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For many teenagers obtaining their driving licence is a rite of passage, a tangible step in the direction of adulthood, and a milestone worth celebrating. As a young adult, the freedom that comes from being able to go where you want, when you want, is a strong motivating factor in deciding to get a driving license. There are also many adults that may not have needed a driving licence when they were younger, but now want the freedom of travel and the flexibility that a license allows them.
No matter your age or reason why you want a driving license, the first step is always the same; learning how to drive. The length of time this takes depends on a multitude of factors that are important to consider when thinking of pursuing your driving licence. In this article, we’ll break down exactly how long it takes to learn how to drive and the various factors that influence how long it will take you.
The first thing you should do when pursuing a driving licence is to check and make sure that you are actually allowed to drive. There are certain requirements in place to ensure that everyone on the road meets certain physical and age-related standards as well as ensuring the vehicle being driven is safe to operate on UK roads.
Here’s a breakdown of the requirements that you’ll need to meet before your legally allowed to learn how to drive:
- You must be at least 15 years and 9 months old to apply for a provisional licence which allows you to practice driving with a qualified driver or instructor
- You must be 17 years old to independently drive a car (16 years old if you have received or applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- The ability to read a car number plate made after 01/09/2001 (glasses or contact lenses are permitted)
- Meet the minimum visual acuity standard of decimal 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale using both eyes or if you have sight in only one eye, then that eye (glasses or contact lenses are permitted)
- You must have an adequate field of vision as determined by your optician
- You must display L plates (both L plates and D plates are permitted in Wales)
- The vehicle must be registered with the DVLA
- Have up to date vehicle tax and a current MOT certificate (if necessary)
- The vehicle must be roadworthy
Step 1: Obtain a Provisional Licence
Once you’ve determined that you’re legally qualified to drive then it’s time to obtain your provisional licence. Your provisional licence allows you to practice driving while being supervised by a qualified driver. Typically this is a driving instructor or a friend or family member who is over the age of 21, has had a license for over 3 years and is qualified to drive the type of vehicle that you want to receive your licence for.
Below you’ll find the requirements to apply for your provisional licence from the DVLA (Northern Irish citizens will need to apply via the DVA):
- An identity document or valid UK biometric passport
- A list addresses where you’ve lived over the past 3 years
- You National Insurance number if you have it available
- Pay the £600 fee by debit or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta)
Applying In-Person or by Post
- Fill out form D1 (available at the post office)
- Provide an original identity document or valid UK passport number
- Pay the £43 fee (cheque or postal order when applying by post)
- If applying by post, send the documents and payment to DVLA Swansea, SA99 1AD
- Renew your driving licence online
- Renew your driving licence
- Apply for a provisional driving licence
- The photocard driving licence explained
- The photo for your driving licence