Getting Started

Before you can start to learn to drive you need a Provisional Driving Licence.
You must also be able to read a vehicle number plate at a minimum distance of 20.5 metres (20 metres for old format number plates). If you need glasses or contact lenses in order to read the number plate, you must also wear them while you are driving.
You can apply for your provisional licence up to 3 months before your 17th birthday but you must be at least 17 years old before you can drive.
If you are in receipt of the enhanced rate of mobility payment for either Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, you can get your Provisional Licence at 16 and start learning to drive at that point.
Driving Licences are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You can get an application form (D1) from any post office and send your form with a passport style photo. Or you can apply online at
There's no hard and fast rule for how long it takes for people to pass their driving tests. Some people are lucky enough to pass very quickly through intensive week-long courses, while some drivers take a few attempts and many lessons before they exchange their provisional for a full licence.
The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the UK's body for setting standards for road users recommends 45 hours of professional training and 22 hours of private practice as a guide. It may seem like a lot to pass a test, but it's actually a sensible amount to obtain the necessary competence, awareness and ability to use the roads safely and with confidence.
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