This guide (sometimes called the 'ADI14') sets out what's involved in becoming and being an approved driving instructor (ADI).
About this guide
When you’re applying to become an ADI, you have to declare that you’ve read this guide. This includes all of the pages that are linked from it.
This guide tells you everything you must know about:
- the qualification and registration process
- the role and powers of the ADI Registrar
- the role of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Driving instruction: the law
To legally charge anyone (either money or monies worth) for driving instruction in a car you must either:
- be on the ADI register
- have a trainee’s ‘licence to give instruction’ issued by the ADI Registrar
You must display your ADI registration certificate or trainee licence while carrying out paid instruction.
The full legal requirements are in these acts and regulations:
- The Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended)
- The Motor Cars (Driving Instruction) Regulations 2005 (as amended)
- Driving Instruction (Suspension and Exemption Powers) Act 2009
- The Driving Instruction (Compensation Scheme) Regulations 2012
- The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999
ADI Registrar: role and powers
The ADI Registrar is responsible for DVSA’s ADI register and can:
- refuse to let you join or stay on the register if you don’t meet the registration rules
- remove you from the register in certain circumstances
- refuse readmission to you if you were previously removed for any of the above reasons
The ADI Registrar is acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport when they:
- ask you to give information to register or stay on the register
- make decisions about your registration
Responsibilities of an ADI
You’ll be responsible for your own safety, that of your pupil and other road users.
You’ll be expected to show:
- a high regard for all aspects of road safety
- a high standard of driving and instructional ability
- a professional approach to your customers
- a responsible attitude to your pupils and profession
- that you’re a ‘fit and proper’ person
‘Fit and proper’ criteria
When deciding if you’re a ‘fit and proper’ person, DVSA will check to see if you have:
- had any motoring or non-motoring cautions or convictions
- been disqualified from driving
- any court proceedings pending against you
- any penalty points on your licence
You can find out more about the suitability of ex-offenders to become an ADI.
You could be committing a criminal offence if you seek to work as an ADI if you’re banned or barred from working with children under 18.
Start the qualifying process
You must meet certain rules if you want to start qualifying to become an ADI. The process you have to follow will depend on your situation.
You can use the ADI job preview tool to find out:
- what it means to be a ADI
- whether you’re suitable for this kind of work
- your level of understanding of driving theory and practice
Train to become an ADI
There are many organisations that offer training to become a driving instructor.
There is no statutory scheme governing the training of driving instructors, but DVSA administers the voluntary Official Register of Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT).
You can download a copy of the ORDIT terms and conditions (PDF, 101KB, 8 pages) that trainers agree to.
Complaints about ORDIT training
You should complain to the training organisation if you’re not happy with the standard of training you’ve received. You can write to DVSA if you aren’t able to settle matters with them yourself.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
DVSA produces learning materials that will help you to qualify as an ADI.
You can buy these from The Stationery Office (TSO) and most high street and online book shops.
Take the qualifying tests
- pass 3 qualifying tests to become an ADI
- complete the qualifying process within 2 years of passing the ADI part 1 test
You’re only allowed 3 attempts at each of the ADI part 2 and part 3 tests. You’ll have to restart the process if you use up all your attempts or if it’s more than 2 years since you passed the ADI part 1 test.
You have to wait until 2 years after you passed the ADI part 1 test before you can start the process again.
ADI part 1 test
Read about the ADI part 1 test.
ADI part 2 test
Read about the ADI part 2 test.
ADI part 3 test
Read about the ADI part 3 test.
Trainee driving instructor licence
You can apply for a trainee driving instructor licence after you pass the ADI part 2 test.
A trainee licence:
- helps you get experience instructing pupils to drive so you can prepare for the ADI part 3 test
- allows you to get paid for giving instruction
- lasts for 6 months
You can apply for another trainee licence when your first runs out. You can do this if you feel you haven’t had the full benefit out it.
If you stop using your trainee licence you should tell DVSA, this will count in your favour if you need to apply for a further licence.
It’s unlikely that you’ll get another licence just to give you more time to pass the ADI part 3 test.
Read the rules about the trainee licence.
Register as an ADI
You can register as an ADI when you’ve passed all 3 qualifying tests. You must register within 1 year of passing the ADI part 3 test.
You’re then allowed to:
- call yourself a ‘Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor (Car)’
- charge either money or monies worth for giving driving instruction
Your registration will last for 4 years.
When you’re an ADI
How busy you are and how much you earn will depend on your own ability to market your skills. You’ll generally be in competition with other ADIs.
Run your own driving school
You can start your own driving school. You’ll need to set up as a sole trader to do this.
DVSA and the driving instruction industry have an agreed voluntary code of practice which you can sign up to.
Manage your ADI registration
You’re responsible for your ADI certificate including renewing it and keeping your registration up to date.
You must tell DVSA in writing within 7 days if you get any caution or conviction. This includes:
- being ‘bound over’
- having your name entered in the sex offenders’ register
- being banned or barred from working with children
- any motoring or non-motoring offence, including penalty points
Read about how to manage your registration.
You must also update your ADI registration within 7 days if any of the following change:
- your name
- your permanent home or business address
Take ADI standards checks
During your period of registration you must take a test of ‘continued ability and fitness to give instruction’ - commonly known as a standards check.
You can be removed from the ADI register if you:
- don’t attend your standards check
- don’t reach an acceptable standard
Read about how ADI standards check works.
Renew your ADI registration or re-register
You’re responsible for renewing your ADI registration every 4 years.
You must get a criminal record disclosure check before you renew your registration or re-register. You can apply for this up to 6 months before your registration runs out. This normally takes around 3 months but can sometimes take longer.
You must also still be a ‘fit and proper’ person.
You can re-register as an ADI if your registration ran out in the last 12 months.
Appeal a registration decision
You can appeal to the transport tribunal if you disagree with a decision that the ADI Registrar has made about your registration.
Read about how to make an appeal.
You can read summaries of decisions that have been made on appeals to see if it’s likely that your appeal will be successful.
Being suspended as an ADI
Your ADI registration can be suspended if the ADI Registrar thinks you pose a significant threat to public safety.
You can’t get paid for giving driving instruction if you’re suspended.
Read about your rights if your registration is suspended.
Services for ADIs
DVSA has a range of services for ADIs.
These services let you manage your registration. They’re available from 6am to midnight, 7 days a week:
- apply to become a driving instructor
- apply for a trainee driving instructor licence
- apply for your first ADI badge
- update your ADI registration
- Pass Plus services
- get a criminal record check to renew your driving instructor registration
- renew your ADI registration
You can also use these services to book and manage tests for your pupils:
- book, change and cancel theory tests for your pupils
- book, change and cancel practical driving tests for your pupils
If you need to contact DVSA by phone, you should use the DVSA fast track service for driver and rider trainers.
You should check the driving and motorcycle instructors section if you need more information.
You can contact DVSA if you can’t find the answer to your question.
Published: 13 November 2012
Updated: 14 January 2015
- Added a link to guidance about the suitability of ex-offenders to become a driving instructor.
- Added links to the service to get a criminal record disclosure to renew your approved driving instructor registration.
- Added information about how long it can take to get a criminal record disclosure check and how instructors can use the DVSA fast track service when they need to phone DVSA.
- The standards check replaces the check test on 7 April.
- Added information about the ADI job preview tool and the check test being replaced by the standards check.
- Updated the guide to a new format, and added clarification about the role and powers of the ADI Registrar
- First published.