When thinking about choosing a driving instructor, what do you think is the most important factor? Is it how long your instructor has worked as a driving instructor? Is it how close they live to you? Nope, the most important thing you should look out for is your driving instructor being DVSA-approved. 

What the law says about a driving instructor being DVSA-approved

If someone is charging you for driving lessons they must be a Potential Driving Instructor or an Approved Driving Instructor. If they don’t fall into either of these categories then they are breaking the law. Only DVSA-approved instructors are legally allowed to charge you for driving lessons.

The GOV.UK  website states:

It’s illegal for someone to charge for driving lessons if they aren’t qualified and registered – you can report them to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The only people who can charge a fee to give driving lessons are:

approved driving instructors – they must display a green badge in their windscreen

trainee driving instructors with a licence – they must display a pink badge in their windscreen

To report someone who you think is an illegal driving instructor, email or phone DVSA.

Why a Driving Instructor needs to be DVSA-approved

Apart from it being a legal requirement, a driving instructor who is DVSA-approved is a proven safe pair of hands who you can trust.


If your driving instructor is not DVSA-approved then it could be dangerous for them to teach you to drive as they have not been through the checks that the DVSA undertakes. The DVSA regulates all of its driving instructors and makes sure they follow a set of rules of specifications. The DVSA conducts a criminal record check for people who apply to become an ADI. These criminal record checks also happen when an ADI re-registers every four years. According to the DVSA, ADIs also need to be a ‘fit and proper’ person and that means adhering to professional and personal standards.

The DVSA’s continuous checks on ADIs ensures that they will be not a risk to learners.


Your driving instructor must have the right qualifications to teach others how to drive. For someone to become an ADI, they need to pass three tests and build experience with teaching learners. After becoming an ADI, they also need to pass a standards check every four years. The rigorous testing DVSA-approved driving instructors are put through ensuring that they are the best people to teach you how to drive.

 How to check if   your driving instructor is DVSA-approved

Now you know the importance of your driving instructor being DVSA-approved, you need to know how to find out if they’re DVSA-approved.

Check the DVSA’s database

The first thing you can do is check the DVSA’s ‘Find your nearest driving instructors’ tool. This database contains a list of the DVSA-approved instructors who have signed up to be listed. All you need to do is type in your postcode and find the driving instructors who are closest to you. When you do, you’ll be able to see their:

Full name


Phone number

Website (if provided)

Approximate distance from your postcode

You will also be able to see if an ADI has committed to a voluntary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme and if they have agreed to abide by the ADI Code of Practice (CoP). You will also be able to see an ADI’s Standards Check Grade if they have chosen to disclose it. If ADI’s don’t pass the standards check, they are given two more tries before they have to retake all three ADI tests.

Don’t be alarmed if you can’t find your instructor on this list, as this is a voluntary list. ADIs choose whether or not they want to be included on the list and for reasons known to them they might not want to add their details and name to it. The DVSA database is not the only way to check if your driving instructor is DVSA-approved.

Look at their windscreen

 An even faster method of finding out if your instructor is DVSA-approved is just by looking at their windscreen. This will only apply when you have started lessons. All DVSA-approved instructors have to display a badge in their windscreen to show that they’re qualified to teach learner drivers.

A PDI (Potential Driving Instructor) will hold a trainee licence and will have a pink triangular badge on their windscreen. A PDI is only a test away from becoming a qualified ADI and they are allowed to provide teaching as a way of building up experience. Approved Driving Instructors will have a green octagonal badge in their windscreen. The badge displayed should have a photograph of the instructor, a reference number and expiry date.

Learn with one of Get Licensed Driving School’s DVSA-approved Driving Instructors

The Get Licensed Driving School instructor database has over 2800  DVSA-approved instructors to choose from. It is easy to search for instructors on the Get Licensed Driving School database. You can search by location or name and you can filter by transmission, language and gender. Find your driving instructor with our database and you can rest assured they have been properly vetted.