About Drivers Licences
A licence is required for driving motorised vehicles on any public road. Public road refers to those roads for which the Local authority, Department of Transport, Environment and Regions are accountable. In Northern Ireland, maintenance of public roads is the responsibility of the department of Environment.
Driving licence types
There are two types of Driving Licences:
- Provisional driving licence
- Full Licence
Provisional Driving Licence
Provisional licences must be applied for if:
- You have never attained a full licence
- You can’t show that you are eligible for a full driving licence
Limitations of Provisional Licence
- You are restricted from driving motorbikes above 125 cc. In Northern Ireland, you mustn’t drive motorbikes above 14.6 bhp
- Unless you are undergoing basic training, you must not drive on public roads
- Passengers shouldn’t be carried on your vehicle and L plates are to be displayed on the front and back
- You are not allowed to drive on motorways
For cars and other vehicles:
- L plates (D plates in Wales) need to be displayed on the front and the back of the vehicle
- You are not allowed to drive on motorways
- For vehicles with more than one seat, you can only drive with a person experienced in driving, this person must be aged 21 or older and must have a full driving licence
However, the above limitations are not applicable if you’ve passed your driving test and are waiting to receive the full licence.
Full driving licence
To attain a full driving licence in the UK, you can only apply after passing a driving test within the past two years in the country.
For full driving licences issued outside the UK, please refer to the processes below:
- If the licence is issued within other EEA countries, it might still be valid in the UK. But if you wish, this licence can be exchanged for a full Great Britain or Northern Ireland licence. Complete the D1 form (or DL1 in Northern Ireland), enclose your current driving licence along with the form and send it to the DVLA. You will also need to pay a fee.
- For driving licences issued outside EEA countries, you can still drive for 12 months using this licence in the UK. Beyond this period, you can exchange your current licence for a UK permit if it has been issued from one of the following:
- British Forces Germany licence
- Canada (only GB licence)
- Hong Kong
- British Virgin Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Republic of Korea (motorbike licences excluded)
- South Africa (only GB licence)
- New Zealand
If your driving licence is issued in a country not listed above, a UK driving test should be undertaken to acquire a full UK licence to drive beyond 12 months.
Limitations of Full driving licence
- Driver's age
- Learner driver’s supervision
- Vehicle type covered by the licence
- Driver's medical condition
Categories of Driving Licences
You need an authorisation on your driving licence to drive a specific kind of vehicle.
The categories of licences for driving different vehicles are as follows:
Category AM: 2 wheeled vehicles with a design speed between 25 km per hour to 45 km per hour, also includes light quad bikes whose weight are less than 350 kg and speed between 25 to 45 km per hour.
Category P: 2 wheeled vehicles, design speed of 45 km per hour and not exceeding 50 km per hour. Its engine should be 50 cc or less if driven by internal combustion.
Category Q: 2 wheeled vehicles, not beyond 50 cc engine size if internal combustion powers it and with 25 km per hour or less design speed.
Category A1: Light motorcycles with 125 cc engine, 11 kW output power and 0.1 kW or less power to weight ratio. Motor tricycles up to 15 kW output power are also included.
Category A2: Motorcycles up to 35 kW output power, 0.2kW/kg or less power and weight ratio and shouldn’t be derived from vehicles with more than two times its own power.
Category A: Motorcycles with output power higher than 35 kW and 0.2 kW/kg power and weight ratio. In this category, motor tricycles with 15 kW power output is also included.
Quad bikes and light vehicles
Category B1: 4 wheeled motor vehicles with weight up to 400 kg (not loaded) and 550 kg if intended for goods carrying.
Category B: If you have a Category B licence, you are entitled to drive up to 3500 kg MAM vehicles with passenger seats not more than 8 and trailer up to 750 kg. Heavy trailers can be towed if the total weight doesn’t surpass 3500 kg.
Category B auto: Eligible to drive automatic category B vehicles.
Category B+E: The combined weight of category B vehicle and trailer is over 3500 kg.
Medium sized vehicles
Category C1: The vehicle whose weight is within 3500 to 7500 kg (and up to 750 kg trailer) can be driven.
Category C1+E: Permitted to drive C1 vehicles with more than 750 kg trailer but under the condition that combined weight does not outdo 12,000 kg and trailer weight cannot be more than the vehicle when loaded.
Category C: Permitted to drive more than 3500 kg vehicles that have trailers not exceeding 750 kg.
Category C+E: You are allowed to drive C Category vehicles with trailers above 750 kg.
Category D1: Mini buses with 16 or less seats, less than 8 metres in length and with a trailer of 750 kg or less can be driven.
Category D1+E: D1 vehicles with 750 kg and more trailers can be driven but the total weight shouldn’t be more than 12,000 kg.
Category D: Buses over 8 seats for passengers and up to 750 kg trailer.
Category D+E: Category D buses with more than 750 kg trailer weight.
Excluding the above, there are some other categories also like:
Category F: Tractors used for agriculture
Category H: Tracked vehicles
Category G: Road Rollers
Category K: Pedestrian controlled vehicles
Category L: Electrically propelled vehicles