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When to apply for your provisional driving licence
You can apply for your provisional licence up to 3 months before your 16th birthday if you want to drive a car, motorcycle, or moped. But you won't be able to take driving lessons in a car until you are seventeen, unless you’re receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, which allows you to drive at 16.
What you need to apply for your provisional driving licence
- Be a resident of Great Britain.
- Meet the minimum age requirements.
- Meet the minimum standards of vision for driving: You must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away.
- Not be prevented from driving for any reason.
- Have £34 to pay via MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta credit/debit card.
- Have a valid UK passport or other acceptable form of ID.
- Have your National Insurance number (if known).
- Be able to provide addresses where you have lived for the last 3 years.
- A colour passport-style photo.
How to apply for your provisional licence
The quickest way to apply for your provisional is to visit gov.uk and do it online. If you’d rather fill in a good old-fashioned form, you can request a D1 application from the DVLA form ordering service or you can visit your local Post Office and get one from there.
If you do decide to use a paper form, post it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD.
Provisional driving licence restrictions
Once your provisional arrives, you’re free to practise driving with an approved driving instructor or a properly experienced accompanying driver who is over 21 years of age and who holds a full driving licence which they have held for at least 3 years.
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You must also display L-plates on your vehicle. They must be placed in prominent positions; we’ve written a guide to placing L-plates to help you to get yours just right. Fun fact: In Wales, they use D-plates instead of L-plates!
You may not drive on motorways with a provisional licence, but you’re free to drive in any weather and at any time, as long as you have a driving instructor or appropriate accompanying driver.
Image via Highways Agency.