The Driving Licence Explained.

Having applied for your provisional driving licence, it wont be long before it comes through in the post. It usually takes around 10 - 14 days, but just in case, you should allow up to 28 days before chasing it up.

Only then can you think about starting to drive on the road.

Now that you have your Provisional Licence and you've had a good look at it, you may want to know what everything means on it, so here is a guide to understanding it.

On the front of your Photocard Driving Licence.


Section 1: Your surname.

Section 2: Your title, first name and any middle names.

Section 3: Your date of birth and place of birth.

Section 4a: The date from which your provisional driving licence is valid.

Section 4b: The date at which your driving licence is valid to. If you reach this date without having passed your test, you will need to renew your provisional licence using an up to date photo.

Section 4c: The issuing authority of your driving licence. On your UK licence, this will be the DVLA.

Section 5: Your licence number. This will be a unique number to you, and is comprised of the beginning letters of your surname and a sequence of numbers and letters.

Section 7: Your signature.

Section 8: Your address. You must ensure that this is your correct home address, and, in the event that you move, you must send your licence back to the DVLA to have it altered.

Section 9: The category of vehicle(s) you are permitted to drive. Cross reference these letters with the codes in section 9 on the back of your licence.

On the back of your driving licence.


1, New design showing full table of categories, pictograms, start and expiry dates and any codes that apply.

2, Legend containing explanation of each field's contents.
3, Overflow of information/restriction codes

Section 9: This section differs slightly between provisional and full driving licences. A provisional driving licence will display each licence category, but will show start and expiry dates (in sections 10 and 11) only for the vehicles that you are permitted to drive.

A full UK driving licence, on the other hand, will display only the codes and dates for the vehicle types that you are qualified to drive.

The code B, for example, on both a provisional and full driving licence indicates that you are permitted to drive a car, with or without supervision and L plates, depending on which licence you hold.

Section 12: This section shows any restrictions to you driving the vehicle category shown. The code 01, for example, means you must wear glasses or contact lenses as a corrective eyesight measure whilst driving.

You can find the full list of codes on

Paper counterpart licence.

The green counterpart section of the Driving Licence is now no longer valid.

If you, or any one else has a need to view your driving record, or to check your licence for penalty points/offences etc. then you need to go to the Gov.UK website at;

and follow the online instructions.

Changing the address on your Driving Licence.

If you change your address, you MUST notify the DVLA straight away. You can do this online at:

If you need to change your name too, then you need to do that by post. Details are on the same link.


You can still get penalty points on your provisional licence as a learner driver!

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