Driving on a non-British licence
If you wish to drive in Great Britain on a driving licence obtained abroad or wish to exchange your foreign licence for a British one, then we are here to listen and advise you – contact us today.
Driving on a European Licence
If you are a visitor from within the European Community and European Economic Area and hold a valid licence you can drive in Great Britain in accordance with the entitlement shown on the licence.
If you are a British resident and hold a valid Community licence you can drive in Great Britain for a specified period, which depends on whether your licence is ordinary or vocational. You need to check the relevant time limits. Following the relevant time limit, you will need to get a British licence to continue to drive in Great Britain.
If your Community licence was issued in exchange for a licence granted outside the EC/EEA, it will only be valid in Great Britain for 12 months. If it was granted by a country which is included in a list of ‘designated countries’, you will be able to exchange it for a British licence.
If you come to live in Great Britain and hold a European Community licence with a vocational entitlement you must register with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) within 12 months. Notifying conditions also apply in relation to various health conditions.
The position with regard to European Community licences will almost certainly change following Britain’s exit from the European Union, so watch this space for updates as negotiations progress.
Driving on a Non-European Licence
If your licence is from a country on the list of ‘designated countries’, it can be exchanged for a British licence. If you are visiting Great Britain your licence will allow you, for 12 months, to drive any type of vehicle that weighs up to 3.5 tonnes, has no more than 8 passenger seats and is shown on your licence. If you are coming to live in Great Britain, your licence will allow you to drive small vehicles for 12 months, and to drive after that period you must exchange your licence for a British licence.
If your licence is from a country that is not on the list of ‘designated countries’, it cannot be exchanged for a British licence. If you are visiting Great Britain your licence will allow you, for 12 months, to drive any type of vehicle that weighs up to 3.5 tonnes, has no more than 8 passenger seats and is shown on your licence. If you are coming to live in Great Britain, your licence will allow you to drive small vehicles shown on your licence for 12 months. To continue driving after that period you will have to pass a British driving test before the 12 month period ends to continue driving. Outside this period you will have to obtain a provisional licence to continue driving and then pass a test. The best way to ensure that you continue driving legally beyond 12 months is to ensure that you obtain a British provisional licence and pass the British driving test before the end of the 12 month period.
Anyone driving in the United Kingdom without the correct Driving Licence is likely to be Driving Without Insurance which is a separate offence.
The comments above are general and should not be taken as a definitive statement of the law or procedure. Expert advice should always be sought on this area. We have not attempted to cover all the obligations or legal requirements that may arise.