What happens after you pass your driving test?

Last updated: Wednesday, 3rd July 2024

Congratulations, you're a new driver! After passing your driving test, it's time to celebrate! You've worked hard to get here, so take some time to enjoy this achievement.

But what happens after you pass your driving test? Knowing your next steps can help you smoothly and easily move from a learner driver to a driver with a full UK driving licence.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about what happens after you pass your driving test.

Passed driving test: what happens next?

As soon as you finish your driving test, the examiner will tell you if you've passed or failed.

Understanding your driving test results

To pass your driving test, you must demonstrate safe and competent driving. There are three types of faults that can be marked: dangerous faults, serious faults, and driving faults (often called minors).

  • Dangerous faults: These involve actual danger to you, your examiner, or the public. Just one of these will result in a fail.

  • Serious faults: These are potentially dangerous and can also cause you to fail if you make just one.

  • Driving faults: These are less serious mistakes. You are allowed up to 15 minors. Exceeding this limit or repeating the same minor fault three times will lead to a fail.

More details on driving faults and the driving test pass mark criteria are provided in our driving test faults guide.

Once you pass your practical driving test, you can legally drive immediately as long as your car is taxed and insured.

The examiner will also give you a pass certificate. Keep this safe as you may need it for proof.

What happens in a driving test?

Applying for a full driving licence

After passing your driving test, you'll want to get your full driving licence. The process is straightforward.

You can get your full driving licence automatically by handing your provisional licence to the examiner after the test.

However, you have two options to get your full driving licence:

  1. Automatic upgrade: Hand your provisional licence to your examiner. The examiner sends your details and old green provisional licence directly to the DVLA, and you don't need to fill in any forms.

  2. Manual application: If you prefer, you can apply for your full licence yourself. You can find detailed steps at GOV.UK.

If you apply for your driving licence, you must do so within two years of passing your driving test.

You'll get your full licence by post, which usually arrives within three weeks. If it doesn't arrive, contact the DVLA.

Summary of steps after passing your driving test:

  • Receive your pass certificate from the examiner

  • Automatically apply for your full licence (the examiner handles it) or manually apply by filling out the D1 form

  • Wait for the full licence to be posted to you, which is usually within three weeks

Understanding your new driver status

After passing your driving test, you become a certified driver, gaining both freedom and responsibility. It's important to be aware of the probationary period and the New Driver Act, which affects your driving privileges.

New Driver Act and the probationary period

During the first two years after passing your driving test, you're in a probationary period.

The New Driver Act is designed to encourage safe driving practices among new drivers. Under this act, committing major offences or gaining six penalty points in the first two years will result in your licence being revoked.

This probationary period is crucial as you must drive carefully to avoid accumulating six or more penalty points on your licence.

Points can be given for offences such as speeding, using a mobile phone while driving, or not wearing a seatbelt.

If your licence is revoked, you'll need to reapply for a provisional licence and retake both the theory and practical driving tests.

Keep your car insured, taxed, and well-maintained to reduce risks and penalties. Staying informed about driving laws and practising good driving habits will help you stay safe and keep your licence.

Using P plates

We recommend using P plates as they let other drivers know you're new to driving and may be more cautious.

P plates are not obligatory, but if you wish to display p plates, some insurance companies offer discounts for having them.

Having P plates can also make new drivers feel more confident and relaxed when driving. They indicate to other drivers that you may need more time and space.

Car insurance

After passing your driving test, you will need to update your car insurance.

If you previously had learner driver insurance, you must change this to a standard policy. Many insurers offer flexible options that allow you to easily transition your insurance.

You'll also need to inform your current insurer about your new status. This usually leads to a higher premium because new drivers are considered higher risk.

Key points to keep in mind:

  • Contact your insurer immediately after passing your test

  • Compare different policies to find the best rate for new drivers

  • Consider pay-as-you-go insurance if you won't be driving frequently

What can affect insurance premiums?

  1. Age: Younger drivers often face higher premiums

  2. Car type: Expensive or high-performance cars cost more to insure

  3. Location: Urban areas typically have higher rates

  4. Driving history: Any previous claims or penalties can affect your premium

It's also worth considering black box insurance. This type of policy uses a telematics device to monitor your driving and can be more affordable for safe drivers.

Buying your first car

After passing your driving test, you may want to purchase your first car.

When buying your first car, consider your needs. Decide if you want a new or used car.

New cars may come with a better warranty and the latest features but are more expensive. Used cars may be cheaper but may need more repairs.

We recommend setting a budget and sticking to it as well as checking reviews and ratings.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Budget: Consider the total cost of buying and owning a car, including insurance and maintenance

  • Size and type: Choose a car that suits your lifestyle and needs

  • Condition: If you're buying a used car, have a professional mechanic inspect it. Lower mileage typically means less wear and tear on the car

  • Safety features: Look for cars with advanced safety features for added protection on the road

Before making a decision, research different options, take test drives, and consult with experienced drivers for advice.

Tax and MOT requirements

After passing your driving test, it's important to understand the tax and MOT requirements for your vehicle.

Vehicle tax

MOT test

  • The MOT test ensures your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards

  • You must get an MOT by the third anniversary of the car's registration and then annually

  • If your vehicle passes the MOT, the result is recorded in the MOT database. You can view your MOT history online or request a printed MOT certificate from the test centre

  • Driving without a valid MOT can invalidate your insurance and result in penalties

Ongoing vehicle maintenance

After passing your driving test, knowing how to maintain your vehicle is important. Regular maintenance and servicing will keep your car running smoothly.

Check your car manual for recommended service intervals.

Basic vehicle maintenance checks

Perform these checks routinely:

  • Tyres: Inspect for wear and correct pressure

  • Oil: Check and top up as required

  • Lights: Ensure all lights are working

  • Wipers: Replace if they leave streaks

Fluid levels

Check the following fluids regularly:

  • Engine oil

  • Coolant

  • Brake fluid

  • Power steering fluid

  • Windscreen washer fluid

We recommend always keeping an emergency kit in your car. This can include a spare tyre and jack, jump leads, torch, basic tools and a first aid kit.

Further driver training

After passing your driving test, consider further improving your skills through additional courses.

One option is Pass Plus, an official course designed for new drivers. It includes six hours of practical lessons, covering topics like:

  • Motorway driving

  • Night driving

  • Rural roads

For more information about Pass Plus, you can visit GOV.UK.

Not yet passed your driving test?

Find out everything you need to know about the DVSA practical driving test with our comprehensive guide.

Are you looking for driving test tips? Get expert tips to help you pass the driving test first time.

If you have a driving test booking but need to move your test to an earlier date, our driving test cancellations checker can help you find an earlier appointment.

Find driving test cancellations now

Try our free driving test cancellation checker

Frequently asked questions about what happens after you pass your driving test

Typically, you will receive your full driving licence within three weeks.

If you hand in your provisional licence to the examiner, they will send it to the DVLA, and you will get your new licence by post.

Yes, you can start driving immediately after passing your practical test.

You will get a pass certificate from the examiner, which allows you to drive while waiting for your full licence to arrive.

In the UK, you can drive on motorways as soon as you have passed your test. Many new drivers take an optional motorway driving lesson with an instructor to build confidence and skills for these high-speed roads.

Yes, you can drive with passengers after passing your driving test.

However, we recommend practising driving alone or with a more experienced driver first before taking on the responsibility of transporting passengers.

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