Driving before you've got your full licence

You must have a provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland when you’re learning to drive or ride.

Accompanying drivers

You can practise your driving with an accompanying driver if they:

  • are 21 or over
  • have had (and still have) a full licence in the same category as the vehicle you’re driving, for 3 years

L plates and D plates

You must put an L plate on a prominent place on the front and back of your vehicle if you’re a learner driver. You need to take L plates off your vehicle when it’s not being used by a learner driver, eg between practice drives. You can use L plates or D plates in Wales. An L plate or D plate must:

  • have a red L or D on a white background
  • be the right size

You can get 3 to 6 penalty points if you don’t display an L plate or if it isn’t the correct size.


You can take your test as soon as you think you’re ready. There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practice driving.

Waiting for your full licence

Once you’ve passed your driving test these rules no longer apply, even if you’re still waiting to get your full licence.

P plates

You can display green ‘probationary’ P plates to show that you’ve just passed your driving test. You don’t have to display them. You can leave them on your vehicle for as long as you like.