Applying for your Provisional Driving Licence — The Ultimate Guide

A D1 provisional driving licence application form

The pink licence might be the Holy Grail of driving, but green is for go—and you can’t even get started until you’ve received your first green provisional driving licence. You'll need it for everything: taking your theory test; booking in with a driving instructor... it's basically your ticket to freedom!

Thankfully, the application process is both quick and simple—but just in case you fall into any difficulties, we’ve put together a handy guide that tells you exactly how to go about it.


When can I apply for my first provisional driving licence?

Keen to hit the roads as soon as you’re allowed? You don’t need to wait until your 17th birthday to get a provisional licence. In fact, you only have to be 15 years and 9 months of age to apply for your first one.

The same provisional licence covers a number of vehicles. So, if you already have a valid provisional for driving a moped, there’s no need to reapply when you want to get behind the wheel of a car.


Other requirements for applying for a provisional licence

1 Eyesight

Rows of glasses in a opticians

Before you start your provisional licence application, check that you’re able to see a post-2001 number plate on a car from a distance of 20 metres (about 5 parked cars away from you).

Don’t just assume that you’re able to see clearly at this distance—because the very first thing you’ll be asked to do on your driving test is to prove it. You’re also legally obliged to make sure your eyesight is up to scratch at all points during your driving career. The DVLA have recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of this, after they found that over half of all motorists were unaware of the rules.

If you’re at all unsure about your eyesight, make sure you book in with an optician before you apply for your provisional. Check to see whether you’re eligible for a free eye test and vouchers towards glasses or contact lenses if you need them.

2 UK-based

You don’t have to be a British citizen to apply for a UK provisional driving licence, but you will need proof that you will be living in the UK for at least 193 days (6 months). You're also required to provide your addresses for the last 3 years—whether UK based or abroad.

3 Health

As part of your application, you will have to fill in a medical questionnaire. If you have a condition that needs declaring, you won’t necessarily be ruled out of driving, but you may have to provide more information to prove you’re fit to get behind the wheel. Complete an additional form relevant to your condition and submit it with your application to speed up the process.


How to apply for your provisional licence

A laptop showing the online provisional licence application form

You can apply for your provisional licence either online or by post.

The quickest, simplest and cheapest way of applying is online. You'll receive a confirmation email after submitting it, and you'll also be able to track your application.

If you prefer pen and paper, there are a couple of options. You can either download a D1 form and print it yourself, or request one from your local post office. Check to see which branches near you offer them as part of their services.

When you start your application, there's a few things you'll need to hand. You’ll be asked to provide evidence of your identity, your National Insurance number (if known), and your addresses for the last 3 years. For postal applications, send your completed form to: DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AD (or SA99 1AF if your identity documents weren't issued in the UK).


What supporting identity documents do I need to apply for my provisional licence?

A British passport

If you’ve got a valid UK biometric passport, you’re in luck: the only thing you’ll need for proving your identity is your 9-digit passport number. Otherwise, there are number of other documents you can choose from—but, whichever you choose, you must send the DVLA the original. So, if you’re going to need your passport to travel within the next month, it’s best that you delay your application until your return.

The most common types of identification are:

Don’t worry if you don’t have any of the above, or if your name or gender has changed since your identity document was issued. Check the full rules to see what your options are.


FAQs

1. How much is a provisional licence?

The provisional licence costs £34 when you apply online, but £43 if you’re filling in a paper form. The DVLA only accept postal orders or cheques alongside applications by post.

2. How long does a provisional driving licence last?

Provisional licences technically last until you're 70—but your green card will need renewing every 10 years. You'll have to submit another form with an up-to-date photo when it expires.

3. Can I apply for my child’s provisional licence?

No—all driving licences, including provisionals, must be applied for by the person they refer to. The form includes a declaration that the information provided is fully accurate, and there can be serious consequences if this turns out to be untrue.

4. Can I apply for a provisional licence without a UK passport?

Yes—there are plenty of other ways you can prove your identity. For example, a residency permit, or an EU or EEA national identity card would be sufficient. Or, if you're a British citizen, you could opt to send your birth certificate alongside your national insurance card. Check back under the Supporting Identity Documents section to see some of the other documents you can use.

5. How long does a provisional licence take to be delivered?

If you’ve applied for your provisional licence online, it will usually only take about a week to be approved and sent to you. Allow 3 weeks for delivery from postal applications. If you haven’t heard back after this time, contact the DVLA, who should be able to give you an update.

6. Who can sign a provisional driving licence photo?

If you have a valid UK passport, you can opt to allow the DVLA to check your identity with the Passport Office. This eliminates the need to get your photo signed with your application.

Otherwise, you'll need to get your photo signed by a UK resident with a British driving licence: someone who knows you, but is not related. They must not live at the same address as you, and they must hold, or be retired from, a 'suitable' profession. You can see the full list of examples on the gov.uk website.

7. What happens if I’ve lost my provisional licence?

You applied for your provisional way back when, and now you're finally getting around to thinking about driving lessons. But—disaster!—you can't find the card that says you're allowed to drive.

Don’t worry—losing your green card isn’t ideal, but there’s no need for panic stations just yet! Check out our blog post dedicated to lost or stolen provisional licences to find out your next steps.

8. Will I get my supporting identity documents back?

Yes—but they won’t be returned to you in the same envelope as your provisional licence. In fact, they could take a further 2 weeks after you receive your licence to turn up through your letterbox. If you're left waiting any longer than this, contact the Royal Mail.

For greater peace of mind, you can always track your documents’ return journey. Simply include a stamped envelope in your application and address it to yourself. You'll need to make sure it’s Special Delivery or Signed For—and remember to make note of the reference number.


Of course, getting your provisional is just the beginning! There's more fun to be had with deciding on a driving course or hourly lessons, swatting up on your theory, and thinking about ways you can dazzle your examiner so that you can turn that green card into pink. 

Comments

  1. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Drake,

    If you provide the DVLA with a current BRP, then you don't need to get someone to sign your photo.

    Hope this helps,

    Andy

    20 hours ago

  2. Drake

    Hi, I dont have a UK passport but I have a valid BRP card for residing in UK. Do i need to get it signed from someone compulsorily or is that optional ?

    3 days ago

  3. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Ranbhir,

    Unfortunately, the DVLA is taking longer to process applications at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic and recent industrial action. At the moment, it's estimated that applications will take around 6-8 weeks to process.

    Hope this helps

    Andy

    6 days ago

  4. Ranhbir kaur

    Am apply my provisional licence online 3week ago and i also send my BRP card with my application but I don’t receive anything no provisional licence no BRP how long

    6 days ago

  5. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Darren,

    You can use the 'track your driving licence application' feature to see if your current application has been accepted, or whether you need to restart the process.

    If it's still unclear, I'd recommend contacting the DVLA directly, which you can do by calling 0300 790 6801

    Hope this helps!

    Isobel

    2 weeks ago

  6. Darren Tee

    I have completed my Driver License online-application and they say we need to return it back within 21 days, But now it has gone over 21 days so is it still possible to send it again today to continue my application.

    4 weeks ago

  7. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Tashia,

    If you applied online the DVLA advises that your licence should arrive within one week, unless additional checks are required.

    The pandemic may also cause some minor delays.

    If you have been waiting for a while and not heard anything, you can contact the DVLA on 0300 790 6801.

    Hope this helps!

    Isobel

    1 month ago

  8. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Grace,

    That does sound rather confusing! Perhaps the form was sent to you by mistake. I would keep hold of it and wait to see if your provisional licence arrives. If you don't receive anything within 14 days, you can then fill the form out and send it off.

    Alternatively, if you don't want to wait to see what happens, you can call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and explain the situation.

    Hope this helps!

    Isobel

    1 month ago

  9. Tashia

    Hi there I'm just wondering how long does it take for ur provisional driving licence to arrive to me

    1 month ago

  10. Grace

    Hi, I applied for my first provisional DVLA in England. I use my British passport and choose to verify my picture and signature from passport office. However, They send me a form for picture verification, what doesn't make sense? And on back of this firm said that if I choose for passport office verification I don't need to verify by form. It is so confusing! Can u help pls?

    2 months ago

  11. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Tia,

    If the money has actually left your Mum's account, the application has probably been processed. Licences usually only take about a week to arrive, so you should find out quite soon. If you know your application reference number you can also use the 'track your driving licence application' feature on the DVLA website for confirmation.

    If the money has left your Mum's account and you do not receive your licence within 2 weeks, contact the DVLA. You can phone them on 0300 790 6801, or use the webchat or email service on the DVLA website.

    Hope this helps!

    Isobel

    2 months ago

  12. Tia morrison

    I have applied for my provisional licence once it took payment of my mum's card it said the screen had timed out its taken payment but I have not received confirmation any help please

    2 months ago

  13. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Sarah,

    We're a UK-based company, so the correct spelling is in fact 'licence'.

    Thanks for visiting the site!

    Isobel

    2 months ago

  14. Sarah

    License

    2 months ago

  15. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Jolin,

    As all UK passports are now biometric, you need only provide the passport number, rather than sending the passport itself.

    If you do not have a UK passport, the DVLA accepts the following as identity documents:

    - A travel document
    - A biometric residence permit

    If you are a pensioner, you can also send:

    - A recent (within 3 months) bank or building society statement showing your pension payment and National Insurance number
    - A BR2102, BR2103 or BR5899 letter confirming your eligibility for the State Pension

    Hope this helps,

    Isobel

    2 months ago

  16. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Tom,

    Without knowing exactly what the extra information they asked for is, it's hard to say. However, it is not uncommon for the DVLA to request extra information in order to complete the application process, so if I were you I would aim to get this sent to them as soon as possible. I would then count the 10 days from when you have sent this information.

    Hope this helps,

    Isobel

    2 months ago

  17. Isobel@PassMeFast

    Hi Jake,

    I'm afraid we are unable to provide a timescale for this as it depends on a range of factors including payment type, DVLA workload and which bank you use. The pandemic is also likely to cause additional delays.

    If you are concerned about the amount of time it is taking to receive your refund, I would contact the DVLA directly.

    Hope this helps!

    Isobel

    2 months ago

  18. Jake

    Hi I have the form and It says I have 21 days to get it signed and sent back. I was wondering how long does the refund take to end up in your account after the 21 day period?

    2 months ago

  19. Tom

    Just applied, on the government website it says my provisional should come within the next 10 days, but on the email I got sent after completing the online form it said I will need to send some information to the DVLA. Is this separate to receiving the license or will i need to send them the info before I can get it?

    3 months ago

  20. Jolin

    Can i send them another document instead of an original passport ?

    3 months ago

  21. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Yemmy,

    Verification via the Post Office isn't possible. The DVLA will need to see the original copies of any documents required. The exception is if you have a valid UK biometric passport, where all you need is the passport number.

    Hope this helps

    Andy

    3 months ago

  22. Yemmy

    Can I apply for a provision driving licence by taking my original documents to the post office for verification instead of posting it to DVLA.

    4 months ago

  23. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Sheena,

    If you're applying for a first provisional licence, I can't see why you would be required to enter your previous address. This is typically only a requirement when renewing a licence.

    Hope this helps.

    Andy

    4 months ago

  24. Sheena

    Hi,
    I tried to apply but I can't find an option to put my non GB address because I only came here in December 2019

    4 months ago

  25. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Samo,

    Normally what would happen is that the letter would arrive and the postal service would ask the recipient (the DVLA) to cover the cost of postage. If you're feeling worried about this, it might be worth contacting the DVLA and explaining what's happened.

    Hope this helps

    Andy

    4 months ago

  26. Samo

    I posted my provisional with postal order and birth certificate but I forgot to put a stamp on the letter will they still receive it

    4 months ago

  27. Andy@PassMeFast

    Hi Pham,

    The easiest way to apply for a provisional is via the official Government website, following the steps laid out in the article above.

    Hope this helps!

    Andy

    5 months ago

  28. pham

    I want to applying the first provisional driving licence, please

    5 months ago

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