How to Apply for a PDI Licence

How to Apply for a PDI Licence


For people looking to pursue a serious career in becoming a driving instructor, a PDI licence is an important part of that process. In some cases, it might just be the thing that seals the deal when it comes to passing your ADI Part 3 test on your first attempt!

This blog looks at the licence as a whole: how to apply for it, how long it lasts and other frequently asked questions, ensuring you’re as informed as possible when you take your next steps into becoming an approved driving instructor.

What is a PDI (trainee instructor) licence? 

PDI stands for Potential Driving Instructor; this is a stage before becoming an approved driving instructor (ADI). A trainee licence is sometimes referred to as a PDI licence (or pink badge), since it signifies a point in your training where you are not yet fully-qualified but have progressed far enough along your journey to be able to deliver supervised lessons to real-life learners.

The PDI licence is a great thing to have if you’re looking to get some valuable training hours under your belt before your final practical exam, the ADI Part 3 test. The licence allows you to legally charge for lessons as a trainee instructor, which can help with covering transport, training and insurance costs in the run-up to becoming a fully-qualified driving instructor.

In fact, when becoming a trainee with a franchise such as Bill Plant Driving School, potential driving instructors can make upwards of £1000 per week in lesson fees!

When do you apply for a PDI licence?

In order to be eligible for a trainee Instructor licence you must complete 40 hours of training at Part 3 with a qualified Approved Driving Instructor and at least 10 of these training hours have to be in car training.

This means that once you’ve passed your ADI driving and theory test (ADI Test Part 1 and ADI Test Part 2), you are eligible to apply for your trainee driving instructor licence.

Do I have to apply for a PDI licence?

In between Parts 2 and 3 of your ADI training, you aren’t technically required to apply for your trainee driving instructor licence if you do not want to.

That being said, it’s worth the investment. Making the most of this licence will give you invaluable training before your final exam, and you’ll notice a difference in your confidence levels on the day. Ultimately, it could be the difference between passing or failing your final exam.

Just how important is it? Well, prospective learners should bear in mind that Part 3 of the ADI testing process is often regarded as the most difficult part to pass, with an average pass rate of around 30% across the UK. In order to maximise your chances of passing and attaining your ADI licence, jumping on any opportunities to do additional in-car practice is a great springboard to boost your confidence ahead of the final test.

To get the best possible start on your exams, check out our blog post on how to pass the driving instructor tests.

How do I apply for a PDI licence

Applying for a PDI licence is fairly simple but must be done through the dedicated online form on the official government website. From start to finish, it shouldn’t take you more than about 30 minutes to apply, provided that you have everything to hand. 

To save you time, here are the things you’ll need to complete the application process:

The forms required to apply for a PDI licence must be completed with the support of your training school or sponsor who will be able to verify that you have done 40 hours of training if it’s your first trainee licence application form.

What can and can’t you do under a PDI licence?

Given that this is a trainee driving instructor licence, there are set guidelines you must follow in order to carry out lessons.

According to government guidelines, here is what you can and can’t do.

  • You can provide driving lessons from the driving school of which you are a part. At this level, you are not allowed to operate as an independent service or start your own driving school.
  • You can’t advertise yourself as an instructor. Moreover, any advertising your training establishment does on your behalf must make it clear you are not a fully-qualified instructor at the time of providing the lessons.

Whilst taking part in driving lessons, you must display your trainee licence on the nearside edge of the front windscreen of your car. Failure to do so can result in penalisation.

If, during your 6 month period, you choose to move to another driving school, you must notify the DVSA. From there, they will reissue you another licence with updated details, free of charge.

How long can you have a trainee driving instructor licence for?

The PDI licence itself is valid for 6 months. This is an optimal amount of time for someone to fully familiarise themselves with teaching students and leading lessons in preparation for their final test.

Your trainee licence can be taken away before it expires, though. The ADI registrar can take your PDI licence away if:

  • You break any of the rules for having a trainee licence
  • The licence was issued by mistake or gained by fraud
  • You fail 3 attempts at the ADI Part 3 test

Working as a trainee driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School

If you’re ready to go ahead and jumpstart your career, Bill Plant Driving School has got you covered. We offer trainee instructors a range of driving instructor training course options that guarantees you future success as a professional instructor.

On your journey towards becoming an approved driving instructor, it’s crucial that you learn in the best environments possible, and that’s where we come in.

Bill Plant Driving School is an award-winning driving school and a well-respected company with years of training experience. Our training school offers comprehensive courses, whilst giving trainees all the support and training they need to pass their tests with flying colours.


How much does a PDI licence cost?

A PDI trainee licence costs £140 per application. Should you move to a different training school mid-way through your licence’s validity period, you must notify the DVSA of your change in circumstances and they will issue you with a new licence free of charge. 

How long can you have a PDI licence for?

Your PDI trainee licence expires after 6 months. You should aim to complete the required 20 hours of additional training and sit your ADI Part 3 test within this period.

How long does a PDI licence take to be delivered?

Providing your licence application is successful, your PDI licence should arrive within 2 to 3 weeks. 

Can I apply again after my PDI licence expires?

When your PDI trainee licence expires after 6 months, you are allowed to apply for a new one in certain circumstances.

Bear in mind, you will have to pay the £140 fee again, and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the DVSA looking for a valid reason to grant the applicant a new PDI licence. An example of a valid reason is a period of illness stopping the applicant from using their full 6 month period.You’re unlikely to be granted a re-application if you simply want more time to pass your Part 3 ADI exam, or did not follow any of the rules before.