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How to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)

Driving LessonTo become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), you must complete three qualifying tests. Part 1 will test your theory knowledge, Part 2 will test your driving ability and fitness, and Part 3 will test your ability to instruct learner drivers.

Becoming an ADI

When you first apply to take the ADI theory test, Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) will require an enhanced security check, which is carried out by Access NI. Once this check has been completed DVA will send you a letter containing your eligibility number. You will need this number in order to book a theory test.

If you have concerns about your criminal history you are strongly advised to speak to DVA before committing yourself to advance fees for any training packages offered by ADI training providers.

Information relating to the Access NI check on applying for Part 1 is explained on Pages 6 and 7 of ‘Your guide to becoming an ADI’ available at the link below, as is a list of training materials which will assist you in preparing for each test:

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published a job preview tool to help you understand what it means to be an ADI, whether you're suitable for this kind of work and your level of understanding of driving theory and practice.

You must complete and pass all three tests, in order, within a two year period. If you fail any part of the examination process three times, you will have to wait two years from the date you first sat the theory test before beginning the examination process again. The three tests are:

  • ADI Theory Test Part 1 (including a Hazard Perception Test)
  • ADI Practical Test of your Driving Ability Part 2
  • ADI Practical Test of Instructional Ability Part 3

Can I become an ADI if I am disabled?

Even if your licence is marked ‘Restricted’ because of a disability, you can still apply to become an ADI. The details of the restrictions on your licence must be sent with your application. A disabled driver who would be unable to drive a car with a manual transmission may, if they wish, take the ADI qualifying tests in a vehicle with automatic transmission. This option is only open to those drivers who have a medically-restricted licence, marked with Code 078. If this option is used, the driver would only be able to provide paid instruction in an automatic transmission vehicle.

What else do I need to be an ADI?

If you want to become an ADI you must also:

  • currently hold a full NI, UK, or Community (EU) car driving licence
  • have held one of the above licences or a foreign licence for a total of four years out of the past six years preceding the date of your application
  • not have been disqualified from driving for any part of the four years preceding the date of your application
  • be a ‘fit and proper’ person to have your name entered in the Register - all spent and unspent convictions, motoring and non-motoring will be taken into account when DVA assesses your suitability to be entered on the Register
  • pass the three part qualifying examination

Category B+E Instruction

From 28 February 2015, instructors in Category B+E will have to be registered Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). Those already instructing in Category B+E who are not an ADI will be given a one year transitional period to enable them to qualify as an ADI.

How do I apply?

You can apply online for any part of your ADI examination using the online payment facility at the links below through DVA official booking partners:

You can also send the appropriate fee with an application form, which is available to download below or obtained from the Driver & Vehicle Agency's Business Support Unit.

Completed forms should be returned to:

Business Support Unit
Driver & Vehicle Agency
Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
BT12 6QL

Telephone: 028 9054 7933

Where can I take the tests?

The theory test (Part 1) is available at any of the six theory test centres throughout Northern Ireland – Ballymena, Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Omagh and Portadown.

The driving ability test (Part 2) is conducted at either Balmoral or Altnagelvin test centres, and the instructional ability test (Part 3) is conducted at either Dill Road or the Altnagelvin test centre.

How much will they cost?

Current fees are: Current October 2015
Theory Test (Part 1) £66 £64
Driving Ability and Fitness Test (Part 2) £130
Instructional Ability Test (Part 3) £138
Registration/ Renewal £240

Joining the register

Once you successfully complete all three tests, you may apply to have your name added to the ADI Register subject to the payment of the registration fee (currently £240) and a satisfactory Access Northern Ireland (ANI) check by Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).

EU Transfer

If you are the holder of an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) licence in an EU country you can get this transferred to a NI licence if you are a resident in Northern Ireland.

You can apply online to get this transferred using the payment facility below through DVA official booking partners:

More useful links