Full Driving Licence (Category B)

The Full Driving Licence (Category B) allows the holder to legally drive vehicles below 3.5 tonnes in the United Kingdom.

LICENCE Name

Full Driving Licence

AUTHORITY

DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency)

TIME TO GET LICENCED 3 months
COST £700+ (aprox.)
VALID FOR 10 years
ELIGIBILITY 17 years, pass Theory and Practical test
1 Apply for Provisional Licence
£43
2 Pass Theory Test
£23
3 Pass Practical Test
£62
Get Licenced

What is a Full Driving Licence?

full-driving-licence-sample-category-bThe Full Driving Licence enables individuals to drive regular passenger vehicles within Category B (i.e. vehicles below 3.5 tonnes). Having a Driving Licence is an important life skill which gives you the freedom to operate a vehicle when required. The Full Driving Licence is issued by DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and is valid until you are 70 years old, although you are required to renew the photocard every 10 years. There are many jobs that require a Full Driving Licence such as Taxi and Uber Drivers, Real Estate Agents and Delivery Drivers. 

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Full Driving Licence, you must be at least 17 years of age and have passed both the theory test and the practical test. You must also have no medical conditions that will affect your ability to drive safely. To learn more, please see guidance provided by the government. 

How to apply for a Full Driving Licence

Below are a few simple steps you need to follow to apply for your Full Driving Licence (Category B):

Provisional Licence

To begin the process, you must apply for your Provisional Licence by visiting here. It costs £43.

Theory Practice and Test

Next, you need to book and prepare for your Theory Test. This lasts for 90 minutes and has 2 sections. Click here to book. It costs £23. Make sure that you prepare by using practice material. You cannot take your Practical Test without passing the Theory Test.

Practical Practice and Test

Finally, book and pass your practical test! It costs £62. You will need about 45 hours of lessons with an instructor to pass.

Theory Test

You will need to pass the Driving Theory Test to obtain your Full Driving Licence. A Provisional Licence is required to book your Theory Test. The test lasts for under 90 minutes and has two parts: Hazard Perception and multiple choice. You can prepare using books, apps or websites online. You will receive your results on the day of the test. 

You can book your test here.

Please note

You need to pass the theory test before booking your Practical Driving Test. Your theory test result is only valid for 2 years!

Practical Test

Passing the Practical Driving Test is a key part of your Full Driving Licence. You are likely to spend the bulk of your time preparing for this assessment. 

To prepare for the Practical Test, you will need to take instructor led training lessons. Your instructor will teach you the basics of driving safely on the road, as well as how to control a vehicle.

What happens during the test?

an eyesight check

‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions

general driving ability

reversing your vehicle

independent driving

The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars.

How long does the test last?

You’ll drive for around 40 minutes.

Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate

20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

You’ll fail your driving test if you fail the eyesight check. The test will end.

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving

‘show me’ question while you’re driving

Your general driving ability

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways.

The examiner will give you directions that you should follow. Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.

Pulling over at the side of the road

You’ll be asked to pull over and pull away during your test, including:

normal stops at the side of the road

pulling out from behind a parked vehicle

a hill start

You might also be asked to carry out an emergency stop.

Reversing your vehicle

The examiner will ask you to do one of the following exercises:

questions.

parallel park at the side of the road

park in a parking bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and re-join the traffic

Independent driving

You’ll have to drive for about 20 minutes by following either:

directions from a sat nav

traffic signs

The examiner will tell you which you have to follow.

They’ll set the sat nav up for you. You can’t use your own sat nav.

If you can’t see traffic signs

If you can’t see a traffic sign (for example, because it’s covered by trees), the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next one.

Going off the route

The examiner won’t give you a fault for taking a wrong turning but instead they will help you get back on the route if you do.

Manual vs Automatic Transmission

Depending on what you find easier, you can choose whether you wish to take a manual or automatic test. You can find an instructor suited to your choice. Note: the manual allows you to drive both types of vehicles, whereas the automatic only allows you to drive automatic cars. 

The theory test

To take the Practical Test, you will need to have successfully passed your theory test.

Please note that this is only valid for 2 years.

Full Driving Licence Cost

Obtaining your Full Driving Licence has many different costs. To begin, you will need to apply for your Provisional Licence. This costs £43. Next, you need to factor in assessment costs: Theory Test fee (£23) and Practical Test fee (£62).

The largest cost is training for your practical test. For this, you will need to hire a professional instructor. The costs can vary depending on the number of Driving Lessons you require and the qualifications of the instructor. The DVLA (licensing body) recommends 45 hours of practice with an instructor. 

FAQs

To acquire your Full Driving Licence, you are not required to take driving lessons. However, it is strongly recommended that you take driving lessons to prepare for the test, as this greatly improves your chances of passing.

Being an experienced driver does not guarantee good performance in the practical driving test. Sometimes being an experienced driver might mean you have picked up bad habits. We advise speaking to a driving instructor and asking them to assess you before booking your test.

You can book your Theory and Practical Driving Tests online. Follow this link.

Category B vehicles are under 3.5 tonnes and have a maximum of 8 passenger seats. Your typical passenger car will be a Category B vehicle. It is also the most common Licence type.  

The number of hours required can vary from driver to driver. The DVSA (the licensing authority) advises 45 hours, but this ultimately depends on you and your driving ability. Remember, you can also drive privately with friends and family, but make sure you are correctly insured!

A Full Driving Licence only has 2 tests, but the preparation period can take some time - even if you are a confident driver! It normally takes at least 3 months. This enures you have plenty of time to complete all the preparation material and necessary road experience.

It’s really important to learn how to drive safely right from the beginning – bad habits are hard to break after all! Driving instructors are specially trained to teach you what you need to know to be safe on the road and pass your test. They have lots of experience and knowledge about driving, which they’ll use to help you become a confident, safe driver.

Other than yourself of course. You’re driving instructor should have already provided a written record of your progress. That record should list all the topics you need to master to drive safely for life. These include parallel parking, turn in the road (3-point turn), reversing around a corner and emergency stop. It should state precisely what stage you are up to now and it should be clear how much there is left to learn, together with any weaknesses you have which must be addressed.

You can expect such things as: Sound the horn, turn on the parking (side marker) lights, turn on the headlights, press on the brakes so they can see that the brake lights work. Also expect to: Turn on the turn signals, turn on the hazard lights. They will probably also make sure your seat belts work properly before beginning the test.  This is to ensure that your car is equipped properly for driving safely on the roadway.

About 40 – 50 minutes. The practical driving test includes an eyesight check and safety questions before a section of independent driving. 

You cannot fail your practical driving test for getting one or both questions wrong, but you can pick up 1 minor driving fault as a result of one or two incorrect answers, 16 or more minor driving faults, one serious or one dangerous fault will result in a test failure.

If you fail the driving test, you must wait two weeks before taking it again.

Yes! You can start driving straight away when you've passed your test. You don't need to wait for your full licence to arrive.