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Applying for your provisional licence
Image © Motoring Research
How do I get a provisional licence?
You can apply for a provisional driving licence up to three months before your 17th birthday. So if you want to get out onto the roads the moment you come of age you need to plan ahead! You can apply for the licence by filling out the D1 application form from the post office or online here.Bear in mind it takes around three weeks for the DVLA to process your application so you want to be applying at least a month before your birthday. As a new driver you'll get a photocard-style licence and a paper counterpart - keep this safe because you'll need both parts when going for your theory and practical tests!
How much does it cost and what do I need to do?
Welcome to the costly world of motoring and your first driving expenditure! Getting a provisional licence costs £50, plus the expense of getting some passport style photos and posting your documents to the DVLA. Your photo needs to be recent and your head should be 29-34mm high and not obscured by glasses, hats or similar. Consider your haircut too - you'll be stuck with this photo on your licence for good unless you fancy paying the £17.50 update fee! And if you've got a digital passport (you have if your signature and photo are on the same page) the DVLA can check your identity without you having to send your passport to them.
What can I drive with a provisional licence?
Got your licence? Well done. Now you can take to the roads. Your provisional licence is valid until your 70th birthday and you can drive any car, assuming of course you can get insurance and you are accompanied by a suitably qualified person. And that doesn't mean your mate who passed last week.Your chaperone must have held a full licence for at least three years and be aged 21 or over. If that's you don't think you can use your learner driver brother or sister as a taxi for a night at the pub either - the supervising driver must remain within the drink drive limit too.
Are there any restrictions?
Well, you need to have received your provisional licence from the DVLA before you drive anywhere so don't even think about starting until you have the paperwork in your hand. There aren't any restrictions on the type of car you can drive - beyond what your insurance company will allow of course.The main thing to remember is that you are not allowed on motorways as a learner driver. If you want to get a flavour of multi-lane roads you can, however, drive on dual carriageways where the 70mph limit applies. This is good experience and can prepare you for motorway driving once you've passed.
Provisional licence online application
What to do once you've passed
Overcome driving test nerves
How to get your provisional licence
How to arrange insurance
Pass your theory test
Learning to drive: the basics
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