What's involved in being a driving instructor

Your responsibilities as an approved driving instructor (ADI) teaching people to drive a car, your suitability for the job, and how to qualify.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales



This guide tells you what you must know about:

  • your responsibilities as an ADI
  • the qualification and registration process
  • the role and powers of the ADI Registrar and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

You have to declare you’ve read this guide when you apply to become an ADI.

Published 17 February 2018
Last updated 21 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated the address to write to DVSA to complain about driving instructor training in section 3.1 (train to become an ADI).

  2. Updated section 5.6 (Take ADI standards checks) to make it clear you must take a standards check when you're asked to by DVSA.

  3. Updated section 6 (Renew your ADI registration or re-register) to make it clear that if you do not re-register within 12 months of your ADI registration expiring, you need to start the process of becoming a driving instructor again.

  4. Updated section 2.5 (Having a criminal record check) to make it clear you cannot apply to become an approved driving instructor if you've been banned from driving in the last 4 years. Updated section 7.2 (Being removed from the ADI register) to make it clear that you will have the opportunity to provide evidence if the ADI Registrar intends to remove you from the ADI register.

  5. Updated the DVSA special test grades, which have changed from A to D, to gold, silver, bronze and fail.

  6. First published.

  1. Step 1 Check if you can become an instructor

  2. Step 2 Apply to become a driving instructor

    You must get a new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to start your application, even if you already have one.

    1. Get a DBS check £8.22
    2. Start your application
  3. Step 3 Get a trainer

    Get a registered trainer to help you prepare for the 3 qualifying tests.

    1. Find driving instructor training courses
  4. Step 4 Take the theory test (ADI part 1)

    1. Revise and practise for your test
    2. What you need for your test
    3. Find a theory test centre
    4. Book your test £81

    Once you've passed the theory test, you must pass the other parts of the test within 2 years or you'll have to start the whole process again.

  5. Step 5 Take the driving ability test (ADI part 2)

  6. Step 6 Get practice teaching

    If you’ve passed ADI part 2 you have the option to apply for a 6 month trainee licence to get experience teaching students.

    1. Find out about trainee instructor licences
    2. Apply for a trainee instructor licence £140
  7. Step 7 Take the instructional ability test (ADI part 3)

  8. Step 8 Register and start working as an instructor

    Once you've passed the tests you must register within 12 months.

    1. Register for your first ADI certificate £300

    When you have your certificate you can start charging for lessons. You can either:

    You'll have at least one standards check every 4 years. You also need to renew your registration and get a new DBS check every 4 years.

    1. Find out about ADI standards checks
    2. Renew your registration £300
    3. Improve your skills as an instructor