Foreign Residents

Foreign license holder

Are you foreign national and want to apply for a UK driving license or exchange your EC/EEA driving license?
If so you will find all the information you need on this page so please read on.

To meet the criteria for a full UK driving license in the UK you would have to be resident in the UK. however, there are regulations in place for the exchange of driving licenses from a foreign country and for driving in the UK as a visitor or new resident do actually exist.These regulations may differ and are dependent on the country that issued the driving license.

Unless you are normally a resident of this country (a normal residence is the place where you normally live and the place where you have personal or professional attachments such as a job) in the United Kingdom, you will not be provided with a full GB license. If you were a permanent resident in another state of the EC/EEA, you are required to have been normally a resident or if you are student you are required to have been studying in the UK for 6 months in the preceding 12 months prior to your submission for a driving test or provisional license. Please Be aware, that you might have to provide proof or evidence for this.

Please note, you will not be able to exchange any driving licenses from any countries other than EC/EEA, but you can drive a car here using your existing non GB license or a International Driving Permit for up to a maximum of one year of your stay in this country. If have never obtained a driving license but you meet the criteria of being a resident, and you want to start driving lessons in order to take your driving/ theory tests you will need to apply for a GB provisional license using application form D1. These can be obtained online, or at your local post office counter, however, we would recommend doing it online if you are in a rush to apply online Click here

Below is the list of some of the countries that you can use your license to drive in the UK for up to one year:

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

You can also exchange a full valid car license issued from any of the following 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, Norway.

The other very vital part about driving is getting to know the road rules and regulations, which might vary slightly from one state to another. They include:

  • Seat belt – always wear a seat belt. Years back it was only a requirement for those behind the wheel, but currently it applies to anyone inside the car, including children.
  • Left or right – according to the British laws on driving, you need to always keep left while driving. This means that those who want to overtake should do so on the right.
  • Speed limit – every road has a set speed limit that you are to observe while driving on that road.
  • Traffic/ road signs – you should always obey the traffic signs on the roads, most of which depend on the nature of the road. Some are to help ease traffic, and others are for the safety of the pedestrians.
  • DUI – never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Expert insight – this law require you have valid driving insuranse, a valid MOT Cirtificate (if your car is 4 years or older) and road tax

Failure to observe these road rules and regulations can attract a hefty fine, and in worst case scenario, a jail term.

How to apply for a provisional driving license

If you are interested in learning how to drive, it is a requirement that you apply for a provisional driving license first, after which you can begin taking the driving lessons. A provisional driving license is an authorization to drive on the state roads. The minimum age for you to apply for this license is 17 years old, and you need to follow the following steps for your application to go through.

Before applying you need to ascertain that you are a citizen of the state. You also need to have a means of identification (passport, certificate of naturalization, or identity card), passport sized photograph, a black pen (unless you decide to apply online), and fees payable to the DSA you can also apply on line here

After collecting the necessary requirements, you can proceed with your application, which can be done online, in person, or by post or online.

After applying for your driving license and receiving your provisional you need to be aware that you will have certain restrictions here are some:

  • It restricts the vehicles you can drive to a certain weight and size range.
  • You can only drive under supervision or company of a full license holder who is over the age of 21 and has held a full driving license for a minimum of 3 years.
  • You need to be insured before you can drive the car you are learning in.
  • The back and front of the car must display a red L plate, so other drivers are aware that you are a learner driver.

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