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Driving agencies and licence categories

These pages are about driving laws in the UK. If you are looking for information about driving laws in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

About the driving agencies

As well as licensing vehicles, the driving agencies decide if people are allowed to drive. They are also responsible for issuing driving licences. 

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales
You will need to deal with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, or DVLA. 

If you live in Northern Ireland
You will need to deal with the Driver and Vehicle Agency, or DVA.

The terms ‘driving agency’ and ‘driving agencies’ are used in these web pages where the information applies to both DVLA and DVA. Where something applies only to DVLA or only to DVA, we make that clear.

Contact details for the driving agencies

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
Address: Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1TU
Tel: 0300 790 6806; Fax: 0845 850 0095
Website: dft.gov.uk/dvla
Email: eftd@dvla.gsi.gov.uk

Driver and Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland (DVA)
Address: Medical Section, Driving Licensing Division, Coleraine County Hall, Castlerock Road, Waterside, Coleraine, BT51 3TB
Tel: 0845 402 4000
Website: nidirect.gov.uk/motoring
Email: dvani@doeni.gov.uk

Which type of driving licence do I need, to drive different vehicles?

There are two different sets of rules for holding a driving licence, depending on the type of vehicle you want to drive. 

The table below shows which licence you need for different vehicles, and which set of rules you need to follow.

Vehicle description

Driving licence

category

Driving Licence

group
Motorcycles and scooters A+A1+A2 1
Cars; vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes; vehicles with 1-8 passenger seats B 1
Car plus trailer B+E 1
Vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes C1 2*
Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes C 2
Vehicles with 9-16 passenger seats D1 2*
Vehicles with over 16 passenger seats D 2
Tractors F 1
Road rollers G 1
Tracked vehicles H 1
Electric vehicles L 1
Mopeds P 1
Sit-on lawn mowers; children’s motor scooters K 1

*  If you have a Group 1 licence and you got your licence before 1st January 1997, and have not had your licence renewed since then, you can also drive vehicles in C1 and D1 categories. See DVLA or DVA websites for more information.

By law you don’t need a driving licence to drive any vehicle on private land. However, if your seizures are not well controlled, it could put you or others at risk when you are driving.

Contact DVLA or DVA for further information about vehicle descriptions and driving licence categories.

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This resource is freely available as part of Epilepsy Action’s commitment to improving life for all those affected by epilepsy.

On average it costs £414 to produce an advice and information page – if you have valued using this resource, please text FUTURE to 70500 to donate £3 towards the cost of our future work. Terms and conditions. Thank you

Code: 
B005.03

This information was written by Epilepsy Action’s advice and information team, with guidance and input from people living with epilepsy and experts at DVLA and DVA.

Epilepsy Action would like to thank staff at DVLA and DVA for their contribution to this information.

The DVLA and DVA have no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated June 2013
    To be reviewed June 2015

Comments: read the 30 comments or add yours

Comments

Would I be able to become a driving instructor despite having epilepsy? I have been seizure free for two years and driving for a year.

Submitted by Rhodri Higgins on

Hi. Some people with a history of epilepsy will be able to train to become a driving instructor. However, they must meet a number of criteria to apply for this, including the following.

  • You hold a full UK or European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) unrestricted car driving licence 
  • You have not been disqualified from driving at any time in the four years prior to being entered in the Register 
  • You must have held a full UK or EU/EEA driving licence in the same class of vehicle for three years and be aged 21 or over.

You can find out if you can apply to be a driving instructor, by answering some questions on the Gov.UK website: www.gov.uk/become-a-driving-instructor

More information about becoming a driving instructor is available from the Driving Standards Agency: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/dsa-bl/dsa_adi_14.pdf

I hope that helps.

Amanda
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Amanda@Epilepsy... on

I have a history of epilepsy but have been fit free for about 6years but I have just had an asleep seizure due to a missed medication will I lose my license

Submitted by Michelle on

Hi Michelle

You are allowed to drive if you meet either of the following criteria.

• You have had sleep seizures only for a pattern of at least 3 years.
• You have not had any kind of seizure for at least 12 months.

So, if the last seizure you had 6 years ago happened when you were asleep, you will be allowed to continue to drive. This is because you have only had sleep seizures for at least 3 years.

However, if the last seizure you had 6 years ago happened when you were awake, you will lose your driving licence. This is because you have not built up a pattern of sleep seizures only for at least 3 years.

I hope this helps. If you would like to discuss it further with an epilepsy adviser, please contact the Epilepsy Helpline, freephone: 0808 800 5050.

Amanda
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Amanda@Epilepsy... on

hi i haven't had a seizure for over 10 yrs but l'm still on medication . will i be able to apply for a taxi badge ?

jon

Submitted by jon holmes on

Hi Jon

Each licencing unit in each area has its own conditions to qualify to drive a taxi. The basic criteria is that you need to have held a full driving licence for at least 12 months. In London, for example, you need to have held a full driving licence for three years. Some licencing units say that you should qualify to drive a category C or D licence (class 2 licence). If this is the case you will need to be 10 years seizure free and 10 years off epilepsy medicine.

For specific licencing criteria for epilepsy and taxi driving in your area, you will need to contact your local licencing unit.  

Rosanna
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi
My Daughter of 18 has just started driving lessons and had a tonic clonic seizure last week, she has not been diagnosed with anything, is taking medication only for migraine and is waiting for a referral to a neurologist. Does she need to stop driving?

Submitted by Julie Taylor on

Hi Julie,

If it’s suspected that your daughter is having epileptic seizures she will need to stop driving until her medical investigations are finished. She will also need to send her driving licence back to the driving agency. If it’s found that she has epilepsy, she will need to fulfil the driving law before being able to drive.

If it isn’t epilepsy, the driving agency will be able to advise your daughter when she can reapply for her driving licence.

Rosanna
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi, I'm learning to drive and I have my test booked for a months time. I am being medically investigated for possible sleep seizures that started a month ago. There has been no diagnosis of Nocturnal Epilepsy yet. it is not likely that I will be diagnosed until after my Driving Test. therefore is it illegal for me to take my test in a month? or will I have to wait a whole year instead of a month to take it? thank, Georgie

Submitted by Georgie on

Hi Georgie

It must be very disappointing for you to have seizures a month before your driving test. However, if you are suspected of having epileptic seizures, even though you haven’t had a diagnosis of epilepsy, you should stop driving. Your provisional licence should be sent back to the driving agency. If you do have a diagnosis of epilepsy, you will be able to reapply for your provisional licence when you’ve been 12 months completely seizure free. Or, if you have only ever had seizures while asleep for a pattern of 12 months, you can apply for your licence.

If your seizures are found not to be epilepsy, the driving agency will advise you if there are any driving laws related to the type of seizures you had.

I hope this helps.

Rosanna
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi,
I have just noticed that the medical driving laws have changed and I am confused about how long I need to be free from seizures before I can drive. Would you be able to answer this question please? Iona

Submitted by Iona on

Hi Iona

Epilepsy affects people differently, so we’ll need to know about your epilepsy to be able to say if the new driving laws will affect you. Most people will find they will need to be 12 months seizure free before being able to drive. However, there are a few changes to the driving law which will affect some people.

If you go to the first page in the epilepsy and driving section of our website, this gives information on the new changes to the driving laws. If you prefer, you can speak to one of our trained epilepsy advisers on our Epilepsy Helpline 0808 800 5050. They can discuss how the new driving regulations might affect you.

Rosanna, Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

My daughter is eighteen and passed her theory when she was seventeen but had to stop her driving lessons due to partial seizures, the seizures are still not under control. What happens to her theory as it will be two years snce she passed in November.
Thank you

Jackie

Submitted by jackie on

i had a seziure at the begining of february this year how long till i can ride a 50cc motor bike

Submitted by george on

Hi George,

The Epilepsy driving standards for driving small vehicles says that you can apply or reapply for your licence as long as:

  • you have been free from seizures completely for one year. The one year’s seizure free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure. From the information you have provided that would be at the beginning of February 2014.
  • and as far as you are able, you follow your doctor’s advice about your treatment and check-ups for epilepsy.
  • the driving agency must also be satisfied that as a driver you are not likely to be a source of danger to the public.

 

In England, Scotland and Wales, you can reapply up to two months before the date you can legally drive again.

In Northern Ireland these forms can only be sent in two weeks before the date the person can legally drive again.

 If we can be of any more help please feel free to contact us again either by email or the epilepsy helpline freephone number 0808 800 5050

 Kind regards

 Vicky

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Vicky on

I'm 18 and I had my first seizure a week ago, a tonic-clonic seizure. I passed my theory test last month and I still hold a provisional driving licence. Do I have to give this licence up, where can I find the regulations on this?

Thanks

Jamie

Submitted by Jamie on

Hi Jamie

The information on the driving section of our website applies to full, or provisional, driving licences. So, I’m sure it’s disappointing for you, but you will have to send your provisional driving licence back to the driving agency. You will be able to reapply for your provisional licence once you fulfil the driving law. See http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/stopping-driving#epilepsy-history

I hope this has answered your query.

Rosanna

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

im 40 years old had 3 fits 20 years ago and not had any more or taken any medication for 20 years can i get more categories like c1 and c back on the licence.
thanks Lee

Submitted by lee misri on

Hi Lee

Yes, as long as you meet all the driving regulations, you should be able to. This is because you have been seizure free and off medicine for more than 10 years.

Kathy
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

Hiya I currently have a provisional licence and have been seizure free for 2 years up until last week in which I had an isolated seizure which had no causes for why it occurred. I already have my theory test booked, but it's too late to cancel it as its this week? Can I still take my theory

Submitted by Karen on

Hi Karen

There’s no legal reason why you can’t take your driving theory test, even if you have had a recent seizure. However, it would be best to check how long the theory test is valid for, before your driving test is taken. You would need to be at least 12 months seizure free before being able to reapply for your driving licence and drive. You can find information on epilepsy can driving on our website. http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving

I hope this helps.

Rosanna

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

hello, i'm currently going through the process of reducing one of my epilepsy medications and have been doing this since January. I went to the hospital last week for my yearly check up and mentioned having a jerk and that i had started stuttering on occasion where i work with customers all day. Yesterday i received a letter saying to contact the DVLA as this sounds like seizure related activity. My worry is that im going to have my licence taken away when i have been seizure free for 5-6 years now!! and i have not driven my car since January when i started reducing my medication. My parents and friends drive me everywhere and i have a car i do not use. Whenever i used to have my seizures it was once a month in my bed, during the time of my period and the one jerk i had recently was when i was lying down.
I'm just worried i am going to loose my licence and have trouble getting it back, after having to wait so long to get it in the first.

Submitted by kathryn on

Hi Kathryn

The driving regulations say that you must tell the DVLA when you have had a possible seizure. The new driving regulations amendments say that you may be able to reapply for your licence after six months of being seizure free again if

  • you were seizure free before the medicine change started and
  • you have written advice from your doctor approving the withdrawal and
  • you go back to the dose of epilepsy medicine on which you were seizure free.

So, from the information you have given us, you will need to tell DVLA about your jerk and stuttering. But you may be able to apply for your driving licence once you have been seizure free for six months.

I hope this helps.

Kathy

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

I had some seizures and my licence was revoked. I have now been seizure free for over a year and can reapply for my licence. I passed my test and got my licence in 1993. My licence had C1 and D1 (not for hire or gain) on it as it was before 1997. Do l lose C1 and D1 and also + E if I get my licence back?

Submitted by Jacob on

Hi Jacob

As your licence was revoked because of epilepsy, your new licence won’t include C1 and D1 categories. A  C1 and D1 entitlement will come under group 2 licences. We have some information on how to get a group 2 entitlement adding to your licence on this driving section of our website. See, Rules for group 2 licences. https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/driving-licences-group-2-rules

However, you can drive a car with a trailer (licence category B+E). This is for those with a group 1 licence.

I hope this helps.

Rosanna

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

Hi can you advise how I get my licence renewed. It was issued in 2011 for 3 years following voluntary surrender having suffered from a seizure, the first for 10 years. The renewal date is May 14 and I am unsure of the process for getting a new licence issued. Can you advise please.

Submitted by David Brumby on

Dear David

Here is all our information about reapplying for your licence. If you live in England, Scotland and Wales you have to complete a D1 form and a medical questionnaire. These forms are available from Post Office® branches. You can also order a D1 pack from the DVLA website, which has everything you need. You can send the forms to DVLA up to eight weeks before you can legally drive again.

Hope that helps.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

Hello,

My wife had an asleep seizure yesterday as a result of trying to reduce her medication. Before that she hadn't had one for 2 years (both of which were asleep seizures) because again she tried to reduce her medication.

The only ones before that were before that were in 2005 before she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and as such wasn't on any kind of medication - these were not asleep seizures.

Will she lose her driving licence?

Submitted by Daniel Chapman on

Hi Daniel

There are three possible options regarding your wife’s driving situation.

1. If she has a licence based on having asleep seizures only, and she had another seizure of the same type, she will not need to stop driving.

2. If her licence is based on being at least one year seizure free, she will need to stop driving and tell the driving agency. She may be able to reapply for her licence after six months of being seizure free again. This is if:

  • She was seizure free before the medicine change started and
  • Has written advice from her doctor approving the withdrawal and
  • She goes back to the dose of epilepsy medicine on which she was seizure free.

3.  As your wife has had awake seizure in the past. If she now has at least a three-year pattern of seizures while asleep only, she will need to contact the DVLA to get her records amended. The driving agency will advise if she has to stop driving whilst they amend her records or not.

I hope this gives you your answer. If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

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