What kind of vehicles can I drive with my DVLA driving licence?

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  • What do the numbers and letters on my driving licence mean?
  • What is a driving licence category?
  • Are driving licence categories and codes the same thing?

Ever looked at your driving licence and thought, “What do AM, B1 and all those numbers mean?”

Well, you’re not alone. Your pink card is full of useful info, beyond being used as just a form of identification. So, if you’ve just got your driving licence and looking for a guide to learner driver insurance, then this article is for you…

Where can I find my driving licence number?

You’ll find your driving licence number in section 5 on the front of your UK driving licence photocard.

If you’re looking for more information about your UK driving licence, you can visit the GOV.UK website. You’ll just need your driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode.


What do the numbers and letters on the front of my driving licence mean?


What it means:


Your surname


Your first and middle names


Your date and place of birth

4a Date licence was issued
4b Date licence expires
 4c  Licence issued by
 5 Licence number
 7 Your signature
 8 Your address
  9  Vehicle categories (what you can drive)


What do the numbers and letters on my driving licence mean?

The numbers and letters ‘categorise’ which vehicles you’re allowed to drive. These different categories can be found in column 9 below:


What it means you can drive:


2- or 3-wheeled vehicle up to 28mph


Light motorbike up to 125cc and up to 11kW


Motorbike up to 35kW


Motorbike over 35kW


Motor vehicles up to 4 wheels; up to 400kg


This depends on when you passed your test*


You can drive vehicles between 3,500-7,500kg


You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg


You can drive vehicles with up to 16 passengers


You can drive any bus with more than 8 seats


You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg with a trailer


You can drive C1 vehicles with a trailer over 750kg


You can drive C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg


You can drive D1 vehicles with a trailer over 750kg


You can drive D vehicles with a trailer over 750kg



  • If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, you can drive a vehicle and trailer up to 8,250kg; or a minibus with a trailer over 750kg.


  • If you passed your test after 1 January 1997, you can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg (including a trailer up to 750kg).


The Government website explains more about these categories.

What kind of vehicles can I drive with my DVLA driving licence?

When you pass your basic DVLA driving test, it’s likely the back of your licence card will look like the image below. You probably only passed your test so that you can drive your four-wheeled car up to 400kg, but did you know you also may be able to drive other vehicles?

There are other vehicles that you may be able to drive as well:

  • f means you’re qualified to drive a tractor.
  • k means you can drive a pedestrian-controlled vehicle* or a sit-on-lawnmower
  • q means you can drive two- and three-wheeled vehicles without pedals, as long as the engine size is no more than 50cc and the top speed is no more than 15.5mph. This doesn’t however, include battery vehicles – before you get excited about e-scooters and e-bicycles!

If you’d like to look into passing your test for categories higher than ‘B’, then why not find out how to get a van licence?

*A controlled vehicle has three or more wheels, weighs less than 450 kgs, and is not used to transport a passenger.

What’s the difference between the codes and categories on my licence?

Yes, there is a difference. So far, we’ve only covered the categories of vehicles you’re able to drive. What we haven’t discussed yet are the codes. These are the numbers found in column 12 below:

You might find that column 12 is empty on your driving licence, but if it isn’t, it’s worth noting what these numbers mean.

You should go through the government’s website to find the full list of driving licence codes, but we’ll cover the most common ones here:


What it means:


You need glasses or contact lenses to drive


Hearing/communication aid is needed to drive


You’re restricted to automatic vehicles


You’re limited to driving a vehicle with 16 passenger seats


You’re an organ donor

Finally, if there’s any other info you’re curious about on the back of your licence, you can find it in the image below:

So, there you have it; hopefully it’s pretty clear now which vehicles you’re able to drive and what those codes mean. Don’t forget to share it with family and friends, and if you’d like to share this page wider, remember to tag us @flowinsuranceuk on Facebook or Instagram. Just don’t forget the hashtag: #GoWithTheFlow

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