How to Apply for a Provisional Driving Licence in UK?

How to Apply for Provisional Drivers Licence

Those who start learning to drive must apply for provisional licence first in UK. It is a legal temporary permit that allows novice drivers to get around the city in a car with the company of a fully-licenced driver. Furthermore, with this permit, you have access to take driving lessons, practice and tests after which you get a full UK drivers licence.

If you are planning to start a road trip, just follow along with this article to get the whole picture of UK provisional driving licence application, covering eligibility, required documents, online and offline methods to apply.

Eligibility of UK Provisional Driving Licence

Driving a car on the road is a matter of public safety, so provisional drivers licence applicants must be:

  • 15 years and 9 months old and above.
  • able to recognize numbers 20m away.
  • permitted to live in Great Britain for 185 days or above, including England, Scotland and Wales.

Please note that this is a learner’s license, so the holders are restricted to drive only the following categories of vehicles.

  • Categories A1, A2 and A for motorbike
  • Category B for car
  • Category P or AM for moped

How to Apply for Provisional Drivers Licence

There are two ways to apply for a provisional licence in the UK: online and by post. They are different in processing time and cost. Read on to learn about how to do and choose what suits you.

Apply for Provisional Licence Online

  • Go to UK.
  • Click the “Start now” button to fill in the application form which includes personal information like name, date of birth, addresses for the last 3 years, previous UK drivers licence details, etc.
  • Include your 9-digit passport number in the form. If you don’t have a passport, a share code is also acceptable. please move on to learn about share code in How to Apply for Provisional Licence Without UK Passport.
  • Attach a digital UK driving licence photo in the form.
  • Fulfill payment of £34. MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card is acceptable
  • After submitting the application form, DVLA would send you a confirmation email.
  • Waiting for your provisional driving licence to be sent within a week.

Apply for Provisional Licence by Post

  • Download and Finish Form D1 – Application for a driving licence which is available on DVLA website and most post offices.
  • Printed UK driving licence photo is required which would appear in your license.
  • Send the application to the address listed on the form along with original copy of your passport. Remember to attach a cheque or postal order of £43. For candidates without passports, there are also other replacemnet acceptable, please check the “Identity Document by Post” section in How to Apply for Provisional Licence Without UK Passport.
  • It might take longer to process post applications, like 3-4 weeks. Just be patient. And that means your passport would be held for up to 4 weeks for UK drivers licence application once sent out, during which you can’t use it. Please arrange your schedule carefully.

UK Driving Licence Photo Requirements

The provisional license would remain valid for 10 years. That is to say, the photo will stay until you replace or renew it, so it is worthwhile to spend some time making a good-looking and compliant photo. As requirements for UK driving licence photo are stricter than life photos and an unqualified photo would lead to rejection. Therefore, we want to spend some time introducing the photo regulations in this part.

  • Size: 35mm (width) x 45mm (length). There must be 29-34mm from chin to the top of head and 3-5mm of blank area over the head.
  • Resolution: 600dpi (digital template for online application)
  • Background: light grey or cream without any distractions except the portrait itself.
  • Pose: Look directly at the camera, no tilting heads or shrugging shoulders.
  • Dressing: simple and decent clothes are recommended, such as solid colored T-shirt or shirt. No creamy white, gray, vest or uniforms.
  • Accessories: no hats, sunglasses, scarves or other ornaments that might obscure any part of your face.

part of your face

How to Apply for Provisional Licence Without UK Passport

To apply for provisional licence without UK passport is similar to most procedures we stated before except at the document submission step. UK Passport is used to verify your identification. Luckily there are other alternatives if you don’t have a passport. Let’s see what they are.

Share Code

In the condition that you have used apps like “UK Immigration: ID Check” or “EU Exit: ID Document Check” while applying to The EU Settlement Scheme or for a visa, there is a share code confirming your legal stay in the UK.

You can turn to Gov.UK to get the share code. Click the “start now” button and choose “something else” when it comes to the use of the share code.

Input the code in your application form online.

Identity Document by Post

If you fail to provide UK passport number or share code for provisional drivers licence, the followings are acceptable to prove your identity, but you must send the original copy instead of photocopies.

  • Foreign passport within validity with visa stamp to prove your right to reside in the UK.
  • An Irish passport within validity. No visa sticker is required.
  • BRP (biometric residence permit) within validity
  • Other travel documents
  • Proof of state pension
  • Birth/adoption/naturalization certificate (any of it) along with national insurance card/letter from HM Revenue and Customs or Department of Work and Pensions indicating your national insurance number/original benefits claim letter/photocopy of the front page of a benefits book / P45, P60 or a pay slip / marriage certificate / divorced papers/gender recognition certificate/ union card in college/PASS proof of age card/educational certificate

By providing the identity documents above, make sure to invite someone to sign on your form and photo. He/she could be:

  • someone who possesses a valid GB photocard driving licence
  • someone who lives in the UK
  • someone who knows you personally
  • someone except your relatives
  • someone who does not live together with you

Examples of a suitable person include shopkeepers, librarians,

government officers, layers, teachers, engineers, etc., either in-service or retired. Retired persons must note down their former jobs like “retired laywer”.


As you can see, getting a UK provisional driving licence is not so complicated. No matter when you choose to apply for provisional licence online or by post, please make sure to have everything prepared, including application forms, identity documents, UK driving licence photo and payment. Once you have the provisional one, you would have 10 years to finish the following course and test to get a full UK drivers license. We hope that this passage would address all problems you have before starting out and accelerate your application.


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