How to Get Your First Driving License

Getting a provisional driving license can be very exciting. In the UK, you can get out on the roads at 16 on a moped, it’s the first step to independence.

Requirements needed to get a driving license

These are the requirements you must meet to be able to get a driving license from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

  • You need to be able to read the letters and numbers clearly on a car license plate from 20 meters. You’re allowed to use your glasses for this if you need them.
  • The youngest age you’re allowed to apply is 15 years and 9 months. To a teenager waiting to apply the wait must be excruciating!
  • You have to live in Great Britain to get a British driving license.

Cost of the provisional license

Only use the DVLA website (accessed on to apply for a license, don’t use any other unofficial website. The fixed cost is £43 to apply through the post and £34 to apply online.

How to apply

Get a D1 form from your local post office or go online to the DVLA website. Online applications normally take about a week whereas by post this can take as long as three weeks.

To be approved you have to tell the DVLA your current and previous addresses during the last three years. You’ll need to supply them with a color ID photo. Along with this information, you also need to provide some ID which will usually be a passport.

Once you’ve applied and you are 17 or older you can book your theory test, although it’s not a good to dive straight in without revision! You can find a number of online resources that will help you prepare for your driving theory test.

What you can drive on a provisional license

Depending on your age there are limitations to the vehicles you are able to drive on your provisional license.

To drive a car you must be 17 and can apply for the license 3 months before your 17th birthday. With this license, you can drive a car as long as you have someone who can drive in the passenger seat. They must be over 21 and have had a full driving license for three years or more.

You can ride a moped at 16 as long as you have a provisional license. You’re allowed to ride any motorbike that has an engine size up to 50cc. If you’re 17 or over you can ride a motorbike with a slightly bigger 125cc engine. To be fully legal you’ll also need to take a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training test). So if you’re itching to get out on the roads a moped is the quickest option, it’s also relatively cheap to get started.

Displaying L Plates

No matter what vehicle you’re driving you must display L plates and have valid insurance when you’re driving on the roads.

Things you can’t do

You’re not allowed to drive on the motorway and if you’re driving a car the person supervising you has to be fit to drive and must not have been drinking.

Provisional license holders who ride a motorbike aren’t allowed to carry passengers, however, car drivers can.

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