Coronavirus (COVID-19): Driving Tests for Key Workers

With the UK under lockdown, the DVSA have taken the decision to suspend theory and practical tests. However, an exception exists to this rule. Certain frontline key workers may be eligible to take an emergency test. In this article, we will explain who may qualify, and how to book these tests.

Who counts as a key worker?

The government has identified those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or who work in critical sectors for the economy, as key workers. We have listed these sectors below, together with examples of jobs identified as critical.

  • Health and social care
    Key workers include: doctors, nurses and other frontline staff (including volunteers); support and specialist staff; those working in the health and social care supply chain
  • Education and childcare
    Key workers include: childcare, support and teaching staff; specialist educational professionals
  • Key public services
    Key workers include: essential workers in the justice system; religious staff; charities and workers delivering frontline services; journalists and public service broadcasters
  • Local and national government
    Key workers include: administrative occupations essential to the COVID-19 response; those delivering essential public services
  • Food and other necessary goods
    Key workers include: those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery; those essential to the provision of other key goods
  • Public safety and national security
    Key workers include: police and support staff; MoD civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel; fire and rescue service employees
  • Transport
    Key workers include: workers in air, water, road and rail passenger transport; workers in freight transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services
    Key workers include: staff needed for essential financial services; workers in the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors; IT and data infrastructure

For full details on who counts as a key worker, visit GOV.UK.

What are the rules regarding driving tests for key workers?

Not all key workers are able to take emergency tests. During the current lockdown, only frontline mobile emergency workers are eligible. You must be employed by either a local council, NHS Trust, or emergency service, and your job must involve both driving and responding to threats to life.

If you are eligible, your employer will be able to apply on your behalf. The DVSA has shared application information with relevant bodies; if your employer has not yet received this, contact the DVSA.

For full details, read our article on emergency testing during the 2021 lockdown.

What measures are being taken to ensure that emergency tests are safe?

The DVSA have put in place a number of procedures to minimise the spread of coronavirus. This includes:

  • Ensuring that examiners wear clothing that fully covers their arms and legs
  • Requiring examiners to wash their hands before entering the public waiting area, wear gloves for the duration of the test, and avoid touching their face
  • Banning examiners from shaking the candidate’s hand
  • Preventing candidates from touching the examiner’s iPad, stylus, or any paperwork used
  • Checking the candidate’s signature and driving licence without the examiner physically handling it
  • Not allowing any accompanying driver or ADI to sit in on the test, or to listen to the debrief at the end
  • Stopping tests from going ahead if a candidate is unwell, or terminating the test partway through if the candidate becomes unwell during the drive
  • Keeping vehicles well ventilated, including by asking the candidate to open their window
  • Building in extra time for each test to ensure that examiners are able to carry out all the additional precautions
  • Putting in place specific measures for the disposal of any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and wipes

The driving test itself will be carried out as normal, including general and independent driving sections, reversing manoeuvres, “show me, tell me” questions and an eyesight check. However, tests will end early if a candidate fails.

Does PassMeFast offer courses and tests for key workers?

PassMeFast will continue to offer driving courses for eligible key workers. Please note that you must have a test booked in order to take lessons with us.

If you’re interested in booking any of our driving courses, simply get in touch with us by phone on 0333 123 4949. A member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you choose the best option for you.

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.


  1. Reply

    Nastaran Mirzaei


    Hope you are well.
    I’m working in a pharmacy company and I need to commute. My international driving licence was expired so how can I give an emergency driving test appointment?

    Many thanks in advance

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Nastaran,

      The information provided in this article related to the first UK lockdown. Unfortunately, despite the reintroduction of lockdown measures, the DVSA has not yet announced any plans to allow emergency tests or lessons to go ahead again. Should this change, we would be happy to help.


  2. Reply



    I’m just wondering if you know where to get the forms to apply for this as i cant find anywhere how my employer is to request i have a test?

    many thanks

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Harriet,

      At the moment, the DVSA is only accepting applications for emergency tests from NHS Trusts, local councils, and emergency services. Additionally, you’re only eligible for a test if your job requires you to drive and to respond to threats to life.

      Provided that you meet both of these conditions, your employer can make an application on your behalf. If your employer is unsure on how to make this application, then we would advise them to contact the DVSA by email at [email protected]. To avoid any application attempts from ineligible candidates, the DVSA has not made the details of the full application process public.

      Hope this helps


  3. Reply


    Hi, I’m working as a Health Care Worker in NHS. How can we apply for the Emergency Driving Test?

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Kusum,

      At the moment, emergency tests are only available if:

      • You drive as part of your job
      • Your job involves responding to threats to life

      If you meet these criteria, then your NHS Trust should be able to apply on your behalf. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take an emergency test.

      Hope this helps


  4. Reply

    Robyn Groom

    Hi do you know if we are still able to book an emergency theory test? I am a social worker who has been moved around on the service and I need to be able to drive ASAP but the government website just states my employer needs to apply which is fine but how?? Any information would be appreciated

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Robyn,

      Emergency theory tests are open to frontline mobile emergency workers. This includes those who drive as part of their job and who respond to threats to life. Unfortunately, the full information about how to apply is only being shared with specific employers: NHS trusts, local councils and emergency services.

      If you’re eligible to apply, but your employer is unsure on how to make this application, then we would advise them to contact the DVSA by email at [email protected].

      Hope this helps


  5. Reply

    Jordan jones

    Hello, I am a carer for my dad as he is vulnerable and I need to commute to his house. Am I able to book and emergency theory/driving test?

    Many thanks, Jordan.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Jordan,

      Unfortunately, emergency tests are only available to a very limited number of people at the moment – specifically, mobile emergency frontline workers. You would need to respond to threats to life and drive as part of your job to be eligible, and you must be employed by either a local council, NHS Trust or emergency service. The system is not currently open to carers.


  6. Reply

    Dr Neha Sharma


    I am a doctor and do emergency calls at the intensive care unit. My current trust is very far and I needed the driving license asap. I have cleared the theory and looking to book a practical test in February 2022 last week. Unfortunately throughout the year, there are no dates in the majority of places. I want to book the test in London as I reside here. How should I proceed? Thanks

    1. Reply

      Sam Plant

      Hi Dr Sharma,

      I’m afraid the DVSA aren’t providing emergency tests for key workers any more so you’ll need to book a test through the usual site.

      If you need a fast-tracked test, we can help you! Take a look at our courses — we should be able get you a test much sooner than what’s available on the DVSA site.



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