Driving in Great Britain - do I need a new licence?

As if you didn't have enough to deal with when relocating to the UK... but on top of all the other mountains of stuff you have to consider, you do have to think about your driving licence.

Fortunately, you have at least 12 months from the date you became a resident in Great Britain before you need to change it, and up to 3 years if you passed your test in the EU or EEA.

The rules do vary a little depending upon where you actually passed your test but below is a brief summary of what you can, can't and should do.

You passed your test in the EU or EEA

You can drive in Great Britain on a full, valid driving licence from another EU or EEA country until you’re 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer.

You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging a non-EU licence. After this time you must exchange your licence by ordering form D1 from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Send the form, the applicable fee and any required documents (including your driving licence) to the address on the form. You should get your new licence within 3 weeks.

You passed your test in a "designated country" or Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident in Great Britain.

You need to exchange your licence after 12 months. You can exchange your driving licence up to 5 years after becoming resident in the UK so long as your licence remains valid by ordering form D1 from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Send the form, the applicable fee and any required documents (including your driving licence) to the address on the form. You should get your new licence within 3 weeks.

"Designated countries" are: Andorra, 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.

You passed your test in any other country

You can drive for up to 12 months from when you became resident in Great Britain on your foreign licence.

After this time you can't exchange your licence and you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and take a theory test and practical test to get a Great Britain issued driving licence.

Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence checking tool

Use the Government's handy online tool to see if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB driving licence here.

 

If you would like any assistance in relation to driving licence applications, please use our contact page to get in touch.

 

Image by Manfred Majer 

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK