Claiming a driving test pass

Once you have passed your driving test (both theory and practical), the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) needs to be told. Whether it's for a car, motorcycle, lorry or bus, you should exchange your test pass certificate for a full licence/category as soon as possible.

Exchanging my licence

After you have passed your test your examiner will normally arrange for your licence to be upgraded at no cost to you. However, if you are not eligible you must send the test pass certificate to DVA in order to claim your new entitlements on your driving licence.

You'll need to:

  • complete the declaration on your test pass certificate and send it, together with both parts of your licence (photocard and counterpart), to:
DVA
Driver Licensing
Castlerock Road
Waterside
Coleraine
BT51 3TB
  • submit a fee of £30.00 if you are upgrading from a provisional licence to a full licence (only if your first provisional licence was issued before 1 July 2004)
  • if your name has changed since your last licence, or, if you are unable to return your driving licence, you'll also need to complete a DL1 application form which is available from main Post Office branches or MOT test centres
  • provide original documentation if you need to confirm a new name
  • you may need to supply proof of residency, please see below for details

Proof of residency

If you have obtained your provisional driving licence by providing identity documents other than a UK or Irish passport or birth certificate, you must provide DVA with two appropriate proofs of residency.

One proof of residency must be dated between six months and 12 months old, and the other one within the last three months. They must also be in your name and show your Northern Ireland address. You should provide either a:

  • utility bill, for example gas, electricity, telephone (not mobile)
  • bank or Building Society statement (not credit card statement)

Your document must be an original copy, not a photocopy.

Paper driving licences

You'll need to:

  • complete the declaration on your test pass certificate
  • complete a DL1 'application for a driving licence' available from main Post Office branches, local MOT test centres or by calling 0300 200 7861
  • provide original documentation confirming your identity
  • enclose a passport type photograph and your driving licence

Send all your documents to DVA at the address below or use the checking service at selected MOT centres:

DVA
Driver Licensing Division
Castlerock Road
Waterside
Coleraine
BT51 3TB

The test centres offering this service are in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast , Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Londonderry (New Buildings) and Omagh or Coleraine County Hall.

Timescale for licence issue

You should receive the new licence within three weeks but it may take longer if your health or personal details need to be checked. You should allow at least three weeks before contacting DVA.

Rules for driving before your licence is returned

Once DVA has received your valid application, the law allows you to drive before the licence arrives as long as you:

  • have held a Northern Ireland or Great Britain licence issued since 1 January 1976 or another exchangeable licence
  • are not disqualified from driving
  • haven't been refused a licence for medical reasons or for failing to comply with medical enquiries
  • wouldn't be refused a licence for medical reasons (if in doubt, check with your doctor)
  • keep to any special conditions which apply to the licence

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