UK Life

UK Driving Licences


Helping overseas doctors understand if their licence is valid in the UK, and how long they can use it for

Are you wondering whether you’ll be able to drive as soon as you arrive in the UK, or what the process of getting a UK drivers licence is? If so, you should read on. Here we answer some common questions that doctors have about UK driving licences.

Can I use my driving licence when I arrive in the UK?

In short, the answer is yes. If you hold a foreign driving licence you are able to drive immediately when you arrive in the UK. This is, however, on he basis that you are insured on the vehicle they are driving.

How long can I use my foreign licence in the UK for?

If you are relocating to UK from anywhere outside of the EU, you are able to drive for up to 12 months from the point that you enter the UK. If you wish to continue driving after this, you will need to:

  • Pass a UK Theory test
  • Pass a UK practical driving test

If you hold a licence issued in an EU/EEA nation, then you can drive in the UK until that document expires. You won’t need to retake your test or exchange your driving documents. Your licence will however expire once you turn 70, or three years after you become a UK resident (whichever is the longer of the two). You will then need to exchange this for a UK driving licence.

What is the process to get UK driving licence?

DVLA: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

To get a driving license in the UK, you will need to do the following 3 steps (in this order):

Apply for a Provisional Driving License:

You need to hold a provisional licence before you can take any of the driving tests.

Pass the theory test:

The theory test is made up of two parts, the multiple-choice test and the hazard perception test. Both are taken in the same session for both car and motorcycle tests. You must pass the theory test before you can book the practical driving test.

Pass the practical driving test:

The driving part of your test will last about 40 minutes. During the test your examiner will be looking for an overall safe standard of driving.

How do I exchange my driving licence from the EU?

To exchange your EU licence to a UK licence, you will need to do the following:

  • Order a D1 form from the DVLA   
  • Completed the D1 form.
  • Pay the £43 processing fee and send the completed D1 form back to the DVLA. You may also need to send other documents (such as your EU driving license).
  • Your new license should arrive within 3 weeks

UK test centres: Where can I find one?

Click here to find a driving test centre near you. You will also find information on which tests you can take, special instructions to follow and the expected waiting times at each centre.

View our UK driving licences info-graphic!

If you are interested in working in the UK, want to discuss available job opportunities or may have already begun your journey and need further advice, please contact our team today.