Using an International Licence in the UK

Car Driving

Next up on the blog we are talking about using an international license in the United Kingdom. Have you had any experience of this- could you share an experience of it?

Holders of a licence issued within the European Community
If you hold a valid community licence and you are visiting Great Britain, you can drive any vehicle for as long as your licence remains valid, providing that the vehicle you wish to drive is covered by the categories shown on your licence. If you have been resident in Great Britain and for more than 3 years then you can apply to exchange your licence for a British one at any time.

Holders of a licence from a Designated Country
If your license was issued in any of the following designated countries, you may exchange your foreign licence for a British licence in the same category. You are able to exchange your licence within 5 years of becoming resident in the UK. However you will only be able to drive on your international licence for 12 months from first becoming resident.
The ‘designated countries’ are: Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe.

Holders of a licence from all other Countries
Provided your full licence remains valid, you can drive a car in Great Britain for up to 12 months from the time you become resident. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional GB licence must have been obtained and a driving test passed before the 12 month period elapses. If you obtain a provisional licence during this period you are not subject to provisional licence conditions, e.g. displaying L-plates or being supervised by a qualified driver or being precluded from motorway driving. After 12 months you will be subject to the normal conditions of a provisional entitlement if you have not passed the UK driving test.

The above information summarises the UK regulations for International licences and may be subject to change by the DVLA and should not be relied upon in detail. Any enquiries should be directed to the DVLA website or by telephone on 0300 790 6801.