Guidance

Coronavirus: driving theory tests

Find out how theory tests are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and what changes to expect when you take your theory test.

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This page tells you about theory tests during coronavirus (COVID-19).

It will be updated if anything changes.

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Country What is allowed
England Theory tests are taking place.
Scotland Theory tests are taking place in council areas in local COVID protection levels 0 to 3.

Theory tests are suspended in council areas in local COVID protection level 4. You must not travel out of a level 4 area to take your theory test somewhere else.
Wales Theory tests are taking place.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will contact you if your test is affected by local restrictions and tell you what you need to do.

There’s different guidance about driving tests.

Keeping you safe at the test centre

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.

Safety precautions

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.

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

You must bring and wear a face covering for your test, unless you have a good reason not to. Good reasons are things like:

  • having a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability
  • wearing it would cause you severe distress

You need to say if you have a good reason not to wear a face covering when you book your test.

Your test will be cancelled if you come for your test without a face covering and you did not say that you could not wear one when you booked it.

Checking your ID

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.

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).

You can be fined up to £10,000 in England if you do not self-isolate when you’re supposed to.

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.

Published 20 April 2020
Last updated 1 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to confirm theory tests will restart in all areas of England on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

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

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

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

  5. 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.

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

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

  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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.

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

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

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

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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.

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

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

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

  23. First published.