When can you book a driving theory test UK

By Alicia Jarvis
Updated on April 15, 2022


Can I book my theory test at 16?

  • Not in the UK or any other European country for car theory tests.
  • In Iceland, Estonia, Slovenia, yes

With the struggles and annoyances that public transport in the UK holds, it’s no surprise that the young generation is eager to get on the road. The freedom of owning a car is life-changing. But, how old do you have to be to change your life?

In the UK, the minimum age to take a driving theory test is 17 years old. So the earliest you can take it is on your 17th birthday – unless you have enhanced mobility from PIP. Across Europe, there are some caveats.

To find out more about where you can drive at 16, how to apply for a provisional and when you can take your test in the UK, scroll down.


Why can’t we take a theory test at 16?

The short answer is that most people don’t want younger drivers on the road. The majority of the UK public want the driving age to be the same or more, not to be decreased. But why?

From a survey done by dayinsure, we found out that 36.5% of those UK citizens who answered the survey believe that the driving age in the UK should be increased. However, the majority said that the minimum driving age should be the same. And only 9% think it should be decreased.

Another study done by cartakeback shows that 57% of Great British adults believe the driving age should be over 17. However, 37% think you should be 18. And 11% think it should be increased to 21. Over 55-year-olds were nearly twice as likely as 18-24-year-olds to agree with raising the driving age.

Some people think that young drivers could be overwhelmed. Teens’ brains aren’t fully developed. So why should we trust them with a vehicle that could end somebody else’s life?

We’ve all seen cars shooting down roads, majorly over the speed limit. Most of the time, what’s the first thought? A young driver. This answer could be because of predetermined stereotypes on the recklessness of our youths. But, it could be a logical thought; because most of the time, it’s true.

Another prevalent reason is pollution. Whether it’s noise or air pollution, the more cars there is, the more pollution there is. According to NimbleFins, in the UK the average CO2 emissions for a kilometre driven in a car is 141.8 grams. For comparison, a 500ml plastic water bottle uses around 80 grams. That’s almost 2 bottles per kilometre driven.

According to the DVLA figures in 2020, 2.97 million people aged 16-25 possess a full driving licence. So if only 10% of these people were aged 17, that’s 297 thousand people off the road. So if the DVLA raise the driving age, that’s a lot of CO2 not being emitted and a lot less noise pollution. 

According to gov.uk data from 2020, only 22,843 17-year-olds hold a full licence. That’s a minuscule percentage of those on the road. Increasing the driving age to 18 will only get 20 thousand people on the road. We will be a country with fewer free teens.


Where can I book my theory test at 16?

  • In Iceland, Estonia, Slovenia, yes
  • For moped, UK/NI

Most people can not take their driving theory test before 17 years old in the UK. However, at 16 years old, you can take a moped theory test. This test only allows you to ride a motorcycle under 50cc. 

Other countries where you can take a moped/motorcycle theory test at 16 are:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary (under 125cc)
  • Romania
  • Turkey
  • Russia

There are some countries where you can take the motorcycle test under 16, such as:

  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • And more

However, most people want to take the driving theory test. Across Europe, there are only a few countries where you can drive at 16 or under, this includes:

  • Estonia
  • Iceland
  • Slovenia
  • Isle of Man

Just because you can’t take your theory test at 17 (in the UK anyway) doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing before. So keep on reading to explore how to prepare effectively for your theory test without an age limit.


When can I book my theory test?

  • UK: 17th birthday

You can only book your theory test in the UK on your 17th birthday onwards. You must also have a valid Great British or Northern Irish provisional licence. 

However, if you have the ‘enhanced rate of mobility’ component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can book and take your test from your 16th birthday onwards.

If you do not receive the component of PIP, you can take a moped theory test at 16, but that’s all you can do.

How to apply for a provisional licence?

  • UK

The provisional licence is the first taste of driving that British teens get. When you are 15 and 9 months old, you can apply for a provisional licence. You must also:

  • Be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away
  • Have legally lived in the UK for at least 185 days in the past 12 months

If you already have another European country’s provisional, you need a Great British or Northern Irish licence to take your theory test.

Before applying for the test, make sure that you have the following:

  • An identity document (as stated here)
  • Addresses where you have lived in the last three years
  • Potentially your National Insurance Number
  • A MasterCard, Visa, Electron or Delta debit or credit card (if you are applying online)
  • At least £34 on the card

The website where you apply for a provisional is the official Gov.uk website. Do not trust any other websites claiming to be government. The website will walk you through an online form, and you will receive a confirmation email from the DVLA.

You may also be sent an application form in the post, where you will need to provide a photo. In the photo, you can not:

  • Have anything in the background
  • Smile
  • Have any fashion headwear on
  • Have any shadows on or around you

You can find more details on how to take a suitable photo here.

We’ve only briefly explained how to apply for a provisional. If you are having any issues, we would recommend contacting the DVLA.


What can I do to prepare for my theory test before 17?

Tons of teenagers want to get on the roads as soon as possible. Therefore, there is no surprise that there are many ways to get tests ready before you are 17. Hundreds of people worldwide are preparing for their theory test, not only you!

There are many ways to prepare for your theory test. First, we recommend that you revise the Highway Code as it is a prominent subject in the test.

Another way to prepare for the theory test is to take a practice theory test made by the DVSA. This test prepares you for the multiple-choice half of the test. You can take as many as you want to reinforce your knowledge of the content that the test will cover.

For the hazard perception test (the other half), we recommend taking a practice hazard perception test. Doing this will help familiarise you with the test structure and what to look for. None of the results counts towards your actual test.

If you find these practice tests tricky, we recommend using the DVSAs paid learning materials (either for car or motorcycle).

There is also third-party software to help you prepare for your theory tests, such as mobile apps and websites, which may be helpful for you if you do not work well with the DVSA’s programmes. 

If you are struggling with revising, there are many things that you can do. However, most people under 17 have been through, about to go through, or are going through their GCSEs. This means that they should have already found their way of revising.

Just because this is an official test for driving, it doesn’t mean that you can’t implement your personal revision techniques. If you are struggling with ideas, there are hundreds of videos online that help you with revision.