Congratulations on passing your driving test and obtaining your new driving license in the UK! This momentous achievement opens up a world of possibilities, and you may be wondering how to make the most of it. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to take after receiving your driving license, ensuring a smooth and successful transition into your driving journey.
1. Receiving Your Full Driving License
After the Test
Upon passing your practical driving test, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will typically send you your full driving license automatically. The examiner will:
- Take your provisional photocard driving license.
- Give you a driving test pass certificate.
- Arrange for DVLA to send you your full license.
You can start driving as soon as you’ve passed the practical test. While you wait for the full license to arrive, you can use the driving test pass certificate as proof that you passed.
Applying for a Full License
In some cases, you may need to apply for your full license manually. This could be because:
- You did not give your provisional photocard driving license to the examiner after the test.
- You changed your name or address, and it’s now different from the name or address on the provisional photocard driving license.
- You have an old-style provisional driving license (issued before 1998).
If you need to apply for a full license, follow the steps outlined in the ‘How to Apply’ section below.
2. How to Apply
To apply for a full driving license, you will need to:
- Sign the declaration on your driving test pass certificate.
- Fill in form D1 ‘application for a driving license’ – available from the DVLA website or at post offices.
- Include original documents confirming your identity.
- Include a passport photograph (only if you have a paper provisional license).
- Include your provisional license.
Send all documents to:
Be sure to submit your application within two years of passing your test, or you will have to retake it.
3. Meet the Basic Age and Vision Requirements
Before applying for a provisional driving license, you must meet certain age and vision requirements. You must be at least 15 years and 9 months old and be able to read a number plate from 20 meters (66 ft) away. Test your vision at home using a friend’s or family member’s vehicle.
4. Gather Your Identity Documents
When applying for your provisional license, you will need to provide several identity documents. These may include:
- A current passport
- Biometric residence permit
- European Union or European Economic Area identity card
- Recent bank or building society statement with your National Insurance number
- Birth, adoption, or naturalization certificate
- Photocopy of the front page of your benefits book or original benefits letter
- Marriage certificate or divorce papers
- College or university union card, education certificate, or PASS proof of age card
If your name or gender has changed, additional documents will be required. See the ‘Reference Article 2’ section for more details.
5. Applying for Your Provisional License Online
You can apply for your provisional license online using the Government Gateway ID, your identity document, a list of your addresses for the last three years, and your National Insurance number. There is a £34 application fee, and the system accepts various debit and credit cards.
6. Applying by Post
Alternatively, you can apply by post by filling out form D1 and paying a £47 fee with a cheque or postal order made payable to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Send your application to the appropriate DVLA address listed in ‘Reference Article 2.’
7. Wait for Your Provisional License to Arrive
If you apply online, your license should arrive within one week. If you applied via post, your license could take up to three weeks to arrive. Do not drive before receiving your license.
8. Studying for the Theory Exams
The theory exams are based on three books: The Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs, and Driving: The Essential Skills. Purchase these books and the official guide to hazard perception to prepare for the exams. You can also take online practice theory tests on the government website.
9. Passing the Multiple Choice and Hazard Perception Tests
The theory test consists of a 50-question multiple-choice test and a hazard perception test. You will have 57 minutes to complete the multiple-choice test, and you must correctly answer 43 questions to pass. The hazard perception test requires you to identify developing hazards in 14 video clips.
10. Practice Driving and Schedule Your Practical Driving Exams
Once you have your provisional license, practice driving with an eligible friend, family member, or driving instructor. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency recommends using an approved driving instructor. When you are ready, schedule your practical driving exams by visiting the appropriate government website.
By following these steps and making the most of your new driving license, you will be well on your way to a lifetime of safe and enjoyable driving experiences in the UK.