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Trainee Licence

Practical Instructional Experience

It is possible to get practical experience before taking the Register Qualifying Examination.

You may instruct friends or relatives so long as no payment is involved.

You can also apply for a trainee licence, and, if granted, this will allow you to instruct for payment although you are not registered as an Approved Driving Instructor. Many people pass the qualifying examination without needing a trainee licence. Application forms may be obtained from:
  • Register of Approved Driving
    Balmoral Road,
    Malone Lower,
    BT12 6QL


Trainee Licence Validity Period

Trainee licences are valid for six months, and apart from very exceptional circumstances you will only be granted two licences, irrespective of the number of times you re-enter the qualifying process, as we do not intend you to be granted licences for as long as it takes you to pass. It is not vital that you hold a trainee licence before you become registered and the licence is not an alternative to registration.



If you apply for a trainee licence you must:

  • currently hold a full Northern Ireland, Great Britain or Community car driving licence;

  • have held one of the above or a foreign licence for a total of 4 years out of the past 6 years preceding the date of your application;

  • not have been under disqualification from driving for more than 12 months for any part of the four years preceding the date of your application;

  • be a fit and proper person;

  • have passed Parts I and II of the Register Qualifying Examination and not failed Part III on three occasions.

  • Trainee Licence Application Form - £120.00 fee (pdf 225kb)
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    Licencing Conditions

    The conditions under which a licence is granted are:

    You are only authorised to give instruction from the address shown on the licence. If you change your supervising ADI you must apply to have your licence re-issued.

    • It is important that you appreciate that a Trainee Licence does not allow you to set up in business on your own behalf. You should not advertise yourself, your telephone number or any 'brand' which is unique to you, which might infer that you are an ADI.

    • For the 6 months that your licence is in force, you must be under the direct personal supervision of an ADI for at least 20% of the time for which you give paid instruction; "direct personal supervision" means that the ADI must accompany you during the lessons you give in order to monitor closely the quality of your instruction.

    • You must keep a daily record of the time you spend giving instruction and the supervision you get during the first 6 months. This must be signed both by you and the supervising ADI. The record must be produced, on demand, to an authorised officer of the Department, and at the expiry of the licence it must be sent to us. Remember it is vital that you get the training and supervision mentioned above from your driving school or supervisor. It could be the difference between you passing or failing the Register Qualifying Examination or having your licence revoked.

    • Regulation 19(2)(a) of the Motor Cars (Driving Instruction) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 states that “where a person applies for a new licence in substitution for a licence held by him and current at the date of application, the previous licence shall not expire until the commencement of the new licence.” Therefore, if it is your intention to apply for a second licence, you must submit your application before the expiry of your first licence in order to remain entitled to give instruction for payment or reward. Failure to do so may result in your application being refused.

    • The use of the licence is your own responsibility. No refunds will be given for any period when the licence is not used, or for any period after you have passed the Register Qualifying Examination.

    • DVA recommends that anyone taking training to pass the qualifying examinations, should make appropriate checks regarding the competence of the trainer or training school which they have chosen - particularly before handing over advance fees for tuition. ADI trainers are not regulated and the Agency cannot recommend any. It is therefore in your interests to make sure that you know what to expect for your tuition fees in advance and it might be worth your while to 'shop around'. Ideally, training should cover the items listed below.


    Licence Advice

    If your licence is lost or stolen you should report it to the police and DVA ADI Section.

    The Registrar can revoke your licence if:

    • any of the conditions under which the licence was granted are not kept; or
    • the licence was issued by mistake or gained by fraud.


    Displaying the Trainee Licence

    It is not a requirement to display your trainee licence but it would be a good idea for you to do so to indicate to learners and to the enforcement agencies that you are permitted to instruct for reward.


    Programme of Training for Licensed Trainee Driving Instructors

    1. Explaining the controls of the vehicle, including the use of dual controls
    2. Moving off
    3. Making normal stops
    4. Reversing, and while doing so entering limited openings to the right or to the left
    5. Turning to face the opposite direction, using forward and reverse gears
    6. Parking close to the kerb, using forward and reverse gears
    7. Using mirrors and explaining how to make an emergency stop
    8. Approaching and turning corners
    9. Judging speed, and making normal progress
    10. Road positioning
    11. Dealing with road junctions
    12. Dealing with cross roads
    13. Dealing with pedestrian crossings
    14. Meeting, crossing the path of, overtaking and allowing adequate clearance for, other vehicles and other road users
    15. Giving correct signals
    16. Comprehensive knowledge of traffic signs, including road markings and traffic control signals
    17. Method, clarity, adequacy and correctness of instruction
    18. General manner