How to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)

To become an ADI you must complete three qualifying tests. Part one tests your theory knowledge, part two tests your driving ability and fitness, and part three tests your ability to instruct learner drivers.

Becoming an ADI

When you first apply, an enhanced security check will be carried out by Access NI. Once completed, DVA will send you your eligibility number which you will need to book a theory test.

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

Information about the ANI check is on pages six and seven of Your guide to becoming an Approved Driving Instructor. There is also a list of training materials to help you prepare for each test.

The ADI job preview tool will 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 pass all three tests, in order, within two years. If you fail any of the tests three times, you must wait two years from the date you first sat the theory test before beginning the process again.

Become an ADI if you're disabled

Yes this is possible. The details of the restrictions on your licence must be sent with your application. Disabled drivers who are unable to drive a manual car may take the tests in an automatic vehicle. This option is for drivers who have a medically-restricted licence, marked with Code 078. In this case, drivers are only able to provide paid instruction in automatic vehicles.

Other requirements to be an ADI

As well as the three tests and a satisfactory ANI check, you must also:

  • currently hold a full NI, UK, or Community (EU) car driving licence
  • have held the licence or a foreign licence for a total of four years out of the past six before the date of your application
  • not have been disqualified from driving for any part of the four years before the date of your application

Category B+E instruction

If you wish to give paid instruction in Category B+E (car + trailer) you must become a registered ADI and have held full B+E entitlement for at least four of the last six years.

If you are already an ADI, have full B+E entitlement on your driving licence and would like to be registered to teach B+E, you must advise that you want your registration to include B+E by emailing:

Apply to become an ADI


You can apply online: 

You can also send the fee with an application form to:

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

Telephone: 028 9054 7933

Forms are available from DVA's Business Support Unit or can be downloaded:

ADI test centre locations

The theory test (part one) is available at six test centres – Ballymena, Balmoral (Belfast), Londonderry, Newry, Omagh and Portadown.

The driving ability test (part two) is conducted at Balmoral (Belfast) or Altnagelvin test centres.

The instructional ability test (part three) is conducted at Dill Road (Belfast) or Altnagelvin test centres.

ADI test fees

ADI test fees are available at the following page:

Joining the register

After passing all three tests, you may apply to have your name added to the ADI register, after paying the registration fee and a satisfactory ANI check.

EU transfer

If you hold an ADI licence in an EU country, you can get this transferred to a NI licence if you are resident in NI.

You can apply online to transfer this.

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