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Driving licence in The UK: Important Tips

A driving licence gives you freedom of movement by land within your borders, and in general, it’s a symbol of freedom! For teenagers, it’s a hallmark of growing up. Are you applying for one? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Provisional vs full licence

Based on whether you need supervision when you drive, there are two kinds of driving licences in the UK: provisional and full licence.

With a provisional licence, you may drive UK roads (except for motorways), but only with the supervision of a driving instructor or another driver over the age of 21 who has held a full licence for at least three years. A provisional licence is needed to take driving lessons and later take driving tests.

While a full licence gives you the right to drive on all UK roads without supervision. You must have passed your practical driving test to get a full licence.


To drive safely on the road, you must satisfy the eyesight standards set by the UK government. You must:

  • Be able to read a number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres
  • Have visual acuity no less than 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale
  • Have an adequate field of vision.

These conditions apply to both your eyes or in your one working eye. The use of contact lenses and glasses to reach good eyesight conditions are allowed. Have eye checks with your optician to determine whether your vision is adequate.

Different conditions apply for bus and lorry drivers.

You may be persecuted for driving without meeting eyesight standards, so take care of your eyes and always have adequate seeing aids if you need them! You must also inform the DVLA if you have problems that affect your eyesight.

Medical conditions

Just as important as eyesight, some medical conditions may affect your driving. Therefore, you must inform the DVLA if you have medical conditions that qualify under such. Check with your doctor and see the list of conditions, as well as whether you need to report your condition on the gov.uk website.

Prepare for your tests well

To get a full driving licence, you will have to pass theory and driving tests. Just like in school you will have to prepare for them, including for the theory test.

Learn more and practice the different parts of the theory test: the multiple-choice questions and the hazard perception test. There are various resources you can use to prepare for and practice taking these tests. Start from the gov.uk site to get a good grasp of what you will have to do, then use their online resources to prepare.

What to bring to your test

When applying for your full licence, you must bring your photocard driving licence. If you hold a Northern Irish driving licence, bring the photocard and the paper counterpart licence.

Due to pandemic restrictions, there are some rules regarding face coverings. In England, you may choose to wear or not wear one during your test. In Scotland and Wales, however, if you choose to not wear one, you must have a good reason for it, such as impairment, disability, or illness. You must inform the DVSA of this reason.

Your personal belongings, such as phones, earphones, watches, must be stored away.

What if you lost your licence?

You must have your licence with you when taking your test. So, if you lost yours, you will have to apply for a replacement. It may take up to fifteen days to arrive.

Reschedule your test if you cannot get your replacement licence on time.

Don’t try to cheat

This is common-sense advice for any test, but we still have to mention it. Passing your theory test by cheating potentially endangers other drivers on the road. You may be sent to prison and banned from driving if you’re caught cheating.

Application tips

Provisional licence

You may apply for a provisional licence online or by post. The application fee is £34 for online applications and £43 for postal applications. It’s cheaper and more hassle-free to apply online, so we recommend it.

Here are what you will need for an online provisional licence application:

  • Your identity document
  • Addresses where you’ve lived for up to the last 3 years

Full licence

To apply for a full licence, you can only apply by post. Here are the documents you will need to apply for a full licence:

  • A declaration that you passed your driving tests
  • A completed D1 form
  • original documents to confirm your identity
  • if you have a paper provisional licence, a photograph matching the requirements.

The photograph can be a surprising stumbling block for a successful application, so instead of worrying whether your photo matches the requirements, you can trust the professionals like Visafoto.



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