The documentation that you will receive from the DVLA following a successful application is 1) a photocard Provisional Driving Licence and 2) a paper version Counterpart Provisional Driving Licence. The DVLA now issues photocard driving licences to restrict impersonation at driving tests.
DVLA Photocard Provisional Driving Licence
The categories shown on your provisional driving licence confirm your entitlement to drive, ie: B (Motor Car), C1 (Medium Goods Vehicle), D1(Minibus), etc. Your entitlement to drive several vehicle types depends on several factors such as your age, when you first received your provisional licence and the weight of the vehicle. If the relevant vehicle category is not shown on your provisional licence, you can't drive that particular vehicle. Be aware that driving a vehicle from a category not shown on your provisional licence is likely to invalidate any vehicle insurance.
Provisional Driving Licence Documentation
Provisional Driving Licence
In the UK, you need a valid provisional driving licence before you can start learning to drive. Although you have to be at least 17 years of age before you can drive, you can actually apply for your provisional driving licence no more than three months before your 17th Birthday.
Note that the only way you can drive before 17 years of age is if you currently receive Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate, which generally entitles you to obtain a provisional driving licence and drive from 16 years of age.
Your provisional driving licence will be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). In order to receive your provisional driving licence, you must first complete a Form D1 application, pay the DVLA a fee of £50.00, provide a passport style photograph and submit original documentation proving your identity.
Note that you must wait until you have received your fully approved driving licence documentation from the DVLA before you can actually drive.
Learning to drive a vehicle without a valid provisional driving licence is a serious offence and carries significant penalties. Don't risk driving without a driving licence.
For more information on how to apply for your licence, click on Provisional Licence.
Applying for a Provisional Driving Licence is easy and can either be done online, in person or by post. You need to complete a form called Form D1 to apply by post.
The photocard provisional driving licence should be carried in your wallet or purse for immediate identification purposes. The Police may request sight of this photocard if you are pulled over or at the scene of an accident.
The Counterpart provisional licence is usually stored safely in the home: this document contains driving entitlement and endorsement information.
It's important to keep good care of your provisional licence documentation, as replacement for loss or damage currently costs £22.00, payable to the DVLA.