International drivers advice driving in uk
Licences issued in any European Economic Area (EEA) country
A full and valid driving licence which has been issued in another EEA country, you may be able to drive in the UK on this licence. You do not have to exchange it immediately for a GB licence. Provided the Community licence remains valid in the issuing country, and it is a licence to drive an ordinary car you can use it to drive here until you are 70, or for three years after you become resident, whichever is the longer period. If it is a ‘vocational licence’, for example, a licence to drive a minibus or bus, the rules are different.
However, if you want to, you can exchange your driving licence for a full GB or Northern Ireland licence. You should complete form D1 (DL1 in Northern Ireland) available from post offices or local licensing offices in Northern Ireland and send your own driving licence with the application form. A photocopy will not be accepted. A fee is payable.
To find out which countries are in the EEA, see Timeshare and holiday clubs.
International driving licences issued outside the EEA
A full and valid driving licence which has been issued in another country other than an EEA country you can drive in the UK on this licence for 12 months.
If you intend to be resident in the UK beyond 12 month period, you can exchange your licence for a full GB or NI licence if it is a British Forces licence or if it was issued in:-
British Virgin Islands
Canada (GB licence only)
Republic of Korea (excluding motorbike licences)
South Africa (GB licence only)
If you do not exchange your licence before the 12-month period runs out, you will not be able to drive. You have a five years period from the date of entry into the UK within which you can exchange your licence and then start driving again. If you do not exchange the licence within this 5 years period you will have to apply for a provisional licence in the normal way and have to pass the theory and practical driving test.
If you have a driving licence issued in a country other than those listed above, you must take a UK driving test to obtain a full GB licence if you intend to drive after the initial twelve month period. You must obtain a GB provisional licence before booking a driving test.
For more information see link below.
Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence
Exchange a foreign driving licence
Find out how to exchange your non-British driving licence for a British licence.
Driving licences are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) [^] in England, Scotland and Wales
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