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Along with getting a job, getting your Driving Licence is usually the first step in your journey towards independence!

Most teenagers in Northern Ireland start thinking about their futures when they’re around 16.

You’re finishing your GCSEs, thinking of applying for courses in university and maybe day-dreaming about taking to the open road and feeling the wind in your hair.

And the first step along the way is to get your Provisional Licence!

It’s a simple process, so here’s all you need to know.

When can I apply for my Provisional Driving Licence?

You can apply for your Provisional Driving Licence in Northern Ireland up to two months before your 17th birthday.

But keep in mind that you can’t officially start driving until the day of your birthday.


How do I apply for my Provisional Driving Licence?

Don’t worry; the application process is simple.

Pick up a DL1 application form from your local Post Office branch or your local MOT Centre.

You can find out more about the process HERE.

If that isn’t as handy for you, you can call the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) on 0300 200 7861, if you have any specific queries.

You will need to include original documentation confirming your identity.

And you need to include a passport-style colour photograph (no selfies!).

The current cost of a Northern Ireland Provisional Driving Licence is £62.50.

Send your completed application and payment to:

Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA)
Driver Licensing,
Coleraine County Hall,
Castlerock Road,
BT51 3TB

If you’d rather deal with someone physically, you can pop down to any one of seven MOT Test Centres that provide a checking service – located in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Derry (New Buildings) and Omagh or Coleraine County Hall.

Please note this service may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

How long after applying does it take to get my Provisional Driving Licence?

Thankfully, you won’t have to wait too long after applying.

It can take up to one month after you send your application to the DVA for your shiny new Provisional Driving Licence to arrive.

It can occasionally take a little longer if the DVA have to check your personal or health details.

But if your licence has not arrived within one month, you should write to:

Driver Licensing Enquiries Manager,
County Hall,
Castlerock Road,
BT51 3HS

Alternatively, you can email: or call 0300 200 7861 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Include in your letter or email your: full name; address, date of birth and your chosen codeword.

OK, I’ve applied for my Provisional Driving Licence. Can I drive while I am waiting for my licence?

In short, no.

You cannot drive until you’ve received your provisional licence showing the entitlement.


Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, we’re living in whats been very weirdly called a ‘new normal’.

Hence, it’s always a good idea to check on the official NI Direct website for the most up-to-date information and any changes to standard operating procedures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


For more info and advice on getting started click here.

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