Choosing a driving instructor
If you are paying someone to teach you to drive or ride, they must be registered with the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). Only Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Approved Motorcycle Instructors (AMIs) can charge money for teaching you to drive or ride.
How to confirm that an ADI or AMI is registered
You can ask to see their licence which they should carry at all times. In the case of ADIs and Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) (who will be given a trainee licence to instruct under the supervision of an ADI), their licence may be displayed on the windscreen of their car.
See below for samples of ADI, PDI and AMI licences:
You can also check if an instructor is registered by telephoning the Driver & Vehicle Agency's (DVA's) Business Support Unit:
Instruction for motorcycles
Any instruction about category AM (moped), A1 (light motorcycles), A2 (medium motorcycles) and A (large motorcycles) must be by an Approved Motorcycle Instructor (AMI). For A2 and A, you must be with an AMI at all times while riding on the road. It is an offence to ride either of these motorcycles if you are not with an AMI.
You should take advice from your ADI or AMI on:
- how to prepare for your theory test
- all aspects of driving/ riding
- what books to read
- when to take your test
- how to practice
Try and choose an instructor who:
- is an approved ADI/ AMI
- is reliable and punctual
- has a car or bike that suits you
Trainee driving instructors
There is a trainee scheme for ADIs which gives them an opportunity to gain experience while going through the qualifying examinations, they will be given a trainee licence to instruct under the supervision of an ADI. A similar scheme is not available for AMIs. All registered AMIs are fully qualified.
ADI/ AMI qualifying process
DVA is responsible for maintaining and checking the standards of all ADIs and AMIs. To qualify, ADIs and AMIs must:
- have held a full driving licence for at least four years
- pass a much tougher theory test than the one learner drivers take
- pass a strict driving test
- pass a test of their teaching ability
- be of good character
- reach and keep up a high standard of instruction
The standard of tuition given by the ADI and AMI is regularly checked by a supervising examiner from the DVA.
Unregistered ADIs/ AMIs
It is illegal for a person to give driving or riding instruction for a fee if they are not registered.
If you suspect someone is offering illegal instruction you should take the following steps:
- give proof of evidence about the incident for example a copy of a business card or a copy of the advert
- write to the address detailed below
You should give as much information as possible to allow investigations to begin, for example:
- why you suspect that an individual is giving unregistered instruction
- where and when they have been seen
- vehicle registration numbers
- any other information that you feel is relevant
The address to write to is at the link below:
Reporting illegal instruction
DVA investigates every case of alleged unregistered driving or riding tuition and if needs to, will refer the matter to the PSNI for further investigation.
Taking professional instruction can help you with all areas of learning to drive including your theory and practical tests.
DVA recommend instructors download and record progress using the Instructor Record. This is a useful way to see that your lessons are being delivered in a focused and structured way.