A theory test certificate is valid for two years from the date it was passed. Although this may initially seem like a long time, it can take some learner drivers many months of driving lessons to reach test standard.
There is of course the possibility of then failing a driving test and having to re book another test. Certain driving test centres can have very long test waiting times of well over two months. Once you have passed the theory test, it is often best to start driving lessons right away.
This will give you plenty of time to reach test standard and to take any test waiting times and test failures into account. Better still, start learning to drive as soon as you have your provisional driving licence. You do not need to have passed your theory test before you can start learning to drive.
Theory test expiry
If you have not passed the practical driving test within two years of passing your theory test, your theory test certificate will expire and you will need to book and pass the theory test again.
This will of course involve further expense for the test and if within the two years the theory test has been modified by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), it may require new study materials to be purchased. If you have a valid theory pass that is due to expire, you can book and retake your theory test before your current version expires.
Booking a practical driving test when the theory test certificate is due to expire
When booking a practical driving test, you are required to enter your theory test pass number. If booking online, you will be presented with a list of available driving test dates and times for your chosen test centre The DVSA’s database will know when your theory test certificate expires and as a result, will only show you available driving test dates up to the expiry date of your theory test certificate.
Considering that certain driving test centres have long waiting times for tests, this can be problematic if your theory test is nearing its expiry. This may possibly result in you having to book a driving test at a test centre that has a shorter waiting time.
If your theory test is due to expire and you are struggling to find a practical driving test date, you will need to either use another driving test centre (not recommended if you are not familiar with the driving test routes) or look for a cancellation.
Driving Test Cancellations
It is possible to get a short notice driving test by looking for test slots that other people have cancelled. Looking for driving test cancellations may take time and will require frequent checks of the DVSA website. See further details on booking a practical driving test in the learning to drive section.
If you intend on booking a test in an area you are not familiar with, gain familiarity with the driving test routes or better still, take a few lessons with a driving instructor as they will know all the challenging areas.
Lost theory certificate number
To book a practical driving test you will need your theory test certificate number. See lost theory certificate for further details on contacting the DVSA in such an event.