More about Driving Licence UK, and Driving Licence Categories

Driving Licence

In UK, driving licence is an authorised document, which authenticates the licence holders to drive and operate different motor vehicles on the private roads as well as on the motorways. In Great Britain, the department of The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) provides driving licences. But in NI, the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has the authority to approve licences in different driving licence categories. As per the Road Traffic Act UK of 1988; s.192, a valid driving licence is a must in Great Britain for an individual to ride a vehicle on the highways and other roads. As per the applicable clauses related to driving licence regulatory, similar requirements are in practice in Northern Ireland also under the different sections of 1981 Northern Ireland Road Traffic Order.

In order to drive a car or a van or 4 or more wheelers a person needs to be 17 years and above. However, at the age of 16, one can start riding a moped, scooter, or a limited-power motorcycle. Those citizens who receive the Disability Living Allowance have an exemption in the age restriction and they can start driving a 4-wheeler from age 16. The licence aspirants have to first get a provisional licence first. The provisional driving licence holders have to then pass the main UK driving licence test that consists of three sections as theory, perception of real-time road hazards test, as well as driving examination with a supervisor. On passing this test, the provisional licence gets upgraded to the full UK driving licence. While holding just a provisional licence, the driver has to abide by certain restrictions as follows;

  • L-plates must be displayed on the front and backside of the vehicles driven by a provisional licence holder.
  • The learners or provisional licence holders driving any vehicles has to be accompanied by someone who has a full licence and is or above 21 years of age for that particular category vehicle. There are exceptions for motorbikes and other vehicles with just the option of carrying only the rider; however, the display board is a must.
  • No trailers are supposed to be attached to the vehicle. Only on getting a full driving licence, one can get the permission to drive larger goods vehicles with a trailer attached to it.
  • Motorcycle or moped riders with provisional driving licence categories cannot carry another passenger along with them.
  • The provisional licence holders should not use major motorways, however some exceptions are there.

Renewing a Driving licence

Renewing Driving Licence Transactions
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Driving licence categories

There are several different driving licence categories in United Kingdom, which are issued based on the category of vehicles handled. The major driving licence categories are as described below.

  • Licence Category AM (age 16): Is meant for limited power moped with a speed of less than 45 km per hour and CBT certificate.
  • Category A1 (age 17): For motorbike of less than 125 cc. The output power should be 11kW or less.
  • Category A2 (age 17): Motorcycles up to 25 kW power output.
  • Category A (age 21): Any motorcycles with or without sidecars.
  • Licence Category B1 (age 17): For 3 or 4-wheeled light vehicles up to 550 kg
  • Category B Cars (age 17): Motor vehicles with MAM less than 3500 kg, and less than or equal to 8 seats. A trailer with MAM less than 750 kg is allowed.
  • Category B Minibuses (age 21): Valid for mini buses with more than 9 and less than 16 seats. The MAM of the vehicles should be less than 3.5 tonnes. It can be up to 4.25 tonnes including special arrangements to carry passengers with disabilities. No trailers.
  • Category B Automatic (age 17): Similar license as for category B, but only for automatic vehicles.
  • Category B+E (age 17): For cars with trailers. It is similar to category B; trailers can be used which are heavier than B category.
  • Licence Category C1 (age 18): Medium-sized vehicles between 3500 kilograms and 7,500 kg. A trailer is allowed, but weight less than 750 kg.
  • Category C1+E (age 21): Again for medium-sized vehicles with heavier trailers. Category C1 vehicles with trailers of MAM more than 750 kg. However the combination mass should not be more than 12,000 kg. The MAM of the trailer must be less than the mass of the vehicle.
  • Category C (age 21): For larger vehicles of over 3,500 kg and also for vehicles over 7,500 kg and a trailer of less than or equal to 750 kg.
  • Category C+E (age 21): Category C vehicles and a trailer of weight more than 750 kg.
  • Licence Category D1 (age 21): For minibuses with 9 to 16 passenger seats. Trailer is allowed up to 750 kg.
  • Category D1+E (age 21): Minibuses of Category D1 and a trailer are allowed with MAM over 750 kg. However, the combined weight should not go beyond 12000 kg. The trailer MAM should also not be higher than the mass of parent vehicle.
  • Category D (age 21): For any type of buses with 8 or more passenger seats. Trailer with mass of 750 kg or less is allowed.
  • Category D+E (age 21): 8-seater buses with allowed trailer mass above 750 kg.

Apart from the above driving licence categories for general-purpose vehicles, there are special driving licence categories also;

  • Licence Category F (age 19): Tractors used for farming and agriculture.
  • Licence Category G (age 21): Road rollers.
  • Licence Category K (age 16): The machines like a mowing machine operated by pedestrian.
  • Licence Category H (age 21): Tracked type of vehicles

Category L and Category N were also there previously for electric vehicles and other short-distance vehicles; however, these driving licence categories were then deprecated and dissolved into Category B and B1.

Applying for driving licence

It is very easy now to apply for the UK provisional driving licence online. One can apply using the Government Gateway ID. However, if you don't have an ID, you will be able to re-register and can get an ID as part of your application process. The following conditions are applicable.

  • You should be resident of the country. However, there is a different service in Northern Ireland.
  • You should meet the minimum age requirements for each category.
  • Should be tested to meet the specified eyesight requirement.
  • You should not be one who is prevented from driving on medical or other grounds.
  • The applicant must have a valid UK passport or any other identity proof.
  • Your National Insurance number is needed.
  • Should have a valid UK residential address where you lived at least for the last three years.
  • Need to pay 50 as fee, which can be paid online.

In case of normal licences, you can forward your application three months before you start driving a vehicle. In case of a car licence, you can start driving on your 17th birthday and on your 16th birthday in case of a moped or motorcycles. Apart from online application, one can also apply through post by filling the D1 application form, which is available through DVLA form order service or the post offices. Along with the application form, you have to submit the needed documents as well as 50 cheque or postal order payable to DVLA. Application needs to be sent to DVLA, Swansea, SA99, 1AD.

How much is the driving licence

Different rates are applicable to apply for new driving licence for different driving licence categories or if you want to renew, amend, or exchange existing driving licence. For the first provisional driving licence for car, motorcycle, moped, the fee is 50. However, photocard licences are valid up to 10 years only or up to 70 years of age, and you need to renew it thereafter. The renewal rates applicable at different cases are:

Age 70 renewal: Free

Medical reasons: Free

Bus or lorry drivers: Free

After disqualification: 65

Disqualified due to drunken driving etc: 90

After revocation: 50

Renewal of expired driving licence: 20

Now as you are aware of the different aspects of UK driving licence, you can go ahead and confidently apply for driving licence and start your driving experiences.

New Photocard Driving Licence

Renewing Driving Licence Transactions
Click to Watch Video - New Photocard Driving Licence

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