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UK provisional driving licence
A UK provisional driving licence permits you to drive on UK roads (excluding motorways), whilst under the supervision of your driving instructor or another driver over the age of 21, who has been a driving licence holder themselves for three years or more. This licence will need to be presented when you come to take your theory test, your hazard perception test, and your practical driving test, and will also be needed in your first driving lesson with an instructor.
Who can get a UK provisional driving licence?
In order to apply for your provisional licence, you need to be a resident of the United Kingdom. You can apply for your licence as soon as you are 15 years and 9 months old, but the licence will only become valid when you turn 16 and can only be used to drive a car when you turn 17. Your eyesight must also be good enough to be able to read a standard number plate (made after 1st September 2001) from a 20 metre distance, with glasses/contact lenses if necessary.
Also, you must ensure that you inform the DVLA if you currently suffer, or ever have suffered, from a condition that has the potential to affect your driving. Check out the DVLA’s page on the UK Government website to learn the health conditions that could affect your driving and how you can tell the DVLA about any you may have. You need to remember to do this, as it is a criminal offence not to inform the DVLA about a health condition that may affect your driving, carrying a fine of up to £1000. If you get into an accident because of an undisclosed health condition, you could even be prosecuted. These conditions can include, but are not necessarily limited to:
If the DVLA believes that your condition will make you a hazard on the road, they reserve the right to deny you a licence. If a doctor concludes that you should avoid driving, as you won’t be able to drive safely for at least 3 months, you may even be asked to surrender your licence entirely, until your condition improves. If you’re worried about a condition you may have, you should consult your GP to see how it would affect your driving, and if it is still safe for you to drive.
UK provisional driving licence application process
Unless you choose to fill out your application online, you must write your details on the application in full capital letters with black ink.
While applying, you need to give your biometric information and supply the nine-digit code for the DVLA to confirm your identity. Aside from these, there are many other forms of documentation that you could supply. These other forms will also need sending along with your licence application:
Further proof of identity must be supplied alongside it, which could take the form of, for example, your National Insurance Card, P45, P60, or payslips.
UK provisional driving licence costs
The UK provisional driving licence currently comes at a cost of £43.00, which is payable either by cheque or through a postal order (or £34.00 if applied for online). Once you have passed your driving test, the DVLA will ensure your licence is automatically exchanged for a new driving licence, this time a full licence, free of charge. Once that’s been done, you’ll be free to explore the open road however you wish, even going on motorways! Remember, though, you’ll need to take a new driving licence photo if you plan on changing or renewing your licence at any point.
The UK Provisional Driving Licence is a special type of photocard driving licence that gives learner drivers limited permission to drive on the UK roads, before they pass their driving test. They must be accompanied and supervised by a qualified driving instructor or another driver over the age of 21, who has held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years. They are not permitted to drive on motorways.
To apply for a provisional driving licence, you need to submit a provisional driving licence form, accompanied by some supporting documentation and, most importantly, a provisional driving licence picture that carries all your biometric information and fits all the government’s provisional driving licence picture requirements. To find out more about how this process works and how to get the perfect photo, read on!
When sending a photo for a provisional driving licence application, you have to make sure you have the right UK passport-sized photograph. You can quickly generate a suitable image by using the photo booths found in shopping and leisure areas, or train stations. Alternatively, you can take your provisional driving licence picture online using the Passport Photo Online site or app. You can have your new image ready to go in mere seconds! Read our handy guide to the requirements first and find out how to use this simple and fast photo tool.
It is important to remember that the photograph needs to be signed by a suitable countersignatory. These countersignatories need to fulfil a number of criteria.
General UK provisional driving licence photo rules:
The standardised dimensions for a provisional driving licence photo in the UK are 45mm x 35mm. In terms of digital photos, the resolution must be at least 600 pixels in width and 750 pixels in height, but the recommended dimensions for a UK provisional driving licence application are 900 x 1200 pixels. The file size needs to be between 50 KB and 10 MB. Remember that digital photos, as well as printed ones, should be of good quality, very clear and must not be altered using retouching software like Photoshop.
The digital passport photo must be taken against a plain light, neutral coloured background, so that the person in the picture is in clear contrast to the background. Make sure the lighting in the room is right and your face is evenly lit. It is important to expose facial features, critical for biometric photos. Be sure that the background is not textured and that there aren’t any objects visible in the photo.
The positioning of your head, as well as your whole body in the driving licence photo, is very important. You have to stand straight in front of the camera and look directly into the lens. Your head must be positioned straight – you should avoid tilting it sideways! Also, side-profile photos are not accepted and will result in your application being rejected.
In the picture, your eyes are required to be open and visible. You must take special care to ensure that the colour of your irises is easily recognisable. The regulations say you need to make sure that there is no ‘red eye’ effect, so we advise you to avoid using a flash. Remember that your hair cannot cover your eyes, so if you currently have a fringe, you must make sure it doesn’t cover or obscure your eyes.
It is important that you keep your facial expressions as neutral as possible. Smiling, showing teeth, frowning or grimacing is not allowed. Your mouth must also be closed.
You must avoid wearing sunglasses or tinted glasses. Glasses that are medically necessary, e.g., after an operation, are allowed as long as they do not reflect light and do not cause glare. When wearing medical glasses, your eyes must still be fully visible, so you have to ensure that the frames of your glasses do not obscure them.
There are no special guidelines for hairstyles on digital British passport photos. Your hair may be tied back or loose, but you must make sure it does not cover your face. Even a small fragment of it. To avoid this, it would probably be best to brush your hair backwards, but your ears don’t need to be visible. Remember that your forehead and eyebrows should be visible, so make sure you aren't covering your eyebrows with hair either.
For the photo, you will need to take off any head coverings, such as hats, headbands, caps etc. However, religious and medical head coverings are exceptions to the rule. It is also worth remembering that, even in these cases, your religious and medical headgear must not cover your face.
We know that taking photos for documents can be a complicated process. In order to make the process of applying for your British provisional driving licence easier and quicker, remember that you can do it all online by using our provisional licence photo maker.
The tools available on the Passport Photo Online site measure the image you upload and then adjust and crop the picture to the right dimensions for the British authorities. Then, it will also remove any unsuitable colours or patterns from the background and change them to make them a more uniform white or off-white. For the final stage of the process, it fulfills the role of a photo validator, which comprehensively assesses the quality of your photo and will mark it as acceptable if the image truly meets the UK Government’s biometric specifications. Otherwise it works like a photo editor to automatically ensure that your photo meets the official government requirements.
If you need a photo for your provisional driving licence and you decide to try taking your pictures at home, you should definitely check out our photo booth app or website, which can perfectly edit any photo to the right size for the document you want. Try it now!
If you already know the requirements, now it is time to put them into practice by trying to take photos for your UK provisional driving licence by yourself! Below, you will find listed a few steps that will make the whole process easier for you:
You are probably wondering what NOT to do while taking a photo for your provisional driving licence. Passports, visas, driving licences or other identity/travel documents can cause some stress connected with the application as well as the process of taking the photographs. But, you want your document to get accepted, right? Make sure to read up on what to avoid and you will know what mistakes not to make.
Things to avoid when taking your provisional driving licence photos:
You should avoid wearing clothes of the same colour as the photo background – you do not want to blend into the background, right? Make sure that you stand out colour wise from your chosen background and that there are no patterns or shadows either on you or in the background. We recommend that you wear a darker colour, but not black. This way, the contrast will be just right, and you won’t fade into your background.
Last update: 24.09.2021
Last update: 30/09/2022
The UK provisional driving licence grants its holder permission to drive on the UK roads (excluding motorways) whilst under the supervision of a qualified driving instructor or another driver, who is aged 21 or over and has already held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years.
Yes. If you want to apply for a UK provisional driving licence, you will need to submit some supporting documents, among others a biometric UK provisional driving licence photo.
A countersignatory for a provisional driving licence photo must fulfil a number of criteria. The Government guidelines regarding who exactly can serve as a countersignatory are very strict. They have to:
A provisional driving licence is a permit to learn to drive on all UK roads except motorways, provided you are supervised. You can be supervised by a qualified driving instructor or any other driver, as long as they're over the age of 21 and have held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years.
Your picture for your provisional driving licence needs to be in colour and the background must be a neutral colour, e.g. white or cream, you must be sitting straight and staring into the camera. The photos should show your head in its entirety, with no hats, helmets, or sunglasses obscuring your face. In particular, you need to ensure that your eyes and eyebrows can be seen and are not obscured by your hair.
The photo size requirements for a provisional driving licence photo in the UK are 45mm x 35mm. When dealing with digital photos, the resolution in pixels needs to be at least 600 wide and 750 pixels high, however the recommended dimensions for a UK provisional driving licence application are 900 x 1200 pixels in size. The digital file size needs to be at least 50 KB and no larger than 10 MB.
Yes. The requirements for both your driving licence photo and your UK passport photo will be the same in terms of size, background colour, facial expression, head position, etc. They are both biometric photographs, so it is important to clearly show your features. Nothing can cover your face or appear in the background. You must ensure you avoid wearing glasses unless it is for a medical reason, but there still can’t be any flash reflection or shine on them.
Sunglasses must be avoided in your picture, as they will hide your eyes. Medically necessary glasses are allowed, as long as the frames do not obscure any of your facial features, especially your eyes and eyebrows. Bear in mind, there also cannot be any flash reflection or shine on them.
The provisional licence is currently priced at £43.00, which you can pay by cheque or postal order (or £34.00 if applied for online). After you have passed your driving test, your provisional licence will be exchanged for a full driving licence automatically, at no extra cost to you.
The rules state that you need to have a neutral facial expression, with your mouth closed. Anything else, like smiling or frowning, is likely to get your application rejected, and you’ll have to start from the beginning.