Drivers Licence

You must be in possession of a valid Great Britain (GB) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) provisional driving licence before taking driving lessons.

To apply for your first provisional driving licence you must:

  • be a resident of Great Britain
  • meet the minimum age requirement
  • meet the minimum eyesight requirement
  • not be prevented from driving for any reason
  • pay licence fee by Master, Visa, Electron, Maestro or Delta debit or credit card
  • have a valid UK passport or other forms of identity
  • have your National Insurance number if known
  • provide addresses where you have lived over the last 3 years
  • your licence should arrive within one week if you apply online

Full GB Drivers Licence/newly qualified drivers

Your licence will be revoked if you get 6 or more points within 2 years of passing your test. Any penalty points on your provisional licence that haven’t expired will be carried over to your full licence when you pass your test. However, your licence will be revoked if you get any further penalty points that take you up to a total of 6 or more points within 2 years of passing your driving test. If your licence is revoked within 2 years, you will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both theory and practical parts of the driving test again. These rules apply to all new drivers who passed their first driving test in:

  • Great Britain
  • Northern Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Channel Islands
  • Gibraltar

The European Community (EC) and European Economic Area (EEA)

The EC/EEA countries are:

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

The rules also apply if you exchange a foreign driving licence for a British licence and then pass a further driving test in Great Britain.

EU Drivers Licence

If you are a visitor, student or working in the United Kingdom and you passed your driving test in:

Northern Ireland

European Union

European Economic Area

You can drive any type of vehicle listed on your full and valid licence.

Drivers Licence from designated countries

If your driving licence is from a ‘designated country’ you can apply to exchange it for a GB licence up to 5 years after becoming a resident.

The designated countries are:

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

Non EU Drivers Licence

You can drive in Great Britain for 12 months of arrival if you have a non-European Union driving licence or international driving permit.

If you do not have a driving licence yet, or you have been in the UK for over 12 months then you will need to apply for a provisional licence. You can then take your driving test and apply for a full licence.

Driving Abroad

You need your Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence to drive abroad. You might also need an International Driving Permit in some non-EU countries.

Driving in Europe

You can use your Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving licence in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and Switzerland. For rules in other European countries check with a motoring organisations like the AA or the RAC.

Driving outside the EU/EEA

You may need an International Driving Permit to drive outside the EU/EEA.

Check first with the AA. You can get an International Driving Permit directly from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office.

International Driving Permits cost £5.50 and you must:

  • be a GB or Northern Ireland resident
  • have passed your driving test

be 18 or over

The AA and the RAC have advice on driving in specific countries, including information on compulsory equipment.

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