Rules for learning to drive

Before you start to drive, you must:

  • hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured

It is important to learn safe driving practice from the beginning of your driving career because bad habits are hard to break. Therefore it is unlikely that anyone except an approved driving instructor (ADI) would have the experience, knowledge and training to teach you properly.

If you want to practise your driving with an accompanying driver ie a parent, guardian or friend, the accompanying driver must be over the age of 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full licence, in the relevant vehicle category, for three years.

As a learner driver you must display ‘L’ plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.

Minimum age you can take a test

You can take your theory test once your provisional licence becomes valid.

Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday.

So, if you apply for your provisional licence before you are 17 you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.

How to apply for a Provisional Driving Licence

You can apply for your first British provisional driving licence online if you:

  • are a resident of Great Britain
  • can meet the minimum age requirement
  • can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
  • are currently not prevented from driving for any reason
  • can pay £50.00 by Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card
  • have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
  • can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years
  • Apply for Provisional Driving Licence online.

What else you need to know

While applying, you’ll be issued with a Government Gateway user ID. If you already have a Government Gateway user ID, simply enter it with your password.

DVLA will aim to send your driving licence within 10 working days of receipt of your application.

Rules for Surepass Driving Instructors

A fully qualified Surepass approved driving instructor (ADI) must display a green certificate on the windscreen of the car while teaching you. Some of our trainee driving instructors are granted a licence so they can gain experience before their qualifying examination. In this case, the trainee driving instructor must display a pink certificate on the windscreen.

DSA is responsible for maintaining and checking the standards of all approved driving instructors (ADI). In order to qualify all Surepass instructors must:

  • have held a full driving licence for at least four years
  • pass a much tougher theory test than the one learner drivers take
  • pass a strict driving test
  • reach and keep up a high standard of instruction. The standard of tuition given by the ADI is regularly checked by a supervising examiner from DSA
  • be registered with DSA
  • display an ADI identification certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle.

Every Surepass instructor has also had to have a criminal record check. Any instructor who is not considered to be a “fit and proper” person will be barred from becoming a Surepass instructor. If you are already having lessons with another school, how much do you really know about them ? With Surepass, all our instructors undergo the most stringent of tests to provide you with the best quality tuition.