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Lessons for non-GB licence holders

Need to get on the road but have a non-GB licence? We’ve got you covered!

Do I need to take a driving test in Great Britain?

If you got your driving licence ouside of Great Britain you may still need to apply for your provisional licence and pass the theory and practical tests.

A resident of Great Britain

Full car and/or motorcycle

Northern Ireland

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence until it expires.

European Union or European Economic Area

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence until you’re 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer. You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.

Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man or a 'designated country'*

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident. You need to exchange your licence after 12 months - you have 5 years since you became resident to do this.

Any other country

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident. After 12 months you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and pass the theory and practical driving tests to drive in Great Britain.

Full lorry, minibus and/or bus

Northern Ireland

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence until it expires, or you can exchange it for a full Great Britain licence.

European Union or European Economic Area

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid licence until you’re 45, or for 5 years after you become resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer. If you’re over 45 but under 65 you can drive for 5 years or until you are 66, whichever is shorter.

You must register your details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) within 12 months of becoming resident.

Switzerland

You can drive any small vehicle (eg car or motorcycle) listed on your full and valid licence for 12 months after becoming resident in Great Britain. You must then exchange your car, motorcycle, large bus or lorry licence for a GB one.

Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident. You need to exchange your licence after 12 months - you have 5 years since you became resident to do this.

A 'designated country'*

You can’t drive a lorry, minibus or bus in Great Britain (GB) on your driving licence.

You can drive a car and/or a motorcycle for 12 months after becoming resident in Great Britain, as long as your licence remains valid.

You can exchange your car or motorcycle licence for a GB one, but need to do this within 12 months of becoming resident in Great Britain.

Any other country

You can’t drive a lorry, minibus or bus in Great Britain (GB) on your driving licence. You can drive a car and/or a motorcycle for 12 months after becoming resident in Great Britain, as long as your licence remains valid.

After the 12 months you can’t exchange your licence for a GB licence and you’ll have to stop driving on your foreign licence.

You’ll have to apply for a GB provisional driving licence and then pass the theory and practical driving tests to continue driving in Great Britain.

* 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.

A visitor to Great Britain

Northern Ireland, European Union or European Economic Area

You can drive in Great Britain for as long as your licence is valid, or until you're 70, if you've got a driving licence from a European Union (EU) country.

If you don’t have a driving licence yet you can’t take a driving test in Great Britain until you’ve been studying there for at least 185 days.

Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man

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

Any other country

You can drive any small vehicle (eg car or motorcycle) listed on your full and valid licence for 12 months from when you last entered Great Britain (GB).

If you’ve got a bus or lorry licence you can only drive buses or lorries that are registered outside Great Britain if you’ve actually driven the vehicle into Great Britain yourself.

A foreign student studying in Great Britain

European Union or European Economic Area

You can drive in Great Britain for as long as your licence is valid, or until you're 70, if you've got a driving licence from a European Union (EU) country.

If you don’t have a driving licence yet you can’t take a driving test in Great Britain until you’ve been studying there for at least 185 days.

Non-European Union

You can drive in Great Britain for 12 months if you’ve got a non-European Union (EU) driving licence or international driving permit. If your driving licence is from a ‘designated country’* you can then apply to exchange it for a GB licence up to 5 years after becoming a GB resident.

If you don’t have a driving licence yet, or your licence is from a ‘non-designated country’, you’ll first need to apply for a provisional GB licence. You can then take a driving test and apply for a full licence once you’ve been in Great Britain for at least 6 months.

* 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.

Need a helping hand?

Check out some of the questions other Midrive learners have asked. If these don’t answer your question, contact us, we’d love to help!

If you’re not happy, we’re not happy. That’s why we offer every new learner our 100% money back guarantee for their first lesson. We want you to look forward to your lessons and enjoy getting on the road so we’ll look after you every step of the way.

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