Before You Start

The first thing you need to do is apply for a UK provisional license. No Driving Instructor can give you lessons on a road, without a licence.

You can apply for one here:

You will need to take 2 Exams to get a Full UK licence. The Theory Test and the Practical Test. The Theory Test is just you and a computer, and most student’s study for it independently by downloading the DVSA Theory Test kit app, and going through the practice questions, the hazard perception clips, and the mock tests.  As a rule of thumb you are ready for the Theory Test when you have passed 2 Mock Tests on the app. If you struggle studying for the Theory, let Rachel know and you can do some Theory in your Practical Lessons.

You can then book in for your theory here:

For the Practical Test, you don’t have to go to the Test with a Driving Instructor; but you do have to provide a car. So you could go up and take it in your own car without seeing a UK instructor at all; but I would not recommend doing so. Being able to ‘Drive the car’ is the smallest part of the Test, you have to provide a practical demonstration of 43 different safety rules, and it has to be the UK way in accordance to the High Way Code and the DT1 Test regulations. The Examiner is not there to help you, you are there to prove you are ready to drive alone, so will only mark the Test and not tell you how to fix driving faults. Seeing a Driving Instructor will help you go through the rules in order to demonstrate them to the Examiner.

The cost depends on how many lessons you need. A UK driving instructor when teaching an overseas student will normally take them for a assessment drive on their first lesson, to see how much work they are likely to need. This is incredibly variable. Some international licence holders need a lot of work, and some don’t.

As stated, you need your Provisional Licence before you can start driving lessons, so you will need this before any instructor can book you in. However, you can start Practical lessons without passing your Theory Test as soon as you have your Provisional. You cannot book the Practical Test without a valid Theory.

Choosing Automatic or Manual? There are advantages to both

The DVLA stated before the syllabus changed in 2017, that it usually took at least 67 hours behind the wheel to get ready for Practical Test. When the syllabus changed 2 extra manoeuvres and a following a Sat Nav were added, so extra lessons are also needed to teach these items. Some students are ready in less hours, especially if they are able to access additional practice, some take more. You are ready as soon as you have mastered all of the topics on the syllabus.

Learning in an Automatic car means that you cannot stall, and don’t have to deal with gear changes.

However, learning in a Manual car will give you a licence to drive both Automatic & Manual cars, but if you learn in an Automatic car, your licence will only be for Automatic cars.

The choice is ultimately, up to you.

Still unsure? Go Manual.  Many UK based jobs still require a Full Manual licence.  Some of these are relatively obvious, for example, many careers in the Police, others are not, for example I know of a woman that worked for a Hotel chain that wished to go for a promotion at work.  She had an Automatic licence but the Hotel insisted on her doing an upgrade Practical Test to get a Manual licence to drive all of the company cars, before she went for the promotion.  Passing the Practical Test in a Manual car keeps your options open to drive all types of cars.