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    Q417: I have a foreign non-EU driving licence, how long can I drive on it in this country?

    Visiting Great Britain
    Ordinary licences:
    While your full licence or driving permit is valid, you can drive vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, and with up to eight passenger seats, for up to 12 months from the date you came to Great Britain.

    Vocational licences:
    If you hold a vocational licence, you can only drive large vehicles which have been registered outside Great Britain and which you have driven into Great Britain.

    Coming to live in Great Britain
    Ordinary licences:
    While your full licence is valid, you can drive any type of small vehicle shown on your licence for up to 12 months from the time you started living in Great Britain. To continue to drive after this you must pass a GB driving test before the 12 month period ends. If you get a GB provisional licence during this period, you will not have to display 'L' plates or be supervised by a qualified driver, and you will be able to drive on motorways. If you do not pass a test within the 12 month period, you will not be allowed to drive as a full licence holder and the conditions of a GB provisional licence will apply. If you do not apply for a provisional licence within 12 months, you must stop driving and get a GB provisional licence – the conditions of a GB provisional licence will then apply – see Q357. You can apply for a provisional licence online via the link below:

    https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence

    Vocational licences:
    You cannot drive large vehicles until you have passed the relevant GB driving test. You must pass a car driving test before applying for provisional entitlement to drive larger vehicles as a learner.

    If you continue to drive after the periods stated above you will be committing an offence and your vehicle could be seized.

    Exchange driving licences:

    If you hold a driving licence/permit from a designated country (please see the list below) or Gibraltar, you can exchange it for a full equivalent UK driving licence in certain categories within 5 years of becoming a resident in the UK.

     

    Please note that your original driving licence is only valid in the UK for the first 12 months. To continue driving you must exchange your licence for a GB one before the end of the 12 months. If you do not do this, you must stop driving.

     

    List of designated countries

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

     

    You can find out if you can exchange your driving licence via the link below:

     

    https://www.gov.uk/exchange-foreign-driving-licence


    Further information
    The following questions may also be of use:

    If you continue to drive after the periods stated above you will be committing an offence and your vehicle could be seized.

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