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Provisional driving licence
white clock learner driver5 minute read Car Sharing Guides Learner Drivers

Provisional Driving Licence

Provisional Driving Licence So, you’ve decided you’re going to learn how to drive, you’ve seen your friends starting and you want to get involved in all the excitement. You can taste the independence, smell the freedom and it’s making you hungry to…

James Armstrong
by James Armstrong

Provisional Driving Licence 

So, you’ve decided you’re going to learn how to drive, you’ve seen your friends starting and you want to get involved in all the excitement. You can taste the independence, smell the freedom and it’s making you hungry to learn.

Learning to drive is a step-by-step process, it only requires a few stages to get through. Acquiring a provisional licence, passing your theory test, passing your practical test, and getting your car.

So, let’s look at the first stage, obtaining your provisional driving licence.

What is a provisional licence?

To put it simply, a provisional licence allows you to be able to practise driving in the UK. So, you’ll be able to drive on all public UK roads besides the motorways. As standard with a UK driving licence you should have it on you at all times when driving on UK roads.

To be able to drive on UK roads you will need either; a driving instructor, or someone who’s been driving for at least 3 years and is also over the age of 21.

Who is eligible for a provisional licence?

If you’re a UK resident, then you’re able to apply for a provisional driver’s licence.

How old do I have to be to apply?

In the UK the minimum age to apply for a provisional driver’s licence is 15 years and 9 months of age. However, the licence will only work as identification until you turn 16 which is when you’ll be able to finally use the licence properly.

How much does a provisional licence cost?

If applying online then the cost of a provisional licence will cost you £34, but if you’re applying via postal service then the cost could be up to £43.

How do I apply?

There are a couple of ways to apply, the quickest way is to apply online, this is a faster process and it’s the cheapest. The other way to apply will be to get postal forms, these can be sent to you, or you can go to your local post office and pick one up.

When applying you’ll need a couple of things. Some form of ID, so this could be a passport, or a birth certificate, if using a birth certificate then you may be asked to back this up with something, usually proof of a national insurance number.

You’ll also need to prove your address for the last three years or addresses if you’ve lived in more than one in the last three years.

Finally, you’ll need a small picture of yourself that will be displayed in your ID.

The picture 

For those of you who’re worried about looking your best, don’t. It’s simply a small picture that’s supposed to be the most accurate version of you to be placed on the front of your ID and is barely noticeable.

The picture itself does have a few requirements, and if they’re not met then your provisional licence will be delayed. So here are the requirements:

  • Must be full colour.
  • 45mm x 35mm.
  • The photo looks exactly like you.
  • The background must be light and plain. Meaning no textures or patterns. Light grey or cream.
  • No disruptions like shadows, try and use a natural light source, try and stand around half a metre away to help prevent any shadows.
  • You should be around the same distance (0.5meters) away from the camera.
  • Your head, shoulders, and upper body should all be visible in the image, and you should be looking straight at the camera.
  • No facial expression and eyes open – simple as that, nothing more, nothing less.
  • Hair out of your face.
  • No kind of glasses whatsoever.
  • Headwear is only appropriate for medical purposes or religious beliefs.
  • Do not crop the image, send the original as it is.

For those who aren’t sure where to get the image, you can use digital ones as long as it meets the requirements stated by the DVLA. If you’re unable to sort a digital image, then most large supermarkets have photo booths that can provide the exact picture with settings that you’ll need.

Refer to Nidirect for exact specs for the picture.

Can I get a provisional licence with disabilities? 

It’s important to remember when thinking about learning to drive that a disability doesn’t prevent you from driving. However, when applying for a provisional licence you’ll need to check to see what disabilities need mentioning. It’s worth checking Nidirect to see which ones will affect your provisional licence as if you happened to get pulled over this could cause complications with authorities.


How do I apply for a provisional licence online?

Simply go to GOV.UK and follow the steps online. It’s a good idea to have a payment card, a couple of forms of ID, and the photo you’re going to use ready.

What happens if I lose or damage my provisional licence?

Again, it’s fairly simple, go to GOV.UK and they have a page about this information with easy, step by step guides.

What are the benefits of a provisional driver’s licence?

The main benefit will be allowing you to drive on the roads (with an instructor or someone who meets the requirements), you have a proper form of ID, and for those who are under 17 it gives you the opportunity to get on the roads driving a 50CC moped/bike if you want to.

How long does my provisional licence last for?

You roughly get 10 years to use your provisional licence before you have to renew it.

How long does a provisional licence take to be delivered? 

You can apply for your provisional licence online. It should take about a week to be processed and sent to you.

If you’ve made an application by post, allow about three weeks.

When you apply, keep hold of your 14-digit reference number. This will come in handy if you need to track your driving licence application.

Please note: At the time of writing, there may be a delay in receiving your licence, due to a DVLA backlog. Please make sure you apply in good time!

What happens to my provisional licence when I pass my test?

Your driving examiner will take it off your hands and have it sent off to the DVLA and you’ll receive your pink licence in the post.

Can I still get points on my licence even if it’s a provisional one?

Yes, you are able to get points on a provisional driver’s licence. However, it’s a different system and you’re able to receive 11 points and still be able to take your test. For a full breakdown read Veygo’s ‘Provisional Licences and Penalty Points’.

Learner Driver Insurance 

If you want to make the most out of your provisional driving licence then why not check out our learner driver insurance?

Our learner driver insurance lets you practice in a friend or family member’s car from 1 hour right up to 180 days. They don’t need to worry about their annual policy, because with Veygo, the owner’s no claims bonus is completely protected.

James Armstrong
James Armstrong

James is the CEO of Veygo, a leader in short-term car insurance. Former Head of Risk within Admiral Group Insurance and over 15 years in the financial sector. James is keen to learn more about learner drivers, and car drivers in general, to change the world of car insurance and get more people behind the wheel.

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