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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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We can provide references and information on the source material we use to write our epilepsy advice and information pages. Please contact our Epilepsy Helpline by email at helpline@epilepsy.org.uk.
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 2016

Comments: read the 10 comments or add yours

Comments

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

My fiancé has had epilepsy for 20 years, has been seizure free for 12 years and am still on medication. Could he reapply for his HGV licence?

Submitted by Tricia Fitzgibbons on

Hi Tricia.

The driving laws say that in order to apply for an HGV licence you have to be 10 years seizure-free and not having taken any epilepsy medicine during those 10 years. Sorry if that’s bad news.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

hi, only have seizures when waking up and its body seizures just a few twitches go away in minutes if take my time getting up and are very very rare. had my license for 10 years never lost my licence just thought what if. thinking off getting little scooter and then a car if all goes well thanks kevin

Submitted by kevin murray on

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your question. I believe we spoke on the helpline earlier. It’s important that the DVLA are up to date with your situation, so as we discussed, contacting them will be the first step.

If you have a seizure, or suspected seizure, the rules are you need to stop driving, notify the driving agency, and surrender your licence. This applies to scooters, motorcycles, cars, and other motor vehicles. In general, you will be able to apply for your licence again after one year of being seizure free. Depending on your seizure type, these rules may vary, as the driving section of our site describes. You can also talk with your epilepsy specialist and the DVLA to see how the regulations would apply in your case.

Sacha

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

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