Guidance

Military drivers - exemptions to driving rules

British military personnel and visiting members of the armed forces have a number of driving exemptions to help them carry out their duties.

The majority of these exemptions are for young drivers to drive large vehicles often without the necessary additional large vehicle driving entitlement. The exemptions apply to British full time military personnel and the Army Reserve.

The minimum ages for driving most vehicles are lower for military drivers. This is provided the vehicles are being driven subject to the orders of a member of the armed forces of the Crown - the army, navy or airforce. Lower ages for driving do not apply when troops are off duty. They do not apply to visiting forces.

The minimum driving ages for military personnel are:

  • large motor bikes (category A) - 17 instead of 21 years
  • medium vehicles (category C1/C1+E) - 17 instead of 21 years
  • large goods vehicles (category C/C+E) - 17 instead of 21 years
  • passenger carrying for minibus (category D1) vehicles - 17 instead of 21 years
  • passenger carrying for bus (category D) vehicles - 17 instead of 24 years

Provisional entitlement

Military drivers are subject to staging - they must pass tests in order, eg category B then C followed by C+E. However, there is a concession for full time serving members of the armed forces (not the Army Reserve) who can apply for both ordinary and vocational provisional entitlements in one application on the D1 form and then claim all the tests in one go.

Supervision of provisional licence holders

A supervisor must be a member of the armed forces of the Crown, acting in the course of his duties, who holds a full valid British, Northern Ireland (NI) or European Community (EC) licence for the class of vehicle being driven by the learner driver. The qualified driver does not have to be 21 years of age or have held a relevant licence for 3 years or more.

Mechanical Transport (MT) drivers permit

These permits are not recognised for exchange purposes and must be used in conjunction with a civilian driving licence when the holder is driving both military or civilian vehicles on public roads.

Visiting forces

To enable visiting forces (including military personnel, dependants and any associated civilian workers) to carry out their duties, a legislative agreement exists for large vehicles to be driven in this country. The holder must have a driving permit issued in the country which sends the force, or permit issued by the Service Authorities. These agreements also extend to the minimum age requirements.

Full entitlement

Non European Community (EC) visiting forces (eg USA forces)

All non-EC visiting forces (including military personnel, dependants and associated civilian workers) may drive British registered and temporarily imported vehicles. This is on the strength of a domestic driving permit issued in a country outside the UK or a British Forces (BFG) driving licence.

EC member states visiting forces

All member states visiting forces (including military personnel, dependants and associated civilian workers) may drive any British registered and temporarily imported vehicles. This is on the strength of a domestic driving permit issued in a country outside the UK or a BFG driving licence.

Members of visiting forces who may not drive

Members of visiting forces who may not drive include any driver who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence in this country. This includes military personnel, dependants, associated civilian workers, whether they are from EC or non-EC member states and British residents.

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