Young Person’s Guide To Applying For A Provisional Licence in the UK

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Before you can take to the road and begin your driving lessons, you’ll need to own a provisional licence. A provisional licence currently costs £50 and can be applied for using a D1 form or via the GOV.UK website. To help you understand the process, rules and restrictions, we’ve put together a simple guide to applying for a provisional licence in the UK, but first here are 3 key things you should know:

1. You can apply for a provisional licence once you are 15 years and 9 months old, however, you cannot start learning to drive until you’re 17.

2. You can get a D1 form from your local post office.

3. If applying online, you’ll need a debit or credit card, proof of your identity and your address details for the last three years.

Having a provisional licence is a necessary requirement that all unqualified drivers need to have, whether it is a family relative or registered instructor that will be supervising them in their lessons. You even need one to take your driving test, as well as your theory, so if you’re itching to get behind the wheel it’s probably time you got and move on and applied.


Before you can apply, you first need to understand and be sure that you can meet the requirements needed to be accepted for a provisional licence. Besides meeting the minimum age requirement, you must also pass an eyesight test to prove you can read a car number plate made after September 2001 from a distance of 20 metres. This test allows for glasses or lenses if necessary, but is a vital way of protecting our roads from poor eyesight, which could later cause in a collision or accident.

You may be asked for your National Insurance Number when applying, so be sure to have this to-hand.


Having a provisional licence doesn’t give you total freedom to drive a car; you’ll need to be aware of the following restrictions:

  • You MUST be accompanied by someone aged over 21 who has held a full driving licence with no points on it for at least 3 years.
  • You CANNOT drive on the motorway.
  • You MUST display ‘L’ plates on the front and back of your vehicle. If you live in Wales, this will be a ‘D’ plate instead.
  • The person supervising you must sit in the front passenger seat and be fit to drive.

Luckily, once you have successfully passed your driving test, these restrictions will be lifted!

How To Apply

Applying is easily done online or via post. Gather all the information you need, log-on to GOV.UK or pick a D1 form up from your post office. Fill in the information using one of these application methods and be careful not to miss anything out to ensure you are accepted.

One of the benefits to applying online is that you can check the progress of your provisional driving licence application.