Driving in the UK

Driving licences issued outside the UK, and international driving permits, are valid in the UK for 12 months. After 12 months it is necessary to obtain a UK licence by arranging to take a driving test. If you don't do this you run the risk of being prosecuted for driving without a valid licence and this will invalidate your insurance. Nationals of the European Union who take up residence in another member state can continue to drive, using their own national licence, for as long as it remains valid, even after 12 months has elapsed.

Licences from the following countries can be exchanged for a full UK licence:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Zimbabwe

Application forms for UK driving licences and an explanatory leaflet can be obtained from all major post offices. Application forms for a driving test can be obtained from the Driving Standards Agency. 

For further information take a look at the UK Council for International Student Affairs' guidance on driving in the UK.

An image of a busy road by Trafalgar Square