Guidance

Coronavirus: driving theory tests

Theory tests have restarted in England, Scotland and Wales - find out what to expect when you take your test.

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This page tells you about theory tests during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Theory tests have restarted in England, Scotland and Wales, with new social distancing and safety precautions in place.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will contact you if your test is affected by a local lockdown.

There’s separate guidance about driving tests.

Keeping you safe at the test centre

DVSA has introduced social distancing measures and safety precautions at test centres.

Social distancing

England

Test centres in England have reduced social distancing to 1 metre.

You are asked to consider ways to reduce risk such as not sitting opposite another person and wearing a face covering.

Scotland and Wales

Test centres in Scotland and Wales have floor markings to keep people 2 metres apart. Workstations and chairs are also 2 metres apart so you’re an acceptable distance away from other people

Safety precautions

Test centres have introduced extra measures to keep you safe.

These include:

  • extra cleaning of the test centres
  • 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.

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

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 taking an antiviral wipe from a packet.

Antiviral wipes will be available for you to wipe your locker before you put your belongings in it.

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

Antiviral wipes will be available for you to wipe your locker before you put your belongings in it.

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

In England workstations and chairs will be spaced so you’re 1 metre away from other people.

Wearing a face covering

England

In England, you’re strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when you come for your test. Do not wear one if you may find it difficult to manage, for example, you have a respiratory condition.

Scotland

In Scotland, you must bring and wear a face covering when you come for your test, unless you have a good reason not to. 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

Wales

In Wales, you can wear a face covering if you want to. Do not wear one if you may find it difficult to manage, for example, you have a respiratory condition.

Checking your ID

You will need to remove it briefly so the test centre staff can check your ID.

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

When you must not come for your test

You must not come for your theory test if:

Change your theory test appointment if you need to self-isolate on the day of your theory test.

You can do this free of charge if you’re self-isolating, including if you do it at short notice (within 3 clear working days of the test).

If you recently entered the UK

If you’ve entered the UK in the last 14 days you must not go to your test, unless you:

Find out about the rules for returning to the UK.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should have received a letter telling you that you’re in this group or have been told by your GP.

DVSA recommends that you take your test after shielding has been paused.

Shielding has been paused in England and Scotland, and will be paused in Wales from the 16 August 2020.

Changes to the theory test planned for 14 April 2020

The changes to the theory test that were planned to be introduced on 14 April 2020 have not gone ahead. This is because of the coronavirus outbreak.

DVSA will make these changes to the theory test as soon as possible. In the meantime, the theory test will continue to work in the same way as it did before April.

Apply for an emergency theory test if you’re a critical worker

You can apply for an emergency test if you urgently need a test because you’re classed as a critical worker. This includes if you work in:

  • health and social care
  • education and childcare
  • key public services
  • local and national government
  • food and other necessary goods
  • public safety and national security
  • transport
  • utilities, communication and financial services
Published 20 April 2020
Last updated 3 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Changed England social distancing information to read that it has been reduced to 1 metre, and other guidelines to reduce risk

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

  3. 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.

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

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

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

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

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

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. First published.