Saturday, April 20, 2024

How Long Can You Drive with a Foreign License in the UK?

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Do you have you foreign license? Do you want to drive a vehicle in the UK? If you are moving to a foreign country or want to get around and drive there, you should need a foreign license. Foreign licenses allow you to drive a vehicle in a foreign country. In the UK, if you get the license from a designated country, then you can use it for a year from the time when you become a resident, after which you should apply for Britain license.

From the, If you get an international driving licence from a European economic area, then it is used till the license holder turns 70 years.

The foreign license in the UK

Visitors of more than 17 years of age with valid driving licenses can drive a vehicle in Uk for 12 months. After 12 months, some foreign licenses are considered valid in the UK for some time.

If you want to be issued a great britain license, you should have your full international driving online from a recognized country.

UK resident with foreign driving license

If you reside in the UK for a minimum of 185 days of every calendar year, then you are considered a Uk resident. If you have the EU license in the UK, then you can use it tills its validity.  This type of license from are also subject to UK license renewal needs, and it means that your EU license is changed to the UK one in three years after becoming a legal citizen or till you turn 70 years old.

Driving with EEA/ EU issues license

A valid driving licence is issued to visitors anywhere in the European economic area or the European Union that is used by license holders till the age of 70 years.

  • It is used for three years from the time when they become residents in Great Britain.
  • After the time of three years, you can exchange this license for a GB license. EU licenses are only renewed in the country in which the holder is a UK resident.
  • If the driver holds an international driving licensefrom another EU country and renews it in Britain, it will be transferred into a licence.
  • An EEA/EU-issued licence is not exchanged for a GB license if it issues in exchange for a license not in the list of designated countries.
  • Penalty points are provided for driving offences that are made in three year period, recorded by authority and listed against the name of the driver.
  • Drivers may not be qualified to drive if they accumulate 12 penalty points in a span of three years.

Uk resident with foreign driving license, but not from EU

If you are not a resident of the UK or do not have a license from an EU country, then also you are able to drive in the UK for one year before you need to exchange your license for UK provisional license. You are also able to sit and pass the driving test before you permit to continue driving. This process is dependent on the kind of card you are going to drive in foreign countries.

Keep in your mind that UK nationals and foreigners with valid documents of residency are applying for Foreign driving licenses.

For which vehicles are the visitors allowed to drive in Uk

Visitors who pass the driving test from the European Union, northern Ireland, or  European Economic Area can drive any kind of vehicle listed on their valid full-time license. For example, if your licence is for cars only, you can drive a motorbike.

If you avail of the full international driving permit from uk, then you will be able to drive the small vehicle for 12 months from when you reach Great Britain. If you leave the country for some days and come back to the country, then the 12-month time begins.

Visitors are unable to drive a vehicle if they do not pass from driving test in Great Britain unless they drive the vehicle into Great Britain on the ferry and have a heavy vehicle currently.

International students residing in Great Britain.

If international students have international driving licenses or non-EU driving licenses, then they are allowed to drive vehicles in Great Britain for 12 months. If you have a license from a designated country, you can easily apply for an exchange of license for a GB license up to 5 years after becoming a resident of Great Britain.

If you do not have a license in your country, then you should apply for a provisional GB license, give a driving test, and then apply for it. Here is a list of a designated country

  • Australia
  • Andorra
  • Monaco
  • Hong kong
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Barbados, etc


A license issued by a country is valid for one year only. To continue driving, you should follow the full driving theory and give the practical test to issue a GB license.

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