The UK driving licence categories - what car can you drive on your licence?

We explain all of the UK driving licence categories, describe what car can you drive with your licence and tell you how to upgrade your licence so you can do more with it...

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Jim Holder
08 June 2015

Here, we tackle some of the frequently asked questions about driving licences, including upgrades you may need for towing a trailer or caravan.

How do I pass my towing license?The rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your driving test.

Before towing, read the allowances described on your driving licence to see if you’re allowed to tow. A brief outline of basic allowances is given below, but for more information visit the government’s official towing calculator here.

Licences issued from 19 January 2013If you passed your car driving test (category B) from 19 January 2013, you can tow small trailers weighing no more than 750kg or a trailer over 750kg as long as the combined weight of the trailer and towing car or van is no more than 3500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

You must pass the car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

Licences issued from 1 January 1997If you passed your car driving test between 1 January 1997 and 18 January 2013, you can drive a car or van up to 3500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM or tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

You must pass the car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

Licences held before 1 January 1997If you passed your car test before 1 January 1997 you’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8250kg MAM, although you should view your driving licence information to check.

You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

If you wish to tow greater loads you will have to apply for a provisional licence and pass a mandatory test.

Drivers wishing to tow should always be aware of the car towing weight and width limits that must legally be adhered to. Further information is available here.

Do you need a license to tow a caravan?Yes. The same rules apply for a caravan as they do a trailer.

To book your car and trailer driving test you must first have a full car driving licence. You don’t need to pass another theory test. The test is sometimes called the ‘B+E test’.

During the test you must be able to prove that you can drive safely in different road and traffic conditions and show that you know The Highway Code by the way you drive.

Further official government information on the national standard for driving cars and light vans can be downloaded from here.

How long do penalty points last on my licence?If you commit a motoring offence in the UK, you're likely to end up with points on your driving licence. The number of points you receive depends on the severity of the offence, and the points can stay on your licence for up to 11 years.

For the full guide to How long penalty points last on your licence click here.

How do I upgrade my licence?If you wish to add additional categories to your licence first you must obtain a ‘provisional entitlement’ and then take a test.

To drive some, typically larger types of vehicle, you must sometimes first pass a test for an intermediate vehicle type. For the full list of what licence you must hold prior to applying for an upgrade, visit the official government website here.

If you pass a higher category driving test you may also be automatically entitled to lower categories that will then be added to your licence. However, this is not always the case, so always check - if you get the trailer entitlement for a larger vehicle you won’t get the trailer entitlement for the smaller vehicles, for instance.

The process of being granted a ‘provisional entitlement’ is sometimes referred to as staging.

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