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Driving licence application

You may apply for your provisional driving licence three months before your 17th birthday, although it doesn't become valid until that date.  However, you may drive legally if you are 16 years of age and receive mobility allowance. 

Although many people apply for a licence during this time it's not unusual for people to begin learning to drive for the first time much later, sometimes well into their more mature years. 

A provisional driving Licence

A provisional driving licence is required before you can start learning to drive which can be obtained from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).  To apply for a provisional driving licence, complete forms D1, available from any Post Office or you can Apply online

You will need to enclose two passport-size colour photographs, proof of your identity and a fee, currently £34* when you apply online or £43 by post.  The DVLA will aim to deliver your licence within 3 weeks. 

More details will be with the application form.  Different rules apply for individuals that are EU citizens or live outside the EU.  More details about for exchanging a foreign licence should check with the DVLA

When applying for your provisional driving licence it is essential to inform the DVLA of any conditions which may affect your ability to drive, including:

  • Any visual condition which affects both eyes (not including short or long sight or colour blindness)
  • Any visual condition which affects sight (not including short or long sight or colour blindness), for example, if you have sight in one eye only. 

If you have had sight correction surgery you should declare this when you apply for your provisional licence.  This will not stop you from learning to drive, but it is necessary information. 

Check your driving licence information

From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence was replaced by an online service. 

The paper counterpart includes information on a driver's penalty points along with details of what vehicles they can drive.  Drivers still need to keep their actual driving licence, whether it is a plastic photocard licence or an old style paper licence which was issued before 1998. 

It's very easy to view and share your driving record.  Just search for 'view driving licence'.  You can view your information electronically and generate a check code which you can then share with people who need to see your details (such as an driving instructor). 

Eyesight

A condition of driving legally means you MUST be able to read a number plate on a vehicle at a required distance.  If it's one with an old-style number plate the required distance is 20.5 meters (about 67 feet).  Number plates with a narrower font, such as the new-style number plates introduced in 2001, need to be read from a distance of 20 meters (66 feet) and are easily identifiable, they start with two letters e.g.  AB51 ABC. 

If you wear require glasses or contact lenses to read the number plate, you'll be expected to keep them on during the test. 

Further conditions which may affect your licence entitlement, including those set out below can be viewed on the GOV.UK website. 

If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Fits or Blackouts
  • Diabetes
  • An implanted cardiac pacemaker
  • Stroke