test checks your knowledge of the road rules and traffic signs. You may schedule your theory exam over the phone or online.
- Take driving lessons. This is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended. A driving instructor can teach you the skills to pass your practical driving test.
- Pass your practical driving test. This test assesses your driving skills in a real-world setting. You can book your practical driving test online or by phone.
You will be issued a full driving licence once you have passed your theory and practical driving tests.
Additional Tips for getting a driving licence in the UK
- Practice regularly. The more you practice driving, the better prepared you will be for your driving test.
- Get feedback from a qualified instructor. A driving instructor can help you identify and correct any bad habits you may have developed.
- Be patient. Learning to drive takes time and practice. Keep going even if you fail to pass your tests the first time.
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Provisional Driving Licence in the UK
A provisional driving licence in the UK is a temporary licence that allows you to learn to drive a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle. You must be at least 15 years and nine months old to apply for a provisional driving licence.
You can visit a Post Office branch online to apply for a provisional driving licence. You must provide your identity documents, such as a passport or driving licence from another country and a recent passport-style photo. You will also need to pay a fee of £34.
Once you have your provisional driving licence, you can start learning to drive with a driving instructor, a family member, or a friend over 21 who has held a full driving licence for at least three years. It would be best to display L plates on the front and back of the vehicle when driving.
When you are ready to take your driving test, you must pass a theory test first. The theory test is a computer-based test that covers topics such as the rules of the road, road signs, and hazard perception.
You may schedule your driving test once you have passed the theoretical exam. The driving test is a practical test that assesses your driving skills and knowledge. You will be tested on your ability to control the vehicle, manoeuvre safely, and deal with different road conditions.
You will have a full driving licence if you pass your driving test.
Some Important Things
- You must carry your provisional driving licence with you at all times when you are driving.
- It would be best if you were supervised by a qualified driver while driving on a provisional licence.
- You can drive on motorways if an approved driving instructor accompanies you.
- You are not allowed to drive a car with more than eight passengers, including yourself.
If you fail your driving test within ten years, you must apply for a new provisional license. A provisional driving license stays valid for ten years.
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Renewing a Driving Licence in the UK
When to Renew
You need to renew your driving licence in the UK every ten years unless you are over 70 years old, in which case you need to renew it every three years. You will receive a reminder letter from the DVLA two months before your licence expires.
How to Renew
To renew online, you must create an account on the DVLA website. You will then need to provide your details, such as your name, address, and date of birth. You will also need to provide your driving licence number and expiry date.
To renew by post, you must complete a D1 application form. You can get this form from a Post Office branch or the DVLA website. You must send the completed form and a cheque or postal order for the application fee to the DVLA.
Here are some important things to consider when renewing your driving licence:
- You must renew your driving licence before it expires. You will be illegally driving if you do not renew your licence before it expires.
- You can apply to renew your driving licence up to three months before it expires.
- The cost of renewing a driving licence is £17.
- You must provide a recent passport-style photo when you renew your driving licence.
- You must declare any medical conditions when you renew your driving licence.
If you are over 70, you must pass a medical test every three years when you renew your driving licence. The medical test is designed to assess your fitness to drive.
If you have a medical condition, you may need to provide additional information to the DVLA when you renew your driving licence. For example, if you have diabetes, you may need to provide a letter from your doctor confirming that your condition is under control.
If you need clarification on renewing your driving licence, contact the DVLA for more information.
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Can I get a temporary driving licence with a handicap or medical condition?
Yes, but you must declare your condition on an application form and provide additional information or documentation. The DVLA will assess your condition and decide.
Can I drive outside of the UK with a provisional licence?
No, it would be best if you had an international driving permit. If you want to drive outside the UK, you must apply for an international driving permit (IDP).
How long does it take to get or renew a driving licence in the UK?
Usually, it takes ten working days, but it can take longer if the DVLA needs to assess your medical condition or if your application has a problem.
Does my driving test need to be retaken and passed to renew my UK driving permit?
No, but you must pass a medical test every three years if you are over 70.
Can I renew my driving licence in the UK if I have a criminal history?
Yes, but you must declare your criminal record. The DVLA will then consider your criminal record and decide whether you are still fit to drive.
Do I have to provide medical information to renew my driving licence in the UK?
Yes, you must declare any medical conditions. This is because some medical conditions can affect your ability to drive safely.
Can I renew my expired driving licence in the UK?
Yes, but there is a fee. The current fee to renew an expired driving licence in the UK is £17.
Should I renew my UK driver’s licence if I go overseas?
It depends on the country you are visiting. Some countries allow you to drive on your UK licence for a certain period, while others require an international driving permit.