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How do I apply for a provisional driving licence in the UK?

If you are raring to get on the roads the first thing you need to do is get a provisional driving licence. The next thing you need to do is get insured, but more on that later.

Car insurance for provisional drivers - how much does it cost?

Get a quote for provisional driver's insurance

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Get a quote for provisional driver's insurance

Before you get behind the wheel, whether that’s for a professional driving lesson or practicing in a friend’s or relative’s car, you will need to get a provisional driving licence

You’ll also need a provisional licence before you book your theory, hazard perception, or practical driving test.

You can apply for a provisional licence as early as three months before you turn 16, but will need to wait until your 17th birthday before you can drive on public highways.

Provisional driving licence requirements

Not just anyone can take to the roads, the law required potential drivers meet certain standards. These are as follows:

  • you must be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland

  • you must be at least 15 years and 9 months of age at the time of applying for your provisional licence

  • you must be able to read a standard licence plate from a distance of 20 metres (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary

How to apply for a provisional driving licence

To apply for your provincial driving licence, either fill out a form from the Post Office or apply on the DVLA website. Postal applications can take up to three weeks, whereas online applications should be processed within a week.

When submitting your provisional licence application, you’ll need to inform the DVLA of the following:

  • all addresses you’ve lived at over the last three years

  • a colour passport-style photo

  • a valid form of ID such as a current passport, a biometric residence permit, or a UK certificate of naturalisation

If you don’t have any of these documents you can send your birth or adoption certificate along with one of the following:

  • proof of your National Insurance number 

  • benefits claim letter or a photocopy of the front page of a benefits book

  • a photocopy of your P45, P60 or a recent pay slip

  • marriage certificate or divorce papers

  • college or university union card

  • school record or PASS Citizen Card

How much does a provisional driving licence cost?

You should be wary of unofficial sites that offer to process your licence application, as they often charge a hefty admin fee on top of the cost of your licence. By going direct to the DVLA online you’ll pay £34 or £43 if you apply by post.

Get a quote for provisional driver's insurance

No one can take to the roads without holding valid car insurance. There are three levels of cover in the UK: 

  • third party only pays out if you damage another person’s vehicle or property, and injure passengers, other drivers or pedestrians

  • third party, fire and theft covers the above, plus damage or loss to the insured’s vehicle following a fire, theft or attempted theft

  • comprehensive insurance will pay out id damage or injury is incurred to others, their property or the insured or their car

Get a quote for provisional driver's insurance

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch