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This article is already out of date. Read the addendum at the end!

An email alert from DVSA outlines important details on the phased restart of routine testing.

There’s nothing especially worrying in there except for one possible thing. It’s this part:

Valid theory test certificates checks

As part of our normal ID and eligibility checks our driving examiners are checking for valid theory test certificates.

If your pupil does not have a valid certificate the test will not go ahead.

If your pupil has lost or damaged their certificate they can apply for a replacement letter by contacting customercare@pearson.com. They’ll need to provide their:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • driving licence number

As you can imagine, this has already stirred up the lesser intellects out there.

Historically, DVSA has rarely asked to see anyone’s Theory Test certificate, even though when you book you’re told you should take it to the test centre on the day. In cases where they have been asked, if pupils say they’ve lost it then there’s been no issue and the test has gone ahead – probably since they wouldn’t have been able to book the test if they didn’t have one. Examiners can check online anyway.

Right now, we’re in unusual times. It is possible someone’s theory test might have expired and the system hasn’t picked it up, which I guess is the reason for this emphasis. And given the load on DVSA’s systems, examiners might not be able to check, either. Hence the need to see the piece of paper.

As an instructor, you have two options. One is to let your pupils know, and to get them to follow the instructions for getting a replacement if they’ve lost their original. They’ll have plenty of time to sort it, because the backlog of tests means they’re hardly likely to be booking one for next week unless they’re key workers.

The second option – which seems to be the preferred one right now – is to keep whingeing about how your pupils have never been asked for one before, how DVSA are a bunch of idiots, how you just had someone go on test and they weren’t asked, or you know someone who heard from an uncle whose nephew’s friend’s sister wasn’t asked yesterday, and so on.

One of those two options is easy and puts responsibility on the pupil to simply ask for a replacement by following the easiest instruction imaginable – sending an email and asking. If you tell them to do it and they don’t, and the test is cancelled, it’s their fault. The other option makes you look like an idiot if the test is cancelled. It will be your fault, and your label as an ‘idiot’ will be confirmed once and for all.

The choice is yours.


The email above came through on Monday. Thursday, this new one came through. Now they’re saying you don’t have to get a new certificate if you’ve lost the original.

We wanted to confirm that your pupils should still bring their theory test certificates if they have a paper version.

However if they can’t find it, they don’t need to order a replacement before coming to test.

Basically, you need a valid theory test result. If you’ve lost the paper, you’ll still get to go to test – as long as your theory hasn’t run out.

The lesser intellects are now all over this one like a rash, as well.

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