The NI Executive has agreed to relax some of the current Covid-19 restrictions and as a result, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will resume driving tests for all categories of vehicle from 23 April 2021.
Motorcycle tests will continue to take place as normal.
The booking service will open for new bookings in three phases.
The service will open in the first phase for those customers whose theory test certificates will expire between 26 April 2021 and 31 October 2021. Access to the system will be available from 26 April 2021.
On 4 May 2021, the booking system will open for phase two customers, whose theory test certificates will expire between 1 November 2021 and 31 March 2022.
The booking system will then open for all remaining customers in the final phase by mid-May 2021.
The DVA will contact customers in the first two phases directly to tell them when and how they can access the booking system. The DVA will release more appointment slots in May, June, July and August 2021 to provide the capacity needed.
The DVA apologises for any inconvenience caused by the phased re-opening and will continue to introduce solutions to accommodate all remaining customers as quickly and as fairly as possible.
The online booking system is still available for those customers who have previously had a test cancelled by the DVA.
More slots are now available for the coming months but depending on demand, it may take a while before you can have your test appointment. You may also need to look at availability across the full network of test centres, as slots may not be available at the test centre of your choice.
Due to the high demand for driving tests, if you fail your driving test you will have to wait until the booking system opens to all customers in mid-May to book another test appointment.
When booking a driving test, make sure that you read Public health information for practical driving tests.
When attending for a driving test you must bring and wear a face covering for the duration of the driving test.
For appointments made at short notice, you may not receive an appointment letter before the date of your test.
The original Critical Worker application process closed on 5 October 2020. If your application was successful you will have been awarded critical/ key worker status.
The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is working with the Department of Health on some priority applications.
The scheme is only for key workers who need to drive for their work and whose jobs are ancillary to medical, health or social care services or where there is threat to life.
If you are a critical worker and you meet the above requirements, your employer must contact the DVA and identify staff in these priority groups. The DVA will then try to make priority appointments for both theory and practical driving tests.
The DVA will not consider any applications that do not meet the above criteria.
The DVA provides facilities for candidates with special needs or physical disabilities.
If you are deaf, have severe hearing problems, are restricted in your movements, or have any disability that may affect your driving, call 0300 200 7862 and we will do our best to book you a suitable appointment.
When you book your test, you should let the operator know that you are calling about a ‘Driving test for a candidate with a disability’, and tell them specifically if you:
- are deaf or have severe hearing difficulties
- are in any way restricted in your movements
- have any physical disability
No matter how serious your disability might be, you will still take the same driving test as every other test candidate. However, more time may be allowed for the test. This is to allow the examiner to talk to you about your disability and any adaptations fitted to your vehicle.
Northern Ireland residency
If you hold a GB driving licence and want to take a theory or practical test in Northern Ireland, before booking your test you will need to complete a residency declaration form and send it to the DVA with proof you are resident in Northern Ireland.
Information about vehicle adaptations for motorists with disabilities and the elderly can be obtained from Disability Action.
More useful links
- View your practical driving test appointment
- Cancel your practical driving test appointment online
- Change your practical driving test appointment online