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

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 issued with 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:

  • ADIs 028 9054 1836
  • AMIs 028 9068 5203

or you can email or write to:

Business Support Unit
Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
BT12 6QL

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 accompanied by an AMI at all times while riding on the road. It is an offence to ride either of these motorcycles if you are not accompanied by 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 issued with 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. In order 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:

  • provide proof of evidence that relates to 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 providing unregistered instruction
where and when they have been seen
vehicle registration numbers and any other information that you feel is relevant

The address to write to is:

Business Support Unit
Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
BT12 6QL

Reporting illegal instruction

DVA investigates every case of alleged unregistered driving or riding tuition and, if required, will refer the matter to the PSNI for further investigation.

Driver and instructor records

Taking professional instruction can help you with all areas of learning to drive including your theory and practical tests.

DVA recommend you download and record your progress using the Driver's Record and the Instructor Record. This is a useful way to see that your lessons are being delivered in a focused and structured way.

More useful links

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