How to snag a driver’s license in the UK in 9 easy steps!

London is a place where traffic crawls like a snail with a hangover and parallel parking is an Olympic sport. We never cease being astonished that people still want to get driver’s licences here. 

That said, if you’re in a masochistic mood yourself, we won’t judge… too much. In fact, we’ll even show you how to get a driver’s licence in the UK! 

How to apply for a driver’s licence in the UK?

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DifficultyVery Easy ●○○○○
Time required2 – 4 weeks
Things you needA computer, access to the internet, a valid UK passport or another form of identification, a National Insurance number, and proof of your address (such as a utility bill).

To apply for a driver’s licence in the UK, apply for a provisional licence, start driving lessons, prepare for and take the theory test, book and take the practical driving test, and then apply for and receive the full driving licence. 

Want to learn more? Let’s break those steps down below!

Step 1: Check your eligibility

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The eligibility criteria for a UK driving licence are pretty strict. You need to 

  • be at least 17 years old, 
  • hold a valid UK passport or other identity documents, 
  • and have good enough eyesight to read a number plate from 20 meters away. 

The good news is that checking your eligibility is a piece of cake. All you need to do is go online and visit the UK government’s official website. 

There, you’ll find a section on driver’s licences, and you can click on the “Apply for your first provisional driving licence” link. 

You’ll then be asked to fill out some basic information, such as your name, address, and date of birth. 

The website will then check your eligibility and let you know whether you can apply for a provisional licence. If you are eligible, congratulations! You’re one step closer to hitting the road.

Step 2: Apply for a provisional licence

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Once you’ve checked your eligibility and made sure you meet the requirements for a UK driver’s licence, it’s time to apply for a provisional licence. 

Once you’re on the UK government’s website, look for the section on driver’s licences, and locate the option that says “Apply for your first provisional driving licence”. Clickety-click, and you’re on your way!

You’ll need to input details like your name, address, and National Insurance number. Once you’ve filled in all the required fields and uploaded your dashing photo, you’ll need to pay a fee amounting to £34.

Yep, nothing in life is free, not even your ticket to automotive freedom.

After your payment is processed (fingers crossed for no technical hiccups), you’ll receive a confirmation email letting you know that your application is in the works.

Step 3: Start driving lessons

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Once you’ve checked your eligibility and obtained your snazzy provisional licence, it’s time to get behind the wheel and start your driving lessons.

Keep in mind that driving lessons are like a crash course (no pun intended) in the rules of the road, vehicle control, and how to avoid becoming a spectacle on YouTube compilations. They’re important, in other words.

So, find a reputable driving school or instructor. For example, you can try to enrol at RED Driving School, which is one of the largest driving schools in the UK, including London. 

Once you’ve found your driving guru, it’s time to book your first lesson. Your instructor will guide you through the basics of vehicle control, road signs, and how to navigate the treacherous London traffic without losing your cool (or your side mirror).

During your lessons, you’ll practice various manoeuvres, from the dreaded parallel parking to the art of merging lanes without causing a 10-mile traffic jam. 

Step 4: Prepare for the theory test

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Get your hands on a trusty driving theory book before the test. You can find them at bookstores, and online retailers like WHSmith.

You’ll also find numerous websites offering mock theory tests, interactive tutorials, and even videos that explain the intricacies of the highway code like Theory Test Online

Also, don’t forget the power of good old-fashioned revision. Make flashcards, create catchy rhymes to remember tricky road signs, etc. You’d be surprised how much information you can retain with a little creativity.

Step 5: Take the theory test

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On the day of your theory test, make sure you bring the necessary documents, such as your provisional licence and confirmation of your booking. 

Arrive with a cool, confident swagger (and maybe a good luck charm or two) and prepare to dazzle the examiners with your brilliance. 

If you’re wondering, by the way: you’ll face a series of multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge of the highway code and a hazard perception section that will gauge your ability to spot potential dangers on the road. 

Step 6: Book the practical driving test

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Now for the practical driving test! You need to book this with our friends at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Head over to their official website and navigate to the practical driving test section. 

When you’ve found the booking page, enter your details, including your provisional licence number, and choose a test centre that suits your geographical preferences. 

Once you’ve selected your preferred test centre, you’ll be presented with a range of available test dates and times. 

Step 7: Take the practical driving test

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On the day of your practical driving test, it’s important to arrive at the designated test centre with a cool, confident demeanour. 

Remember, you’ve got this! Take a deep breath, channel your inner James Bond (minus the gadgets and the Aston Martin), and impress the examiner with your driving finesse. 

Throughout the test, stay calm and collected. Follow the examiner’s instructions, and if you make a mistake, don’t panic. 

Once the test is complete, it’s time for the moment of truth—the examiner’s verdict. They’ll provide you with feedback and let you know whether you’ve passed or need to give it another shot. 

Step 8: Apply for a full licence

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Now it’s time to visit the UK government’s official website. Head over to the driver’s licence section and locate the subsection on applying for a full licence. 

Fill out the required forms, input your personal information, and bask in the joy of becoming an official member of the road-going elite.

When completing the application, you’ll need to provide details from your pass certificate, including the test date, the test centre, and your unique reference number. 

Applying for a full licence comes with a fee of £34. Once you’ve completed the application and paid the required fee, it’s time to eagerly await the arrival of your full driver’s licence.

Step 9: Receive your driving licence

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Now, to obtain this coveted piece of plastic, you’ll need to exercise a bit of patience. Your application will be processed by the mighty forces at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Once your licence has been processed and is ready for delivery, it will be sent to the address you provided during the application process. 

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