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Applying for your Provisional Licence

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 19 Sep 2018 | 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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Hi, I applied for my provisional license online and sent it all of over a week ago. What are the chances I will have it back by next week? Thanks
Kazza - 19-Sep-18 @ 1:34 PM
I got banned 10 years ago while I had my provisional. Do i need to re-apply from the beginning now?
Scott chiz - 10-Sep-18 @ 7:14 PM
Hi my son has just had his license revoked due to a first time speeding offence given 6 points within his first 2 years of driving can he apply on line for his provisional licence straight away where does he do this please
Fraggle - 15-Aug-18 @ 8:20 AM
I applied for my provisional online and sent back all the info you needed a couple of days before the dead line what will happen if you receive it after the deadline will I have to apply again? Usually on top of these things but due to having a baby recently my mind was else where
Tinab - 17-Jul-18 @ 11:20 PM
Can i fill this in and send it of as its a surprise present for my daughter's 17 birthday if i sign it help
Harris - 3-May-18 @ 7:22 PM
Lilginge- Your Question:
Hi I recently just applied for a provisional first time, it asked for my passport photo which I don’t want to use daft question but will I get contacted to provide one to them by post or will my provisional end up coming with no picture?

Our Response:
They will write back and ask you for a photo. If you applied online and gave your passport number, they will automatically use the photo on that.
YourDrivingLicence - 30-Apr-18 @ 12:12 PM
Hi I recently just applied for a provisional first time, it asked for my passport photo which I don’t want to use daft question but will I get contacted to provide one to them by post or will my provisional end up coming with no picture?
Lilginge - 28-Apr-18 @ 3:35 PM
Jamie - Your Question:
I just applied for my provisional and chose not to use my passport photo but was never asked which photo I want to use or given any details on how to send a photo??? Any ideas

Our Response:
If you chose not to use your passport photo, you should have sent one with the application. The DVLA will probably contact you soon asking for your photo.
YourDrivingLicence - 18-Dec-17 @ 11:12 AM
I just applied for my provisional and chose not to use my passport photo but was never asked which photo I want to use or given any details on how to send a photo??? Any ideas
Jamie - 15-Dec-17 @ 12:39 PM
Hi am just wondering am aye allowed to apply for new provisional by post a couple weeks before my ban is up so a have it straight away once ban has finished
dan - 5-Sep-17 @ 8:58 AM
J.P- Your Question:
Hi I sent off for my provisional licence last Friday still hadn't been sent out how long dose it take its my first time and I done it online

Our Response:
It can take several weeks, it usually arrives within 2 weeks in our experience.
YourDrivingLicence - 19-Aug-15 @ 2:45 PM
Hi I sent off for my provisional licence last Friday still hadn't been sent out how long dose it take its my first time and I done it online
J.P - 19-Aug-15 @ 2:31 AM
I am just sending off for my provisional licence and I have just had they eyesight question come up. last time I had my eyes checked I was told I had 20/20 vision. I haven't had them done this year and so I have put that I can read a number plate from 20 meters away. what happens if when I receive my actual licence but have gone to the opticians since then and have been told my eyesight has gotten worse?
Lyds - 25-Jun-15 @ 5:31 PM
@kerry.muli. You could try calling the DVLA on 0300 790 6802 and asking them.
YourDrivingLicence - 4-Jun-15 @ 2:05 PM
Hello :). I sent off my application last week friday. I urgently need my provisional to come by the 19th of June. Do you think i'll get it back by then?.
Kerry.muli - 2-Jun-15 @ 1:11 PM
@theresa you will need to go through the usual process of applying to replace a lost or stolen licenceyou can do so here.
YourDrivingLicence - 11-Mar-15 @ 2:35 PM
I've got a provisional drivers license but its a old one (without picture) I bought it for my 17th birthday but never got around to taking lessons but now I'm wanting to start my lessons but I filled the back in with my new address (at the time)but miss placed it before sending it off now I've moved to a different address to the one I filled in on the back,how do I go about renewing it with my new address?
theresa - 8-Mar-15 @ 5:31 PM
@dannny. The person who signs your photo must have known you for at least two years. If you want someone from the council to certify it - they should perferably hold managerial or professional position. You can also ask a person such as: anyone you know who runs a business (like a shopkeeper). Or a teacher, bank worker, policeman, fireman etc. If you have a local vicar or priest, they will also be a good choice.
YourDrivingLicence - 28-Nov-14 @ 12:31 PM
was just wondering if i could get someone who works for the council to sign my photo?? thanks
dannny - 27-Nov-14 @ 2:51 PM
@Scott. You can call theDVLA on 0300 790 6801or apply online here . You can also order a form to fill in in writing here or you can go to your local post office and pick up a new application form.
YourDrivingLicence - 27-Oct-14 @ 11:45 AM
@yorgie. If you have received a provisional licence, then can you assume that you are required to take a test re-sit and you have misunderstood the information given at the time? If the DVLA cannot clear this up for you, then maybe it would be easier simply to re-sit your test.
YourDrivingLicence - 27-Oct-14 @ 10:43 AM
I received my application about 2 weeks ago, and I filled in a section on it that i wasn't supposed to, so I was wondering how I go about getting a new form sent to me? Thanks
Scott - 24-Oct-14 @ 1:35 PM
@Rik. You cannot usually speed up the process but you could try calling the DVLA to be sure. The number is 0300 790 6801
YourDrivingLicence - 24-Oct-14 @ 11:05 AM
Please help got banned from driving when my ban was up I received a provisional licence back (no I wasn't ordered to resit a test)dvla are refuses to accept I had a full licence I am at my wit's end with them any help or advice would be great
yorgie - 23-Oct-14 @ 11:12 PM
I sent for my provisional last week and was wondering if there is any way of speeding up the process of getting it?
Rik - 22-Oct-14 @ 10:31 AM
I just applied online for my driving license and i chose the option to not use my passport photo so how do i get my photo on there now?
hellothere - 12-Oct-14 @ 5:15 PM
how long will it take for my provisional licence to arrive, I had to fill in a medical form and see my doctor but he said I was fine to drive and sent my form off, so how long will it take?
MollieBob - 29-Sep-14 @ 12:20 PM
@Ems. It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks but if you need it urgently you could try giving them a call on 0300 790 6801.
YourDrivingLicence - 29-Sep-14 @ 11:51 AM
Can anyone help me, I have just applied and paid for my provisional driving licence does anyone know how long this will take to get here I applied online due to people saying it is quicker I'm 18 on the 11th of October and want to start driving and I need ID :)
Ems - 26-Sep-14 @ 5:52 AM
Could anyone help me. What do I need as I D for a provisional license. I am 19 don't have a job don't sign on and don't have an up to date passport. I have my birth certificate.
Jo - 24-Sep-14 @ 8:20 PM
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