How much does a provisional driving licence cost?

I’m learning to drive! Woo. Yep, I’m in my 30’s which is maybe a little sad – but now I’m obsessed with all things driving as I come up to my test. So – How much does a provisional driving licence cost? Well simply, £34 if you pay online or £43 if you apply by post. But careful, there are dodgy companies out there that will charge you more!

The good news that when you pass your practical test, your provisional driving licence will be converted into a full driving licence at no extra cost.

Which phew – because the whole learning to drive process is massively expensive. Have been looking for 1L second-hand cars recently, for when I pass my test and I kid you not – prices were coming up from £1,300 for insurance! I’m way into my 30’s. (Here’s a little trick to cut costs).

How much is a provisional driving licence?

The cost of a provisional driving licence depends on how you apply:

  • £34 when you apply online
  • £43 when you apply via post.

That’s a whopping difference to end up with the same thing, so do what you can to keep it online.

Here’s the really important thing. If you don’t buy your provisional driving licence in the right place, you may end up paying more, for nothing.

Only ever go through the DVLA website which means you’ll receive the minimum charge. There are lot’s of companies/agencies out there that trick you into using them to get your provisional driving licence.

These companies take your information, enter it into the DVLA website for you, then charge you a fee for your time on top. They often come up in the Ads in Google.

Do that – you’ll end up paying more, needlessly for your provisional driving license. So be careful.

How much is a replacement driving licence in the UK?

Need to replace your driving licence in the UK? It will cost you £20 for each replacement licence.

I have a really bad habit of losing my wallet (especially after a drink or two!). I’m not alone because according to the official records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, a whopping 931,527 people in 2017 had to buy a replacement driving licence in the UK. It cost us Brits £19 MILLION.

If you have lost your driving license (or if it has expired), you just need to go to the official Government portal. Again, like above, be careful of those shady companies that will charge you more for the same thing.

You’ll need to supply:

  • A list of addresses you’ve lived at for the last three years (which is easier said than done – especially when you’re young and living in flats!),
  • Your passport,
  • National Insurance number and driving licence numbers.

You don’t need to supply your own photo if your licence is due to expire within two years, or you have a valid passport as the DVLA will use an electronic photograph of you for this.

It’s important to remember that after you’ve replaced your driving licence – if the old one crops up (which is always the bloody case after you’ve paid out and put the effort in, right?), you will have to send in your old driving licence back to the DVLA.

How do I apply for a provisional licence?

You’ve got to be really careful here because there are companies which are a bit of a scam which will charge you extra to do it for you when it’s easy enough to do on your own.

How to apply for a provisional driving licence online

You can do it in Welsh or English, and you do it online on the website.

To do it, you’re going to have to be at least 15 years and nine months old. You’ve also got to be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away, which isn’t too much of a reach unless you have really bad eyesight.

And look – here’s a video from the Government on how you apply for a provisional driving licence.

Once you have applied for your provisional driving licence, you can track your application online. You know, if you’re super keen!

How to apply for a provisional driving licence via post

Ironically, to apply for a provisional driving licence via post (which costs more by the way) the easiest way to get the forms is online, via the DVLA website.

The forms can be posted to any address in the UK. Some can be downloaded and then printed off, but others can’t be because they include features that can’t be printed, like a clear plastic window to attach a photo.

However, you can also pick up these forms at a Post Office that deals with vehicle licencing. That sounds easier said than done to me, considering every post office close to me seems to close down.

So yeah, unless a Post Office close to you does it, I would heavily recommend you just do it online as you’re going to have to go online anyway to get the forms, and it is 1/3 cheaper.

When can I apply for a provisional licence?

You can apply any time for a provisional driving licence when you want to start learning how to drive, but you have to be at least 15 years and 9 months old.

That said, you can’t actually drive until you have received it in the post.

Or of course, you can be old like me. There’s no limit on when you can apply.

Something you should consider too is that you should only apply for a provisional driving licence if you can read a standard licence plate from a distance of 20 metres. so if you can’t, hold off from applying until you’ve sorted yourself out with glasses or contact lenses.

What documents do I need for a provisional licence?

Right, so you’re ready to bag yourself a provisional licence. Thing is, you’re going to have to be able to prove to the DVLA that you are who you say you are. Well.. obviously!

If you do need to provide identity documents, they must be originals – scanning or photocopying them won’t cut the mustard.

If you currently hold a valid UK biometric passport (that’s most new ones, to be honest), you are able to use your 9-digit passport number for your driving licence application.

That’s the best way of doing it because you don’t have to actually send anything off then. Plus, I get stressed sending important original documents off in the post – things get lost too easily.

However, if you don’t hold a biometric passport, you can also use:

  • A valid and current passport
  • A biometric residence permit (BRP).
  • A UK certification of naturalisation
  • A European Union or European Economic Area national identity card
  • A travel document

You’re going to have to find someone to sign your form and photo, which is a bit of a pain as the people who can do it is pretty specific.

The person must:

  • Be classed as a resident of the UK
  • Know you personally, (URGH! Means you have to ask a stranger for a favour!)
  • Not be related to you
  • Not residing or living at the same address as you

Suitable people can include:

  • A local business person
  • A librarian
  • Anyone who is professionally qualified (lawyers/doctors etc)
  • A police officer
  • A member of staff from a bank or building society
  • A civil servant
  • A minister of religion
  • A magistrate
  • A local councillor
  • A politician.

Be aware, the DVLA might get in contact with the person who signs your application. So no funny business!

You’ll get your driving licence and identity document returned separately.

You should include a stamped self-addressed special delivery envelope if you would prefer your identity documents to be returned by special delivery. It’s probably worth the extra money because it will cost you a hell of a lot more to replace your passport for example.

If you haven’t got them back within three weeks, contact the DVLA and kick-off!

Do you need a provisional licence to take a theory test?

Long story short – yes!

When you turn up to take your driving Theory Test, you need to take along your photocard driving licence.

When I had my test, you had to wait in a queue and you literally couldn’t get through to the waiting room until you showed the people at the desk your provisional licence.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to bring along the photocard AND the paper counterpart licence.

Make sure you don’t forget this because your Theory Test jus twill not going ahead if you don’t bring along the right documentation with you to the Theory Test centre.

So if you’ve lost your provisional licence in between booking and the actual date of your test – cancel it or call to reschedule or you’ll end up wasting money. There’s no sweet-talking them.

What happens if you lose your provisional licence?

It’s so easy to do – you get your provisional license then, poof – it’s gone. I personally like to blame my boyfriend for all the things I lose. It’s good to put that frustrating energy somewhere else! ha.

It’s OK – if it’s properly gone, it’s fine. You’ll just need to apply for a new provisional licence. It’s going to cost you money and time – but it’s not the end of the world.

You can do this online (see link above), by phone or by post. But again with everything driving licence related – try and stick to doing it online if you don’t want to give yourself a headache.

You just do it on the official DVLA website and fill out the form. This works if it’s gone missing, is damaged or destroyed.

This is a little bit easier said than done as you’re going to need a bit of information to get going including your Government Gateway ID (have fun fishing out that!).

Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to provide:

  • Driving licence number
  • Passport number
  • National Insurance number
  • Address of every place you’ve lived in the last three years

You’re also going to have to pay £20 for the replacement. The DVLA accepts all the major credit and debit cards for this payment, including MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Maestro and Delta.

After you’ve applied online, you should get your licence in the post within a week.

So that’s probably absolutely everything you could possibly need to know about provisional driving licences. They’re good for learning to drive, but also for ID.

In fact, I’ve had a provisional driving licence since I was 16, even though I didn’t learn to drive until way into my 30’s because it’s an accepted form of ID throughout the world, and safer to carry, and easier to replace, than your passport.

If you have any other provisional driving licence areas you want me to cover, let me know and I’ll do my research!

Good luck with your tests if you’re taking one or just starting to learn to drive.


  1. Elmer Baker March 15, 2022
  2. Pianino July 2, 2022

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