The different types of motorcycle licence

There are five types of Motorbike Licence in the UK and they are: Full UK, Provisional UK, Moped, EU, International.

driving licence close up

Full UK

This is either a Category A1, A2 or Full Category A motorbike licence, depending on your age and stage of learning. It is valid in the UK.

There are no restrictions to what you can ride with a full Category A license but there are power and power-to-weight restrictions with both A1 and A1 licences.

With A1 you have to be 17-years-old and any bike is restricted to a maximum engine capacity of 125cc producing up to 11 kW (14.7bhp) with a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg).

To hold an A2 license you must be 19 years-old and the bike can have a maximum power output of up to 47bhp and cannot be derived from a motorcycle with more than twice that amount originally if a restrictor kit is being used.

The A2 license can be achieved by passing a Direct Access theory and practical test or after two years of experience riding on an A1 license followed by a further practical test.

Provisional UK

This is the licence you must apply for and hold before you are able to start learning to ride a motorbike. You can obtain it from age 17, once you have passed your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training).

With a provisional licence you are entitled to ride a motorbike up to 125cc maximum engine capacity with ‘L’ (Learner) plates. It is valid in the UK. The provisional licence is the same for both driving and riding and it has the same application process. You cannot carry a pillion passenger with a provisional licence.

Moped (AM)

This licence entitles you to ride a moped. It is shown as an endorsement on your licence under ‘Category AM’.

What is a moped classed as?

A moped is a small motorcycle with an engine capacity no higher than 50cc. When you have completed your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) you may ride a moped with L-Plates until your CBT expires. After that, you must complete a Theory Test and a two-part Practical Test to ride a moped without L-Plates.

EU Licence

This is a licence that entitles you to ride in all countries that are a member of the European Union.

International Licence

This is a licence that enables you to ride internationally but can only be issued when you have a full UK licence for UK riders heading abroad.

An International licence for foreigners is valid for 12 months after arriving in the UK. They will either then have to apply to exchange their International licence for a UK licence or take the UK driving test.

Bike categories, ages and licence requirements

Licence categoryVehicles you can rideRequirements for licenceMinimum age
AMMopeds with speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/hCompulsory basic training (CBT), theory test, practical test on all powered 2 – wheeled moped16
AMSmall 3 wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 KW)CBT, theory test, practical test16
AMLight quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h)CBT, theory test, practical test16
QSame as AM plus 2 or 3 wheeled mopeds with top speed of 25 km/hGranted with AM16
A1Light motorcycle up to 11 KW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 KW per kg) and 125 ccCBT, theory test, practical test17
A1Motor tricycles with a power output not more than 15 KWCBT, theory test, practical test17
A2Standard motorcycle up to 35 KW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 KWper kg), bike mustn’t be derived from vehicle more than twice it’s powerDirect access route – theory and practical

Progressive access route – 2 years experience on A1 motorbike and a further practical test
19
AUnrestricted motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with power output over 15 KWDirect access route – CBT theory and practical (you must be at least 24)

Progressive access route – held an A2 licence for a minimum of 2 years – practical test (21 or over)
24 (direct) or 21 (progressive access)
Next page: The Motorbike Licence timeline