Right Driver

How to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)

To legally charge anyone (either money or monies worth) for driving instruction in a car you must either be on the ADI register or 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.

Getting your ADI registration

You must be 21 or over and have had your driver licence for a manual vehicle for at least 3 years. You can start the application process up to six months before your 21st birthday because it takes at least six months to get your ADI licence, as long as you will have had your full manual car driver licence for at least three years. If you have an automatic car licence because of a disability, please contact DVSA.

If you’ve had disqualifications, endorsements or non-driving criminal convictions

If you have been disqualified from driving or have had six or more penalty points DVSA will consider your application and the circumstances of the disqualification (reason, how long ago it happened, etc).

Starting the process

You can start the process of becoming a driving instructor at this page.

DVSA produces a guide to the ADI register which you can download here. You must acknowledge that you have read this document. It explains the qualification and registration process, the role and powers of the ADI Registrar, and the role of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

You will need to get a criminal record check if the DVSA tool mentioned above requests that you do. This costs £6.

ADI Test Part 1

Test 1 is the theory test and hazard perception test. It costs £81 from 1 October. It takes about one hour 45 minutes to complete. You can practice all the ADI theory questions here for free.

ADI Test Part 2

You will be assessed on your driving ability including separate assessments of your eyesight and your driving technique. You must pass both parts of the test in the same attempt. The test costs £111. You must have passed part 1 before you can book part 2.

ADI Test Part 3

Part 3 assesses your ability to pass on your knowledge to your pupils. The examiner will play the role of a pupil and you will be asked to give practical instruction. The examiner will play the part of a fairly new driver, then a pupil who is about ready to take a test, and finally a pupil who is a qualified driver that wants further training. The test costs £111. You must have passed part 2 before you can book part 3.

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 – i.e. you’ll need to know all the road rules and observe them, plus not be seen to be ridiculing rules, ignoring them, encouraging others to ignore them or promoting dangerous driving
  • a high standard of driving and instructional ability – you must drive according to the law, and this includes obeying speed limits and mobile phone rules
  • a professional approach to your customers – customer service is important as your conduct reflects on other ADIs and DVSA
  • 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. If you are barred from working with people under 18 years old you may be committing a criminal offence if you attempt to work as a driving instructor.

Transferring your driving instructor licence from another EU or EC country

If you are a driving instructor in another EU country then you can apply to have your registration transferred.

You will need to fill out form D9: Application to register a non-GB driving licence with DVLA.

Once you have registered your non-GB licence you can start the application process here.

It costs £300.

The online service is available from 6am to 11:30pm.

You’ll also need to send:

  • a photocopy of your passport with the relevant residency page
  • a photocopy of your EC driving instructor certificate
  • a photocopy of your driving licence
  • a short letter with details of your EC driving instruction career, including dates and qualifications gained
  • a recent passport-sized photograph with your name written on the back


Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

Posted in Advice, Driving Instructors