Can you drive in the UK with a non-UK licence?

Moving to a new country is difficult, especially when it comes to getting to grips with driving. Depending on where you’ve moved from, you might even find yourself driving on the other side of the road – which can be hard to get used to! But we’re here to help with some of the stress of figuring out the UK roads.

Can I drive in the UK with my existing driving licence?

Yes, you can drive in the UK for at least 12 months with all non-UK licences.

If you have a European licence: you can drive in the UK with your existing licence until it expires, or you turn 70. After that, you’ll need to exchange it for a UK one.

If you have a licence obtained in a ‘designated’ country: you can drive in the UK with your existing licence for 12 months, after that you’ll need to exchange it for a UK licence – which you can do by simply sending it off. The designated countries are as follows:
 
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Zimbabwe
 
If you’re from an international country that isn’t listed on the ‘designated’ list: you can drive in the UK for 12 months, but after that you’ll need to take the UK driving theory and practical driving test to obtain a UK licence.

If you’re not sure what category you fall under, follow this link and answer the questions on the official Government website, which will tell you whether you can drive in the UK with your current licence.
 

Will I need to take a driving test?

Only if you obtained your licence in an international country that isn’t on ‘designated’ country list. If this is the case, you’ll be able to drive in the UK for 12 months, but after that you’ll need apply for a UK provisional licence and pass the UK driving test to gain your full licence. Once you’ve passed the driving test, you’ll be able to drive in the UK until you turn 70.
 

I have a European licence - do I have to exchange my licence for a new one?

No, not unless you want to. You can drive in the UK until you’re 70 with your existing licence as long as it was issued in the EU or EEC. However, some people decide to exchange theirs for a UK licence if their long-term residence is now in the UK. All you need to do to exchange your licence is fill out a form and send it off to the DVLA. Follow this link to find out what you need to do.

If you passed your driving test in the EU or EEA, the UK will still be able to exchange your driving licence after Brexit.
 

Do I need to have car insurance in the UK?

Yes. In the UK, car insurance is a legal requirement – this means that you must have insurance to drive your car on any road. 
 

My insurance is expensive – but why?

If you have had to take the UK driving test to get your new licence, this will classify you as a ‘new UK driver,’ which can make your insurance more expensive. But don’t worry, telematics is a way to save yourself some money on your car insurance. Telematics – also sometimes called black box insurance – monitors your driving habits to personalise your premium to you and your unique driving style. The safer you drive, the more you can save.

Get a quote today! 
 

Posted on February 4, 2021

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