So, you’ve been slaving away behind the wheel for months, and your instructor finally tells you you’re ready to take your practical test. But where do you go from here?
The key thing to bear in mind is that you shouldn’t be thinking about taking your practical test until your instructor says you’re ready – and you can’t apply for it anyway, until you’ve already passed your theory test.
Assuming you can tick both of those boxes, you can book your practical test online, over the phone or through the post. If you’re doing an upgrade test (for a manual car if you’ve already got a licence to drive an automatic), the booking has to be made by phone, but you won’t need a theory test pass certificate in this instance.
Ensure you book only through the official website; third-party sites levy a charge and may not offer any real benefit in return.
When you make your booking you’ll need to have to hand:
- Your UK driving licence number.
- Your theory test pass certificate number.
- A credit or debit card to make the payment
If you’ve already managed to lose your theory test certificate, you can still get the details online – it’s free and available 24/7. You’ll need to have to hand your name, driving licence number and date of birth.
Take this route and you’ll get a test date/time straight away, along with a booking reference. You’ll need a credit or debit card handy and whoever makes the booking will need to be the card holder.
The number you need to call is 0300 200 1122, between 8am and 12pm (mid-day) Monday to Friday. There’s also a textphone/minicom number (0300 200 1144) if you have suitable kit to use it.
Before making your booking, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the following info to hand:
- Your theory test pass certificate number
- Your driver number (on your licence)
- Driving school code number (if known, so your instructor isn’t double-booked)
- Your preferred date and any dates you can’t do
- Details of any disability or special circumstances
You can also book your practical test through the post, by filling out form DL26 (postal application for a practical driving test appointment). The form is available from theory and practical driving test centres along with approved driving instructors.
If you need more info on what’s required there's a separate sheet available (form DL26/1, advice on booking and attending for a practical driving test), but this page should explain all.
Send the completed form with your payment by cheque or postal order (don't send cash) to the address on the booking form.
Points to consider:
- You can find your nearest practical driving test centre on the Department for Transport website
- A list of current driving test fees are available on the gov.uk website.
- Waiting times can vary between two or three weeks to as much as three months
- To keep waiting times down, tests are sometimes available from 8am, in the evenings (during the summer) and at weekends – but not everywhere. You’ll pay more to take your test at the weekend though.