What is a provisional licence?

Just like driving, beginning your journey to becoming a fully fledged motorcyclist starts with a provisional licence. The provisional licence is a temporary licence that you hold while learning and allows you to ride on the public roads without having passed your test but comes with a strict set of restrictions and requirements:

  • In most cases you must have taken the CBT (this will be discussed in detail later)
  • You must ride with L-plates clearly displayed on the front and back of your bike
  • You are limited to a motorbike with a maximum capacity of 125cc and 15bhp(50cc and 28mph if you are 16 years of age).
  • You may not carry pillion passengers
  • You may not ride on motorways

The provisional driving licence also, as the name would suggest allows you to drive a car, but only with someone in the passenger seat who has had a full licence for more than three years.

If you already have a full driving licence you need not apply for a provisional driving licence; the relevant vehicle categories are already included.


Provisional licence requirements

There are a set of requirements you must meet to be eligible to apply for a provisional licence, they are as follows:

  • You must be at least 16 years of age
  • You must be a resident of Great Britain
  • You must meet the minimum eyesight requirements, meaning that you need to be able to read a car numberplate made after September 2001 from a distance of 20 meters. Click here for more information
  • You must have not been prevented from driving or riding.
  • You must have a valid form of ID (a passport, for example)
  • You must have your National Insurance number
  • Finally you must be able to provide the addresses of every place you have lived for the last three years.


Applying for a provisional licence

If you meet all of the requirements, you may apply for a licence. This will cost £50 (not including photos that you will need to take) and can be done in two ways, either online or by mail.

The easiest way to apply is online. Simply click here to go to the gov.uk website and click “Start now”, you will be taken to direct.gov.uk where you will be asked to sign in using your Government Gateway User ID. If you do not have one of these, registering one only takes a couple of minutes and can be done on the same website.

Once you are signed in, follow the instructions and once completed you should receive your provisional licence in around one week!


Once you have your provisional licence, it’s time to start learning! On the next page we will discuss the various routes to a full motorcycle licence, and will one would suit you best.

The Path to your Motorcycle Licence >