Driving licences

To drive a vehicle on the road in the UK you must hold a current driving licence appropriate for the type of vehicle you are driving.

New drivers

When you pass your driving test, you are placed on a two year probationary period.  During these 2 years if you gain six or more penalty points your driving licence will be automatically revoked.

To get your licence back you will need to re-apply for a provisional licence and retake both the written theory test and practical driving test.

Provisional licence

If you hold a provisional licence, you must not drive or ride a motor vehicle of a class authorised by the licence unless supervised by a ‘qualified driver’.

A qualified driver must be over 21 years of age and has held a full British or EU licence for the class of that vehicle for at least three years.

You must also display ‘L’ plates in such a manner that are visible to other road users from a reasonable distance from the front and back of the vehicle.

Supervision from a qualified driver does not refer to motor bicycles or mopeds.

Driving without a licence or against the permissions of your licence is an offence and you risk having your car seized (see insurance offences).

Renewing your licence

Your photocard licence is renewable every ten years.  The DVLA will send you a reminder to the address they hold on record. If you are over 70, you must renew your licence every 3 years.

Legal ages for holding a driving licence

16 years

  • Mopeds

17 years

  • Motorcycles (with or without sidecar)
  • Scooters
  • Cars
  • Vans

18 years

  • Small lorries (3500kg to 7500kg)

21 years

  • Small lorries with trailers
  • Large lorries
  • Articulated lorries
  • Large lorries with trailers
  • Buses
  • Minibuses
  • Road rollers
  • Tracked vehicles

These ages may vary for people with specific disabilities.

Penalty points and disqualification

You will gain penalty points if you have committed an endorsable offence (e.g. speeding, mobile phone etc).  If you gain 12 or more points the courts have the power to disqualify you from driving.  The ban can be of varying lengths.

Once the disqualification period has come to an end, you will either need to re-apply for your licence or take another driving test.  This is dependent on the type of disqualification imposed by the courts.

Certain offences carrying a compulsory disqualification period:

  • Driving with excess alcohol or failing/refusing to provide a sample of breath.
  • Dangerous driving.
  • Aggravated taking of a vehicle without an owner's consent.

Drivers from other countries

If you hold a domestic or convention driving permit issued abroad or a British forces driving licence, you may drive vehicles covered by those authorities in Great Britain for one year.

The permit does not allow you to supervise learner drivers.

If you hold an EU driving licence, you may drive in the UK until you are 70 years old. You must meet the fitness requirements of British drivers.

More help and support

Customer Enquiries Unit
01792 772 151
DVLA Online

20 Jan 21 12:16 PM

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