BREAKING: New Tier-Based Rules Announced For Driving Lessons and Tests in England

Jan 2021 update: The government has since introduced tier 4. In these areas all driving lessons and tests are suspended.

Late yesterday evening, the DVSA finally provided the news that learners, instructors and driving schools across the country have been waiting for: how the tier system will impact driving lessons and tests.

Here’s the latest guidelines summarised in a handy (yet very last minute!) tweet from the government body:

For those who’ve barely had time to take a sip of coffee today and are still finding this a little fuzzy, we expand on exactly what this means below.

Driving lessons

Thankfully this one is simple. Driving lessons can restart in all areas of England from today. That’s right—whether you’re in tier 1, 2 or 3, you can take to the road right now for lessons!

Instructors have permission to get back to work and learners can continue with their tuition.

Planning to hit the road again? There’s valuable advice for both learners and instructors in our article covering how PassMeFast is keeping lessons safe.

Theory tests

Another fairly straightforward one. Theory tests are back up and running across the country.

You can find detailed information on how theory tests are being carried out during the pandemic on the DVSA website.

Practical tests

This is where the tier system makes a difference. Thankfully, though, it’s only a slight one.

Practical tests are taking place in tiers 1 and 2 from today. They are still suspended in tier 3, but will restart from tomorrow—Thursday, December 3rd.

The difference of one day is probably to give test centres in tier 3 time to adjust to the new system.

Here’s the update from the horse’s mouth:

As explained in the tweet above, examiners in tier 3 can now only carry out 5 tests per day (those in tiers 1 and 2 can conduct 6 a day).

The DVSA also highlighted an extra consideration for those in tier 3 exempt from wearing face masks:

” Anyone who has a practical test booked in a tier 3 area who is exempt from wearing a face covering may have their test delayed until their area moves out of tier 3 if we cannot find a volunteer driving examiner to conduct their test without them wearing a face covering.”

Source: DVSA Twitter page

Last-minute lifeline?

If you’re lucky enough to live in a tier 1 or 2 area and previously had a test scheduled for today, you might want to get your skates on! The DVSA has this early Christmas gift for you:

“We will contact those with tests previously scheduled for 2 December in tier 1 and 2 areas to offer them opportunity to rebook the test for 2 December.”

Source: DVSA Twitter page

The DVSA are really pushing it here, as getting to and from a practical test (not to mention preparing for it!) takes some organisation. Many learners will have to hope that their instructor’s calendar allows for it.

Then again, if you have the opportunity and it looks like you can make it to the test on time, go for it!

Not sure which of the above rules apply to you? Use the postcode checker tool on the government website to confirm which tier you are in.

For more information on COVID-related driving rules, including specific advice for PassMeFast students, head to our dedicated COVID updates post.

By Isobel Robb

Isobel enjoys the freedom of the open road and loves driving to new places. She's here to offer helpful hints and tips to improve your motoring skills. When not keeping up to date with the latest driving info you can find her discovering new restaurants or exhausting her Netflix subscription.


  1. Reply

    Trevor Marron

    What about everyone now in Tier 4 with other parts of tests already completed, but the clock still running on the time limits, for example, CBT, theory tests, module one motorcycle test etc. There are no extensions being granted.

    1. Reply

      Isobel Robb

      Hi Trevor,

      I’m afraid you are correct in that all lessons and tests have been suspended in tier 4 areas and the DVSA has no plans to allow extensions to pass certificates.

      I completely appreciate how frustrating this must be for people eager to pass before their certificates for previous tests expire.

      Let’s hope that the pandemic is under control soon!


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