Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): driving theory tests

Theory tests are taking place in England, Scotland and Wales - find out what changes to expect because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page has been withdrawn because it’s no longer current.

Read more about how these types of tests are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19):

Read more about how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

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This page tells you about theory tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be updated if anything changes.

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There’s different guidance about driving tests.

Check if theory tests are taking place

Theory tests are taking place in England, Scotland and Wales.

Booking your theory test

You can book your theory test online.

You can use the service to change your theory test appointment to look for earlier appointments after you’ve booked your test.

If you cannot wear a face covering during your test

When you book your theory test, you need to say if there’s a good reason you cannot wear a face covering when you take your test. This includes if:

  • you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress

From 19 July 2021 in England, you can choose whether or not to wear a face covering at your test.

When you must not go to your test

You must not go to your theory test if:

Change your test appointment or cancel your test if you’re not able to go.

When you come for your theory test

You have to come into the test centre alone. This is to help with social distancing.

You must bring and wear a face covering for your test, unless you have a good reason not to.

Your test will be cancelled if you come without a face covering but you did not declare you could not wear one.

From 19 July 2021 in England, you can choose whether or not to wear a face covering at your test.

You will need to remove your face covering so the test centre staff can check your ID.

Find out how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

Safety precautions

In England and Wales, you will be at least 1 metre apart from other people.

In Scotland, you will be at least 2 metres apart from other people.

From 19 July 2021 in Scotland, you will be at least 1 metre apart from other people.

To keep you safe, test centres are:

  • doing extra cleaning
  • using protective transparent screens at the reception desk
  • providing hand sanitiser for you to use when you arrive at the test centre, during your test and when you leave
  • cleaning workstations (including computers and headphones) before every test

Staff will wear a face covering (unless there’s a medical reason that it’s not recommended for them) and gloves.

Photo of a woman handing her driving licence to a member of staff behind a desk. They are both wearing face coverings.

Hand sanitiser will be available when you arrive at the test centre.

Photo of a woman cleaning the inside of a locker with an antiviral wipe.

You must store your personal belonging in a locker. You can use antiviral wipes to wipe your locker before you put your belongings in it. If your test centre does not have lockers, you must put your belongings in a plastic box that will be given to you - this must be stored under your desk during the test.

 Photo of a woman sat at a desk taking a theory test

In England and Wales, workstations and chairs will be spaced so you’re 1 metre away from other people. In Scotland, they are spaced 2 metres away from other people.

If your theory test certificate expires

Your theory test pass certificate lasts for 2 years. You must pass your driving test in that time.

Your theory test certificate will not be extended because of COVID-19.

This is because your road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills need to be up to date when you’re taking driving lessons and when you take your driving test.

If your theory test certificate expires, you will need to take and pass a theory test again.

More information

Check the guides about the theory test for:

Contact DVSA to get help with your theory test if you cannot find the answer to your question.

Published 20 April 2020
Last updated 16 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the sections on booking your test and when you go for your test to confirm that from 19 July 2021 in England, you can choose whether or not to wear a face covering at your test.

  2. Updated to confirm that from 19 July 2021 in Scotland, you will be at least 1 metre apart from other people.

  3. Updated to confirm the restart of theory tests in Scotland from 26 April 2021.

  4. Updated to confirm the restart of theory tests in England and Wales from 12 April 2021.

  5. Updated to confirm that theory tests in Scotland will restart on 26 April 2021 at the earliest.

  6. Updated with information about the earliest date theory tests will restart in Wales.

  7. Updated with information about the earliest date theory tests will restart in England.

  8. Updated to say theory tests are suspended in England, Scotland and Wales.

  9. Added other areas that are currently in Tier 4 in England, where all theory tests are suspended.

  10. Updated the information about restrictions in Scotland.

  11. Added information about the suspension of driving tests in areas in Tier 4 in England. Updated information about the suspension of driving tests in areas in alert level 4 in Wales.

  12. Updated the information about restrictions on theory tests in Wales.

  13. Updated to confirm theory tests will restart in all areas of England on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

  14. Added content about driving tests in Scotland being suspended in local COVID protection level 4 areas.

  15. Updated to clarify that national restrictions in England apply up to and including Wednesday 2 December 2020.

  16. Added information about the suspension of theory tests in England from 5 November 2020. They'll start again on 2 December 2020.

  17. Updated the information about wearing a face covering, as you must now wear one in England, Scotland and Wales, unless you have a good reason not to.

  18. Updated to explain that driving theory tests will be suspended in Wales because of the coronavirus firebreak.

  19. Removed the section about people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus, as shielding has now been paused in England, Scotland and Wales.

  20. Updated the section about emergency theory tests for critical workers, as you can no longer apply for an emergency test, and updated the section about social distancing for test centres in Wales.

  21. Changed England social distancing information to read that it has been reduced to 1 metre, and other guidelines to reduce risk

  22. Updated content to say that shielding was paused in England on 1 August 2020.

  23. Updated the section about when to take your test if you're clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus to add the date shielding will be paused in Wales.

  24. Added information about theory tests restarting in Wales on 3 August 2020.

  25. Updated the section on coming for your test in Scotland to make it clear that you must bring and wear a face covering.

  26. Added information about theory tests restarting in Scotland on 22 July 2020.

  27. Updated the guide to make it clear that theory tests are still suspended in areas under local lockdown in England. Updated the section about when you must not come for your theory test to explain that from 10 July, you will not have to self-isolate if you’re arriving in England from a country or territory on the travel corridors list.

  28. Added new photographs to show what to expect when you take your theory test.

  29. Updated the guide so that it only applies to England, and added information about theory tests restarting in England from 4 July 2020. Information about theory tests in Scotland and Wales has been moved to a separate guide.

  30. Updated to confirm that theory tests are currently suspended up to and including 3 July 2020.

  31. Removed the date of 31 May 2020, as theory tests are still suspended beyond that date.

  32. Changed the theory test suspension date from 8 May 2020 to 31 May 2020. Added content on how to claim out-of-pocket expenses for tests cancelled at short notice.

  33. Removed the email address to apply for an emergency test, and replaced it with a link to a new online service to apply. Added information about changes to the theory test not being introduced as planned on 14 April 2020.

  34. Changed content about identification documents needed to apply for an emergency theory test,

  35. First published.