Provisional driving licence (How to apply! How much is a provisional licence?)

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How much is a provisional licence?

How much a provisional licence cost depends on how you apply, online or by post:

  • An online application costs £34
  • A postal application will cost £43

Just think how many novelty air fresheners you could buy with that extra £9!

Once you pass your test, you exchange your provisional for a full driving licence for free.

Watch out for scams!!!

Sadly, several third-party sites are offering to handle the provisional licence application process for you. The cost for a licence with these websites is often several times the value of the provisional licence itself for the privilege.

As we show applying for a provisional licence is not hard. So don’t waste your hard-earned cash, and make sure you use the Gov.UK website.

(Be warned: these sites also offer many other, mostly unnecessary, services, such as vehicle tax. Don’t be fooled into giving them your money.)

When can you apply for a provisional licence?

You can apply for a provisional licence at the age of 15 years and nine months old.

Things to bear in mind:

  • You can only start driving a car at the age of 17.
  • At 16 you can start riding a moped or a quad bike.
  • If you receive the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of the Personal Insurance Payment (PIP), you can start driving a car at 16.

How to apply for a provisional driving licence online

The simplest, quickest and cheapest way is to apply for a provisional licence online at  To do so, you’ll need a valid biometric UK passport.

If you have a biometric passport, your provisional driving licence photo online is sorted, and you won’t need to provide a photo as DVLA use the same one from your passport. However, if you don’t own a passport, you will need to send an original ID by post – photocopies will not be accepted.

To apply for a provisional license online, you’ll need:

  • A debit or credit card to pay the £34 fee.
  • A valid UK biometric passport or another acceptable form of ID.
  • Your address history for the last three years.
  • Your National Insurance Number (if you know it).

How long does a provisional licence take to be delivered?

When you apply for a provisional licence, online applications are often processed within a week. However, postal applications can take up to three weeks to get.

How long does a provisional licence last?

A provisional driving licence lasts for 10 years. After you pass your theory test, you have 2 years to take your practical driving test.

What do you need to apply for a provisional licence? Infographic

Applying for UK provisional driving licence

How do I apply for a provisional driving licence by post?

Applying for a provisional driving licence by post is not as straightforward as an online application. To do so, you’ll need a D1 form, which you can pick up from most Post Office branches, or the DVLA form ordering service.

To apply for a provisional licence by post, you’ll need:

  • A completed D1 form.
  • A cheque or postal order, payable to the DVLA for £43.
  • An original form of acceptable ID documents
  • A passport-size photo.

Do I need to have my eyesight tested before I drive?

You will be required to have your eyesight tested before you learn to drive. This will take place at the beginning of your first driving lesson. Your driving instructor will ask you to read a car number plate from 20 metres away. If you fail, you won’t be allowed to drive.

We recommend seeing an optician beforehand just in case and, if necessary, buying contact lenses or glasses to make sure you meet the right standard.


Don’t be fooled into paying for your provisional licence through a third party website. There’s no benefit, and they could charge you up to three times the original price. Learning to drive is expensive enough already!

What ID do I need for a provisional licence?

If possible, you should use a UK biometric passport as your ID when applying for a provisional driving licence. It’s much quicker and will save you from having to apply by post.

However, if you don’t have a biometric passport, the DVLA can accept the following forms of ID to support a provisional licence application

  • Any valid and current passport.
  • BRP (Biometric residence permit).
  • UK certification of naturalisation.
  • European Union or European Economic Area national identity card.
  • Travel document.

Be aware that, if applying by post, you must send in the original ID document. A photocopy will not be accepted, and your application will be rejected.

VIDEO: how to apply for a provisional driving licence

In the DVLA  video on applying for a driving licence, unfortunately, the fee they state of £50 is incorrect.

Track your provisional driving licence application online

You can track your provisional licence application and make the tricky part of waiting a bit easier.  If you applied for your licence online, it should take a week to get to you (three weeks if you used the post).

Thankfully, you can track the progress of your application. All you’ll need is your application reference number, and you’ll be able to find out how long it will be until you can get behind the wheel.

Compare learner driver insurance

Learner Driver Insurance also is known as provisional insurance allows you to practice in your parents or a friend’s car without risking the owners No Claims Bonus

L plate

What is learner driver insurance, and why you may need it?

Once you are 17 and have your provisional licence, you can start driving lessons and driving practice with a supervised driver.

When you take driving lessons from a driving instructor, the cost of your learner driver insurance is in the price you pay for your tuition.

However, if you are lucky and receive extra driving practice from your parents or friends driving their car, you will require learner insurance.

You have a couple of options either get your name on their insurance policy or take out personal learner driver insurance.

Learner driver insurance, also called Provisional insurance, is specifically for driving practice with a supervised driver.

A big advantage of having your own learner driver insurance is that you protect the car owners No Claims Bonus in the event of an accident, for instance.

Crucial: don’t get penalty points on your licence before you’ve even received it

Nothing could be worse than ruining your shiny new provisional driving licence before it’s yet come through the letterbox.

Don’t even think of driving before you receive your provisional licence. You could be fined up to £1,000 and get three points on your new licence right from the off. It’s not worth the risk, so just don’t do it.

You could still lose your licence even if you pass your test

If a driver has six or more penalty points on their provisional licence, these carry over on to their full driving licence when they pass their test and will remain on their driving record for four years after the offence.

Also, in the first 24 months of having a full licence, if that driver gets just one more penalty point, then their licence will be revoked. If this happens, you’ll need to start the whole application process again, including applying for a provisional licence and taking a theory and practical test.

Apply for a provisional licence NI

If you are you a resident of Northern Ireland? If so, you’ll need to use a different website and apply to nidirect for a provisional licence.

You can apply for your NI provisional driving licence by completing the DL1 application form, which is available from the main NI Post Offices.

You will need to enclose original documents confirming your identity, a passport-style colour photograph.

How much is a provisional licence ni

Unfortunately, a NI provisional licence cost is £62.50, which for some reason unknown to us is dearer than for the remainder of the UK.


The total number of provisional driving licences registered with DVLA for the whole of Great Britain is over 8,000,000.

Source: The RAC Foundation, 2019

EU, EEA and other foreign nationals applying for a UK Provisional Licence

If you’re from the EU, EEA or you are another foreign national, you will need to be resident in the UK to apply, and you’ll need to provide the required documentation to do so. Find out more here.

Why wait? Start revising for your theory test!

You don’t need a provisional licence to start revising for your theory test. Do yourself a favour and get a head start on your revision. We recommend the official DVSA theory test revision guides. You’ll be saying bye-bye to those L plates in no time!