How to get your driver’s licence

If you've just passed your driving test, find out how to get your full driver's licence and get on the road.

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If you’ve just passed your driving test, then congratulations, you did it. You’ll no doubt want to get hold of your full driver’s licence as quickly as possible. But what are your next steps? Read our guide to find out what information you’ll need in order to get your driver’s licence.

How do I get my full driver’s licence?

How you get your full driver’s licence depends on what type of provisional driver’s licence you have and whether your name stays the same.

In general, you usually have to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 17 years old to learn to drive and take a test
  • Meet the minimum eyesight rules including being able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away
  • Pass your theory test
  • Pass your practical driving test

What information do I need to provide to get my driver’s licence?

The process differs depending on the type of provisional licence you have.

Apply with a provisional photo card licence

If your current provisional driver’s licence is a photo card, and all details on the card remain the same, the examiner that passed you after your test will forward your driving-test pass certificate to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

As you will have already paid for your provisional licence, there will be no cost to getting your full driver’s licence. You should receive your full driver’s licence within a matter of weeks, usually around three weeks.

Apply with a provisional paper licence

If your current provisional licence is a paper driving licence or you have a photo card but need to update either the photo or details on the card, the process will be slightly different from above.

You will need to take the following steps:

Step 1. Complete the declaration section within your driving test pass certificate.
Step 2. Complete an “application for a driving licence”, or a D1 form, which is available from selected post office branches or the DVLA.
Step 3. Provide original proof of your identity.
Step 4. Provide a passport photo.
Step 5. Post your provisional licence along with all other documents, proof of identity and passport photo to the DVLA.

You will have a maximum of two years from the time you passed your test to apply for your full licence. If you don’t apply within this time limit, you will need to take your driving test again.

Once you receive your full driver’s licence, the DVLA should post back your original documents separately.

How much is a new driver’s licence?

As you will have already forked out for your provisional driver’s licence, you will only need to pay for a full driver’s licence if you plan to change the photo along with either your name or your address on the card. The cost of this would be £17, the same as renewing a driver’s licence by post. To replace a lost, damaged or stolen licence, you will need to pay £20 to get a replacement licence.

What other costs should I be aware of after I get my driver’s licence?

Aside from the obvious cost of buying a car, you will also need to purchase car insurance. All vehicles driven in the UK are required to have at least the minimum level of protection offered by insurance companies, which is third party insurance. The car itself will also need to be roadworthy, registered with the DVLA, have up-to-date vehicle tax and have a current MOT certificate.

What happens after I get my driver’s licence?

As long as you have your full driver’s licence, you and your car are insured and your car is taxed and registered, you’ll be able to get out on the road. But remember, you’ll need to stay safe and keep others safe too by driving carefully and abiding by the road laws and regulations.

Why is car insurance so expensive for new drivers?

No matter what your age is, if you’ve recently passed your driving test (well done!), an insurer will consider you to be an inexperienced driver. Because of this, the insurer will also assume that you are more at risk of being involved in an accident and will unfortunately push the insurance premium up to reflect this increased risk. Driving experience as well as several other factors are all considered by insurers when calculating insurance. Your age, where you live, your occupation, the make and model of your car and your annual mileage among other factors will all be assessed and can have an impact on what you pay in premiums.

How to reduce the cost of car insurance for new drivers

  • Choose a cover level that suits you. Contrary to what you might expect, comprehensive cover can be cheaper than third party (TP) or third party, fire and theft so it’s always worth checking. This is because of the risk profile of many people who typically get TP.
  • Increase security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. Letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Advanced driving skills. You could be in line for a discount with certain providers by taking an advanced driving course such as those offered by the Pass Plus scheme.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Pick a smaller car. Choosing to drive a small, safe car is likely to lower your premium.
  • Limit modifications. Any modification made to your car to make it look better or drive faster is likely to increase your premium so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Consider telematics insurance. Having a “black box” fitted to your car to monitor your driving could result in discounts if you drive safely.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare car insurance policies to find the best deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy, so check the cover details carefully.

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