2. Who needs to take the test

Great Britain licence holders

You usually need to take the theory test before you can get your first full car or motorcycle driving licence.

There are some exceptions.

Who doesn’t need to take the car theory test

You don’t need to take the car theory test if you have:

  • a full automatic car licence and want to upgrade to a manual car licence
  • a B1 licence (3 or 4-wheeled light vehicles)

You only need to take the driving test.

You can view your driving licence information online to check if the exceptions apply to you.

Who doesn’t need to take the motorcycle theory test

You don’t need to take the motorcycle theory test if you passed a moped test after 1 July 1996 and want to either:

  • take the motorcycle riding test on a small motorcycle (sub-category A1)
  • upgrade your motorcycle licence (eg from sub-category A1 to A2) under the ‘progressive access’ rules

You must have a valid motorcycle theory test pass certificate to take the motorcycle riding test under the ‘direct access’ rules.

Check what vehicles you can drive to find out if you can use the staged access or direct access rules.

Adding new categories to your licence

You’ll need to take another theory test if you want a licence for a new category of vehicle.

For example, if you have a car licence and you want a motorcycle licence you’ll need to take the motorcycle theory test before taking the motorcycle practical test.

You won’t normally need to take a theory test if you want to upgrade within a vehicle category.

You must make sure you have the right licence. Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you’re not sure if you need to take a theory test.

DVSA theory test enquiries
PO BOX 381
M50 3UW

customercare@pearson.com
Telephone: 0300 200 1122 (English)
Telephone: 0300 200 1133 (Welsh)
Textphone: 0300 200 1166
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Non Great Britain licence holders

If you don’t have a Great Britain (GB) licence you might still be able to drive in GB without taking a driving test.

Find out if you can drive in GB with your non-GB licence.

You don’t need a driving licence for electric bikes, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.