Driving as a Foreign National

On this page of the website we will give you the licence information required to drive on British roads.

Check your Licence here!

If you have a valid full licence issued as a result of a test passed in any EC/EEA country you need not immediately exchange it for a GB one. Provided your EC/EEA licence remains valid you can drive in GB until age 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident here, whichever is the longer period.

EC/EEA COUNTRIES

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway.

You can also exchange a full valid car licence issued from any of the following countries:

Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Gibralta, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

Please Note!

If you hold a valid licence from one of the above countries you can drive here, for 1 year, using your non – GB licence.

You can apply to exchange it for a GB licence up to 5 years after you come to live here, but if you wish to take a driving test within this time you will need to exchange your non GB licence.

Very important, please note!

If you do not exchange your licence within the 5 year period then you will have to apply for a provisional licence and both a GB theory and practical test will have to be taken.

Special conditions apply to Japanese licences; these must be accompanied by an official translation, available for a fee from the Consulate General of Japan at 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1V 9FN, or 2 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7HW.

Special conditions apply to Republic of Korea licences; these must be accompanied by an official translation, available for a fee, from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, 60 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ.

Special conditions apply to Canadian licences; provided documentary evidence can be produced that a test has been passed in a vehicle with manual transmission, and then a licence will be issued with both manual and automatic entitlement. Without this evidence, licences will be issued limited to automatics only.

Northern Ireland: You may exchange your NI licence for a GB one if it was issued on or after 1 January 1976. You may also use your current Northern Ireland licence here until it runs out.

Residency

You will not be issued with a full GB licence unless you are normally resident in this country. Normal residence means the place where you normally live and have personal or occupational ties. If you have moved to the UK after recently being permanently resident in another state of the EC/EEA, you must have been normally resident or have been studying in the UK for six months in the previous 12 months prior to your application for a driving test. You may be asked to provide evidence of this.

New residents who have ever had or presently suffer from any medical condition should visit the official gov.uk website for how this may affect obtaining a licence.

Special notice for Polish nationals:

You can now obtain the UK theory test book in your own language by visiting this page.

Special notice if you speak Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati or Punjabi:

It is possible to obtain UK theory books in your own language by visiting this page.

You cannot exchange licences from countries other than EC/EEA or designated ones. However you can drive here using your current full non GB licence or International Driving Permit for up to one year. If you wish to take a driving test, you will need to apply for a GB provisional licence using application form D1.