What is a DVSA approved driving instructor?

November 16, 2021 [email protected]

What is a DVSA approved driving instructor?

Learners have to make a number of important decisions on their journey towards becoming qualified drivers. One of the most important decisions is finding the right driving instructor. We’re here to tell you all about what this means and the importance of choosing instructors that are DVSA approved.

What does DVSA-approved mean?

DVSA stands for Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Some of DVSA’s primary functions is carrying out driving tests, roadside checks and safety checks on both drivers and their vehicles. Some other key functions include approving would-be driving instructors and making sure that they have the capacity to carry out good quality tuition. If a driving instructor is ‘DVSA approved’, it means they are qualified and are registered by this key agency. In the UK, only DVSA approved instructors can charge for their tuition services.

A DVSA approved instructor is often interchangeable with an Approved Driving Instructor, or ADI. Learning with an ADI is your best chance of stacking the odds in your favour of passing your practical and becoming a well-rounded driver. While some choose to learn with friends and/or family, their guidance won’t be as thorough and rewarding as a professional’s.

In order to become a DVSA approved instructor, the would-be instructors go through intense training courses and have to pass three tests. Many instructors who go through this process don’t have to wait until they’re fully ADI qualified to start teaching. As soon as the instructor has passed their first two tests and finished 40 hours of training with a qualified instructor, they become Potential Driving Instructors (or PDIs)

How does an instructor become DVSA approved?

While practising on roads, learner-drivers must have supervision. There are a number of characteristics a driver must have in order for them to be allowed to ‘supervise’ a learner driver. The must:

  1. Be qualified to drive the vehicle type that the learner is driving in
  2. Have held their license for a minimum of 3 years
  3. Be of at least 21 years of age

While these are the minimum thresholds for an individual to supervise a learner, they can only charge learners for tuition if they are an ADI.

DVSA approved driving license


While learners have it relatively difficult themselves, driving instructors have to pass three tests in order to achieve the rank of a DVSA-approved instructor.

Test 1: Theory

The theory test for ADIs consists of 100 multiple choice questions and 14 hazard perception clicks. Candidates are permitted unlimited attempts.

Test 2: Driving Ability

For this phase, would-be ADIs must demonstrate safe driving in a number of road and traffic conditions. They must simultaneously show good knowledge of the Highway Code. While in the theory you are allowed unlimited attempts, they have three attempts in this phase.

Test 3: Instructional Acumen

This final phase entails observation of would-be ADIs by an examiner while giving an hour of tuition to a learner-driver. Similarly to phase 2, candidates have three attempts.

If candidates use up their attempts in part 2 or 3 they must start again. The DVSA carries out a rigorous process to ensure that instructors can charge for their lessons.

Becoming a DVSA registered instructor

After the aspiring instructor has passed all three phases, they are permitted to register as an ADI. It is from this point they are legally allowed to charge for their tuition. Registration lasts for four years and in order to renew their status, driving instructors have to pass a standards check. The purpose behind this is to make sure instructors commit themselves to providing quality tuition which follows DVSA standards. There are a number of situations which may result in instructors being removed from the ADI register.

These are the following:

  • Instructors (they) fail to meet the DVSA’s required standards
  • They fail to attend a standards check when called upon
  • They simply decide against taking the standards check

If a DVSA-approved instructor doesn’t quite nail it first time around, they are permitted two more attempts. If they fail on these occasions, they’ll have to re-take their ADI tests. On top of this, they’ll have to get another criminal record disclosure check.

Why should I learn with an ADI?

As discussed, ADIs have to do a lot in order to qualify. Not only do they have to pass three tests, they must re-register every four years in order to prove that they still have the knowledge and necessary ability to ensure high quality tuition that is consistent with the most up-tod-date DVSA standards. Ensure that you do your research when it comes to selecting the right ADI for you!

While practicing with friends and family is still useful, you simply won’t receive the same quality tuition as you would from a professional. ADIs know exactly what the DVSA are looking for and are more likely to leave no stone unturned in preparing you to pass your driving test.

Where’s the best place to find a DVSA-approved driving instructor?

If you want an ADI in your area, you can use the DVSA’s database. All you have to do here is type in your postcode and you get a list of instructors who cover your area. Alternatively, if you’d like to do a little more research into your instructor before reaching out, look no further than YouDrive!

We have a fleet of ADIs that you can search through, filter down using certain important criteria and book all through our platform. You can do this online or call us in order to do so.

Youdrive car


Top Rated Driving Instructors

location icon location icon
transmission icon
tick Expert Instructors
tick Verified Reviews
tick Transparent Prices
tick High Pass Rates