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How to add higher categories to your driving licence (staging and upgrading)

If you hold a full car driving licence (category B), it may be possible for you to apply for provisional entitlements in a higher category. There are also circumstances that will upgrade a lower category on your licence if you pass the driving test in a higher category.

Staging

If you passed your driving test on or after 1 January 1997 and you want to learn to drive a larger vehicle, you may be able to apply for the higher category. Once you have obtained provisional entitlement on your driving licence you can take the test in that category. For example, a driver must hold a full car licence (category B) before being able to apply for a provisional licence to drive a lorry, minibus or bus.

This is known as staging and will apply from the smallest to the largest vehicles.

The table below shows the full licence that needs to be held before you can apply for provisional entitlement in the higher categories.

Provisional entitlement required Full licence to be held
B+E*, G*, H*, C1, C, D1, D B
C1+E C1
C+E C
D1+E D1
D+E D

* Provisional entitlement granted automatically with full B licence

Upgrading

If you pass your test for a larger vehicle category, in certain circumstances a lower category will be upgraded. This does not apply, however, to a driver who has already passed a test which involves trailer entitlement for a larger or equivalent vehicle.

The table below provides an indication of the vehicle category held, the higher vehicle category that has been passed and the vehicle category that will be upgraded as a result of the test passed.

Full category held Additional test passed Upgrading
B, C1 C1+E B+E
B, D1 D1+E B+E
B, C1, D1 C1+E B+E, D1+E
B, C1, D1 D1+E B+E
B, C1, C C+E B+E, C1+E
B, C1, C, D1, D D+E B+E, D1+E
B, C1, C, D1, D C+E B+E, C1+E, D1+E, D+E

As a general guideline:

  • lorry entitlements can upgrade bus entitlements
  • bus entitlements can not upgrade lorry entitlements
  • both lorry and bus entitlements can upgrade car entitlements

For further information regarding staging or upgrading of vehicle category entitlements, you can write to:

Drivers Customer Services (DCS)
Correspondence Team
D12
DVLA
Swansea
SA6 7JL

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012