Life in the UK

Driving in the UK with an overseas license

If you’re a resident of the UK and hold a valid overseas driving licence, you may be wondering if you can use your overseas licence in the UK. This article has been written as a guide to driving in the UK with an overseas license.


Can I drive in the UK with an overseas license?

If your driving licence is a non-EU licence, it will be valid for 12 months from when you enter the UK. You will, however, still need to make sure that your vehicle is taxed and has insurance. You must also be at least 17 years old to be legally allowed to drive on UK roads.

If you hold a full license issued in an EU country, you can drive in the UK using your original license until it expires.

If you are 67 or older when you become a UK resident, you can drive for three years. After this, you will need to exchange your license.


Who needs to switch to a UK license?

If your license was not issued in the EU or a designated country, then the DVLA states that you can drive a vehicle on a full and valid license for up to 12 months. If you wish to continue driving after this, you will need to apply for a UK provisional license and pass the UK driving test.

You’re not required to take any driving lessons before your test, however, getting familiar with The Highway Code and brushing up on your driving skills may be helpful!

If your license was issued from a ‘designated country’, then you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months. After this period, you must exchange your license for a UK one to continue driving. You can exchange it up to 5 years after becoming a UK resident, without re-taking a driving test.

The countries included in the ‘designated countries are:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Zimbabwe

How to exchange your overseas license for a UK one

To exchange your license, you need to order the application form D1 from the DVLA and send the form with all the required documents, including your original driving license.

You must send this to the address on the application form and your new UK driving license should arrive within three weeks.


This article has been written as a guide only and for further information regarding driving in the UK with an overseas license, you should visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency


If you’re interested in working in the UK and would like to discuss the positions available in your specialty, and how we can assist you, please contact our team.