Firstly, there are a number of criteria that you must fulfil before you can begin the application process to train to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland).

They are:

  • You must be over 21 years of age.
  • You must have held a full car driving licence for at least 3 years.
  • You must not be already registered as a driving instructor in another European Community (EC) country.
  • You must not have been disqualified from driving or have 6 or more penalty points on your driving licence.
  • You must not have ever been convicted of non-motoring offences of a sexual, violent, financial or drug related crime, or have been banned from working with children.

If you have any concerns or questions around any of this, we’re really happy to discuss these with you.

The process for qualifying to become an ADI has several stages.


Criminal Record Check

You will need to have a criminal record check when you apply, and then every four years if you choose to extend your registration. The DVSA will take all offences into account when assessing your suitability to be an ADI. This includes fixed penalties such as speeding, as well as convictions and cautions.


Part 1 – ADI Theory Test

The theory test is the first of three tests you will need to pass before you can register as an ADI. It is made up of two elements:

  • a set of multiple choice questions
  • a hazard perception test


To pass the Part 1 Theory Test you must :

Pass the multiple choice part of the test by scoring a minimum of 85% for the overall test, but not scoring any less than 80% within each of the four sections of the test, which measure your knowledge and understanding around

  • Road procedure
  • Traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians and mechanical knowledge
  • Driving test, disabilities, and the law
  • Publications and instructional techniques


This means it’s possible for you to get an overall mark of 85 per cent or higher, but still fail the exercise because you did not gain at least of 80 per cent in any one – or more – of the four categories.

To pass the hazard perception test, you must score 57 out of a possible 75.

There are loads of resources available to help with your training for the Part 1 test, and we’re really well placed to support you with this.


Part 2 – Driving Ability

The second part of the qualifying test for potential driving instructors (PDI’s) is a practical assessment of your driving ability. It involves separate assessments of your eyesight, and your driving technique. You must pass both parts of the test at the same attempt.

To pass the test, you must drive to a high standard of competence, demonstrating a well-planned, positive, progressive drive, sticking to and reaching national speed limits where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

During the test, you are allowed to make a maximum of six driving faults. Seven or more faults mean will result in a fail. One or more serious or dangerous faults will also result in your failing the test.

Your training for the Part 2 test will be in-car, on the road and will be centred purely around pushing, challenging and developing your current driving ability.


Part 3 – Instructional Ability

The third part of the ADI examination assesses:

  • The quality of your instruction
  • Your ability to pass your knowledge on to pupils


The test is in two parts – each of which lasts about half an hour. You will be asked to show your knowledge and ability by giving practical instruction to the examiner, who will play the role of a pupil.

The examiner will play two of the following roles:

  • A beginner or partly trained pupil
  • A pupil who is about test standard
  • A qualified driver taking further development training


To pass, the candidates must achieve at least a (satisfactory) grade 4 in each.


Qualification criteria

Parts 2 and 3 must be passed within two years of the successful part 1 attempt.

In addition to this, parts 2 and 3 are limited to three attempts in any two-year period.

If you do not qualify in this two-year period you must re-apply and re-take all the examinations.


Once you’ve passed

You MUST display proof that you are legally allowed to accept payment for driver training.

You must do this by displaying:

  • A green badge in the left side of the windscreen of the training vehicle showing your photo, name and confirming your entry on the Register.
  • A red/pink badge as a licensed trainee instructor provided you have passed your part 2 and have undergone a minimum amount of training. This licence is only valid for six months and is designed to give prospective driving instructors (PDIs’) valuable experience for their part 3 examination.