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Applying for your Provisional Licence

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 7 Sep 2021 | comments*Discuss
Driving Licence Provisional Licence Dvla

Once you reach the age of 17 you can apply for your provisional driving licence - you can actually apply 2 months before your 17th birthday but cannot start to drive until the licence arrives. You must apply for your provisional licence before you sit the theory and hazard perception tests.

To be eligible for a provisional driver's licence, you need to be a minimum of 17 years of age, have good eyesight with or without glasses - you will be tested on this when you take your driving test - and you must not suffer from certain medical conditions which might prevent you from driving (see Direct.gov.uk for more details).

How to Apply for Your Provisional Licence

You can pick up the relevant forms from your local post office or alternatively you can apply online via direct.gov.uk

You'll need to complete the forms - known as D1 - and also include two passport sized photographs which will be used for identification purposes. One photograph is used for your Photocard Licence and the other one is kept on file by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). You must also include the fee for this licence which currently stands at £50.

You will be required to have someone of a professional nature such as a doctor, teacher or police officer that knows you, sign the reverse of the photographs to confirm that they are actually photographs of you and that the application is not being made fraudulently. This is common practice just as it is when applying for a passport and there is nothing to cause alarm in the procedure. Neighbours who are business owners or teachers or your own doctor will be happy to do this for you; they probably get asked on a regular basis to help with such applications.

How Long Does It Take for My Provisional Licence to Arrive?

Depending on the time of year and how busy the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) happen to be at the time of submitting your application, the whole process can take anything from four to six weeks - online applications are quicker and usually take around two weeks. Of course there may be occasions when the process takes longer especially if there is an unexpected influx of applications or if you have incorrectly filled out the application forms.

A Driving Instructor will ask you at the commencement of lessons to provide proof of your driving licence.

After Your Provisional Licence Arrives

Upon receipt of your provisional driving licence you can begin taking lessons and should always carry the licence with you when you are driving. Once you hold your provisional licence, it is your responsibility to ensure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and has the correct tax and insurance. While you are learning to drive on your provisional licence, you must always be accompanied by another driver, who should be over the age of 21 and hold a full valid driver's licence, in the relevant vehicle category. The accompanying driver must have had their full driving licence for a minimum of three years.

'L' Plates

Until you pass your driving test, you should display an 'L' plate on both the front and rear of any vehicle you are driving - in a position where they can be seen clearly. (In Wales these are 'D' plates). You can buy 'L' plates (usually stickers or magnetic) from any major supermarket or motoring parts/accessories supplier.

Other Vehicles

If you already have a full driving licence and want to Drive Larger Vehicles - or vehicles that your current licence does not cover - then you will need to apply for provisional entitlement to drive those vehicles. You will not have to pay to get this provisional entitlement. To apply for provisional entitlement to drive larger vehicles, you will need to complete application form D2 and medical form D4. The medical form has to be completed by a doctor and you will normally be charged for this.

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I’ve just Realised that you have to send the DVLA driving license form back in 21 days from the dayyou Receive the form.but it has been 3 months I don’t know if I can send it in or will I have to pay again need HELP
A - 28-Jul-21 @ 11:57 PM
Hi I have received my application for driving licence and just realised that I have 21 days to send it back but it had come 21 days after the date I applied for the application anyway and was online can I still send it or will thay send me a new o e as I've already paid £34 and not sure *help* ??
Jaz - 23-Jun-21 @ 5:21 PM
I missed the deadline to return the form and ID for my provisional license. If i send in 30 days the form and ID to DVLA it is ok ?
Vadim - 1-Dec-20 @ 9:46 AM
This article implies you can drive when you receive your provisional licence, even if you are 16 and a month from 17, which is wrong.
Suzie - 26-Nov-20 @ 11:23 AM
Hi I sent for my sons provisional done everything online paid and everything and they sent payment back as he was late in sending forms, can we send same forms and pay by post so it's all done together
Sengababe - 21-Nov-20 @ 11:13 AM
Can a new driver who as sent off for a provisional license start to learn before we receive the license back from DVLA
Paul0121 - 20-Nov-20 @ 9:21 PM
Hi. Urgent plz i have applied for provisional licence, i received a form but did not resend in deadline which is within 21 days. How can i ask for refund so i can apply again. Please any answer? Thanks
Khan - 13-Nov-20 @ 4:53 PM
I missed the deadline to return the form and ID for my provisional license.Will I get a refund and if so is it automatically sent or do I have to apply for a refund?
Ash97 - 29-Oct-20 @ 3:48 PM
I applied for my provisional licence a little over a month ago, and paid for it, and received some forms i was asked to fill in, and send back with necessary documents like my birth certificate and a passport style photo. i didn’t have these to hand and wasn’t able to return the documents within the 21 days. if i were to apply again, would i have to make the payment again, and if not, how can i inform the dvla that i have already done so, and just need the forms resent so i can send them the required documents?
Emma - 18-Oct-20 @ 7:33 PM
Hi all, I sent my documents 2 weeks ago. Could you please update when you receive your licences stating when you applied? It is the only information we can get about when to receive our licence back. Thanks for every information shared.
Mikeeee - 5-Oct-20 @ 3:49 PM
Hi, I am on the same boat as many of you. Posted my BRP today and stupidly, I did not check before the issue with the backlog. To be fair neither in the application nor the letter indicate this. I am due to travel in mid December and I am worried sick that I don't get my BRP back. I saw some of you got the ID back in about 5-7 weeks, has it been longer for any other of you?
GRV - 1-Oct-20 @ 4:36 PM
@ Boen and others:when you received your documents back, have you observed any changes in tracking motoring.dvla.gov.uk.Is it worth visiting the site and relay on the status?
John - 24-Sep-20 @ 4:18 PM
I applied for licence on 4 Aug, returned form with ID on 15 August. I received back my ID today (24 Sept.). There is a note stating that licence to be arrived in 2 weeks. It is quite a mess. It took 6 weeks to get my ID back. Still, there is no sign of a driving licence.
broen - 24-Sep-20 @ 1:16 PM
Got asked to send a recent photo in, done that about 6/7 weeks ago...still nothing please help
Ray - 22-Sep-20 @ 12:10 PM
Thanks Guil. Are there any updates more? Just to understand recent examples. I sent my docs on 20.08, still no update
John - 21-Sep-20 @ 3:37 PM
Thanks Guil for writing back. Thanks for sharing your application date and the date you received your licence. It is the only indication for us about when to get our licence. DVLA does not share anything at all.
Jameeee - 21-Sep-20 @ 12:35 PM
As an update to my previous comment. I received my passport and DVLA today, 18 Sep.
Guil - 18-Sep-20 @ 5:06 PM
I returned form at 15 August. Still not received anything. I would be glad if you write when you received your license.
broen - 15-Sep-20 @ 1:35 PM
As an update to my previous comment. We received the provisional Licence yesterday (1st Sep). So it was 2 months from initial application to receipt. Hope that helps those that are still waiting.
Munchkin74 - 2-Sep-20 @ 9:29 AM
0300 790 6801 that's a free number I called them on. I'm in the same situation, and i was told that there are alot of applications waiting to go through, and with the lack of staff due to covid, it's pretty much a waiting game in a very long queue. They have no problem with anyone calling back again after a few weeks, but I hope this helps and you get some answers atleast! :)
Jayc - 1-Sep-20 @ 1:39 PM
Applied on 6/aug, sent the form with my passport on 12/aug, delivered 13/aug an the status continues as In Progress: Awaiting Application Return. Im afraid, I need my passport back! Someone have a phone number and email to call them?
Guil - 28-Aug-20 @ 2:20 PM
Applied for my daughter's Provisional Licence on 30th June, Sent Photo in on 13th July, money has been paid. As of today it still says "In Progress: Awaiting Application Return Form", so nearly 2 months and still no sign of the licence.
Munchkin74 - 25-Aug-20 @ 4:10 PM
My daughter sent off for provisional driving licence & monies paid. Still waiting weeks later.. She's tried to phone & email but apparently nobody can help... Anyone have an email or number she can call please.
Ju - 25-Aug-20 @ 9:59 AM
My son sent his form back after applying on line. Have tried the track service on DVLA and has not been updated since 21st Jun 2020. Cant get hold of anyone. Got the money thou.
KR - 24-Aug-20 @ 5:04 PM
I guess I'm not the only one trying to call, phone always busy,they took the payments from 17July 2020. And my bloody documents and I'm still awaiting a email confirmation from them . How long does it take to process, they blame covid-19 for everything ?? ?? ??
none - 24-Aug-20 @ 2:41 PM
We applied for my daughters provisional license on the 4th July and we have had nothing back as yet. So I am actually reassured to hear that I am not alone. It is so frustrating as we have already paid for driving lessons!!
Mrs V - 24-Aug-20 @ 2:09 PM
applied for my provisional first week in june. still waiting. how can all businesses run efficiently from home yet, a government one cannot. no clarity on website and noone available to answer phone or emails. yet they take your money within days off application. I am a late learner and I'm wondering is it worth it and should I just get my money back? outraged by this service. everyone is practically back to normality except dvla and passport office. ridiculous!
shazbaz49 - 21-Aug-20 @ 10:10 AM
itsbeen a month still waiting on my provisional licence to sent back to me. howlong dose take to recieve a provisional licence after applying?
Trey - 16-Aug-20 @ 4:21 PM
I would have thought that the situation was easing being as the government is telling everyone to go back to work. My granddaughter sent her application beginning of July money taken 16July since then no confirmation email or anything, no documents returned, like everyone else she is stuck in Limbo. WHAT A FARCE.
Grumpy - 14-Aug-20 @ 3:42 PM
I have not returned the provisional application form for my daughter (she took too long to get a photo done) within the 21 day deadline however,I have paid £34.00 for it. How do I go about reapplying without being charged again?
sgrey - 13-Aug-20 @ 1:01 PM
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