Explanation of the licences required and that can be taken for a full motorcycle licence
The Motorcycle Theory Test
If you wish to gain a full licence in any of the motorcycle or moped categories you must pass a motorcycle Theory Test before taking the practical tests. This must be done regardless if you hold a full car licence or just a provisional licence. To book your own theory test please call 0300 200 1122 or visit the Driving Standards Agencies web site, although we do include them as part of Full Licence courses and are happy to book them for you. The only people exempted are those taking a Progressive Access test where they have either waited for two years since their last Motorcycle Test or they still have an in-date Motorcycle Theory Test. From April 2014 the Theory Test must be done in English.
CBT & Motorcycle test
For the CBT the duration of the course and the standard achieved is the same for all the classes of licence. On motorcycles of 125cc or below the course can be conducted with up to four students. In the event that the CBT is conducted on a motorcycle eligible for the Restricted Licence or Direct Access Scheme (i.e. over 400/600cc) then there can only be two students and both of these must be over 19.
For the motorcycle test the standard to which you are tested by the Driving Standards Agency examiner is exactly the same regardless of the size of the machine. Likewise the duration of the test (normally 40 minutes) is the same in all cases. Some of the manoeuvres in the test are easier to do on smaller machines.
The licence that you receive will depend on your age and the size of the motorcycle that you took the test on, and nothing else. Please check Compulsory Basic Training for more information.
Complete CBT and the Motorcycle Theory Test then undertake training and motorcycle tests on an automatic or semi-automatic machine. The size of the machine that you take the test on and your age will determine what sort of machine can be ridden afterwards (see the other licence restrictions; A, A1 and A2). Upon passing the test, you will have a licence to ride an automatic or semi-automatic without L-Plates and you may carry a passenger. You may not ride any fully clutch and geared machine, except as a learner!
A1 Light Motorcycle
You must be at least 17 years old and have completed the CBT and Motorcycle Theory Test. Take training and motorcycle tests on a motorcycle between 120 and 125cc. On passing your test you can ride up to a 125cc without L-Plates and carry a passenger. This restriction is for 2 years or until you are 19 years old at which point you can take either the Progressive or Accelerated Access to get an A2 Restricted Licence. This is the only motorcycle licence option available to those aged 17 and 18 years old.
You must be aged 19 or over. First pass the CBT and Motorcycle Theory Test. Taking your training on a motorcycle of at least 400cc with between 25 (20kw from 2014) and 35kw. When you pass your test you will be able to ride a bike of any cc, as long as it is restricted to a 35kw/46.6bhp (and not derived from a bike of more than 70kw as standard or have a power to weight ratio exceeding 0.2kw/kg). Motorcycles that are normally over 35kw can be restricted, but you will be required to have a certificate of restriction. You can ride this without L-plates and carry passengers. This restriction is for 2 years or until you're 24 years old at which point you can take either the Progressive or Accelerated Access. This is the only motorcycle licence option available to those aged 19 - 23 years old.
Please see Restricted Licence Courses for more information.
This is available to anyone who has taken either an Automatic licence, an A1 Light motorcycle licence or an A2 Restricted licence and has become the correct age to take the next category inside two years of passing their previous test. You must be the correct age to take the next licence. There is no need to retake either the CBT but you may need to take the Motorcycle Theory Test if your old certificate has expired (they last for two years). The motorcycle tests must be taken on a motorcycle that is suitable for whichever category you're taking. (400 or 600cc). The outcome will be that you then hold the next category of motorcycle licence (A or A2).
The Progressive Access is more common than the Accelerated Access and is waiting for two years after passing the previous category. So for example a 19 year old that passes the A2 Restricted Licence will be able to take the category A licence (Direct Access Scheme) when they are 21 years old. This applies also to the A1 licence. You do not need to re-take either the Theory Test or CBT, and will simply have to take the Module 1 and 2 Motorcycle Tests on the next size up of motorcycle (400 or 600cc).
Full Unrestricted Category A Licence (Direct Access Scheme)
You must be aged 24 or over to be eligible for this, or have passed the A2 Restricted Licence at least two years ago. Complete a CBT & Motorcycle Theory Test if you have not taken a previous test. Then take a motorcycle test on a bike with a power output of at least 40kw (50kw and a weight of at least 180kg from 2019) and of at least 600cc. On passing your test, you will have a full unrestricted licence. Your road training will be taken on a large motorcycle with L-Plates. You can only ride a large motorcycle when accompanied by an authorised Direct Access Scheme Instructor.
Please note that this information is only a guide. The laws are remarkably complicated even for those that actually made them. If you would like any further details or complete clarity, please contact either the Driving Standards Agency or us. Alternatively follow the Step-by-Step Guide which will hopefully lead you to the correct licence and course type.
Foreign and EU Licences
Everybody who wishes to take their CBT, Theory Test and Motorcycle Test in the
It is possible to either exchange or gain a counter-part licence for some countries (most Common Wealth and EU countries). This can be done by going to a main Post Office to get a D9 form. Please be aware that the DVLA takes between two to three weeks to process a licence.
To check to see if your licence can be exchanged please call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 or visit their web site at DVLA.