If you’re looking to exchange your foreign driving license for a UK driving license, you might be a bit confused by the sheer volume of rules and regulations involved.
The process can vary depending on where your original license was issued and whether you’re officially a resident of Great Britain.
If you do fit the bill, however, you might be able to exchange your foreign license right away—meaning no additional tests! We’re going to look at how the rules for exchanging your foreign driving license will vary depending on where your license was issued
Countries in the EU or EEA
If your license was issued from a country in the EU or EEA, then you’re officially allowed to drive in the UK on your original license until you’re 70 and your license expires. If you’re aged 68 or over when you officially become a resident in Great Britain, you’ll be allowed to drive for 3 years.
Once this time has passed, you will need to exchange your license. Whilst you are allowed to drive in Great Britain on your original license, you can still exchange your foreign license for a UK one at any time if you so wish.
The UK has driving license agreements with a variety of ‘designated countries’. If you hold a driving license from one of the countries below, you’ll be allowed to exchange it for a UK driving license without taking any further tests. Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.
If you hold a driving license from a designated country, you’ll be allowed to drive in Great Britain for up to 12 months. Once this time has passed, you will have to exchange your license. You’ve got 5 years from the day you became a resident to exchange your license—as long as it’s still valid.
Residents of Northern Ireland
If you’re a resident of Northern Ireland, you’re in luck—the rules couldn’t be any easier for exchanging your license for a UK driving license. As long as your license was issued on or after 1 January 1976, you’ll be able to exchange it. And the best part? You won’t have to pay a penny for it! get a Northern Ireland driving licence.
All other Countries
If you don’t belong to any of the above countries, then you won’t be able to exchange your foreign driving license for a UK one. That doesn’t mean you should give up on driving in the UK, however! You’re still allowed to drive for up to 12 months on your foreign license.
According to the DVLA, you’re allowed to drive vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes—with up to eight passenger seats—as long as your license remains valid within the 12 month period.
If you want to continue driving in the UK once this year is up, you’ll have to take a theory and practical test to get your hands on a UK driving license.
12 Jun 2019 — Whilst you are allowed to drive in Great Britain on your original licence, you can still exchange your foreign licence for a UK one at any time if you so wish. If the EU/EFTA licence that you currently hold was exchanged for a licence from a non-EU country then you’ll only be able to use it for 12 months.You visited this page on 22/07/20. 3 Dec 2020 — Getting a UK drivers license is relatively easy for citizens of most countries; ... To legally drive in the UK, you may need to exchange your driver’s license … with essential information for overseas visitors about driving in Britain.