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How to Apply for a Provisional Licence

When you turn 17, you can now drive on the road. But the very first thing to do is to get your provisional license.

You need to physically have the card before you can drive so don’t think just because you’ve had your 17th birthday you can get out on the road. Check yoself.

So let’s get that card. 

The process is easy enough on the gov.uk website. The link to the official site is below or Google “provisional license application” and look for the gov.uk link. 

There is no need to use any other service or go through any other website. Third-party services are just using the official gov website themselves but charging you extra admin fees. It’s really not hard to do it yourself, so save the money.

Once you’re on the gov page, simply click the “start now” button and fill out your information. You’ll need to provide some form of valid ID, your addresses from the last three years and your National Insurance number if you know it.

You can also apply for your provisional by post but this is more expensive than doing it online and takes longer to be processed. 

By post requires something called a D1 form. Not all Post Offices have these so check with your local one first. Along with the form, you’ll also need to send some ID – not a photocopy but your actual ID –  like your passport, and a cheque payable to the DVLA for £43.

We recommend doing it online if you can as it will cost £34. Just think of all the XYZ you could get for that £9 difference. These prices may change in the future but the basic idea is that online should always be cheaper.

For both ways of applying you’ll also need passport-style photos. You know everyone has that embarrassing license photo? This is that moment.  

With everything filled in and sent off, it should take about a week for the license to arrive but if you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, you can apply up to three months before your 17th birthday. 

On the big day you should receive the license card itself. 

But if it comes before your birthday that doesn’t give you carte blanche to get driving. Remember it’s 17 AND with a provisional license, not OR with a provisional license. You need both.

The only time you can start learning to drive before 17 is if you receive the Higher Rate Mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance or the Enhanced Rate Mobility component of PIP. 

Check online at the DVLA if you qualify. If you do you can apply for a provisional licence three months before your 16th birthday and hit the road at 16.

Once you’ve got the license, it’s yours until you’re 70 – provided you drive well, of course.

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