Telephone: 0870 240 0009 Address: Drivers Customer Services (DCS) Correspondence Team DVLA Swansea SA6 7JL To avoid delay with written enquiries it is important to use the correct postcode E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please Note: For confidentiality reasons it is not possible to release driver numbers or personal details from your driving record via e-mail replies Textphone: Textphone for the deaf and hard of hearing Textphone users 01792 766 366 Driving Licences Automated Fact Sheet Service 0870 240 0009 Website www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/ index.htm
Driving in Great Britain (GB) on a licence issued in a European Community/European Economic Area (EC/EEA) country
All drivers must comply with British minimum age requirements. These are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large lorries and buses.
European Community and European Economic Area
Licences issued in the European Community and European Economic Area make up two groups that are treated equally. The full list is:
Republic of Cyprus
If you hold a valid community licence and are visiting GB, you can drive any vehicle if your licence is valid. The appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle you wish to drive must be shown on your licence. Notifying health conditions
You must tell DVLA about conditions which existed before you came to GB and which you may have already notified to the authorities, as well as any conditions you have recently become aware of. In most cases, the rules will be the same as those in other EC/EEA countries although there may be some differences. Higher visual standards apply for vocational drivers in this country.
If you have a valid community licence, this will authorise you to drive in GB for the period set out below. Alternatively, you can exchange your licence for a British one at any time.
Provided your licence remains valid you may drive in GB:
until aged 70 or for three years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period
Lorry, minibus, bus driving licence holders (vocational driving licence):
until aged 45 or for five years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period
if you are aged over 45 (but under 65) until your 66th birthday or for five years after becoming resident, whichever is the shorter period
if you are aged 65 or over for 12 months after becoming resident
In order to continue driving after these periods, you must get a British driving licence.
Taking a driving test
If you want to take a British driving test you must be normally resident in GB. However, if you have moved to GB having recently been permanently resident in another state of the EC/EEA, you must have been normally resident in GB for 185 days in the 12 months prior to your application for a driving test and a full licence.
To take a GB driving test you will need to either:
apply for a GB counterpart licence (D58/2) by completing a D9 (available from embassies or DVLA) and enclose your community driving licence, which will be returned to you. The provisional licence document is issued free of charge. However, the appropriate fee must be paid and your community licence surrendered in exchange for a GB one when claiming the full entitlement
exchange your community licence for the British equivalent and request the appropriate provisional entitlement
DRIVING ON LICENCES FROM ALL OTHER COUNTRIES, AND STUDENTS ON A FOREIGN LICENCE
If you are a visitor, resident or student in Great Britain (GB) and still have a driving licence issued in the country you have come from, there are certain conditions that affect how long you can drive, and what you can drive in Great Britain.
You may drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to eight passenger seats, provided your full licence or driving permit remains valid for up to 12 months from the date of coming to GB. However, you may only drive large vehicles which have been registered outside GB and which you have driven into the country.
If you are the holder of an ordinary driving licence (car, moped, motorcycle entitlement) and provided your licence remains valid, you can drive any category of small vehicle shown on your licence for up to 12 months from the time you became resident. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional GB licence must have been obtained and a driving test(s) passed before the 12-month period elapses. If you obtain a provisional licence during this period, you are not subject to provisional licence conditions eg displaying 'L' plates or being supervised by a qualified driver or being precluded from motorways.
However, if you do not pass a test within the 12-month concessionary period you will not be allowed to drive as a full licence holder and provisional licence conditions will apply. If you do not apply for a provisional licence within the first 12 months you must stop driving and obtain a British provisional licence with a view to passing a driving test. Provisional licence conditions will then apply.
If you are the holder of a vocational licence (minibus, bus, lorry entitlement) and a new resident, you must not drive large vehicles until you have passed the relevant GB driving test. Driving test candidates are required to pass a motor car (category B) test first before applying for provisional entitlement for larger vehicles.
EXCHANGING YOUR FOREIGN DRIVING LICENCE
If you are the holder of a foreign driving licence and want or need to change to a Great Britain (GB) driving licence there are certain conditions that need to be considered when applying.
Applying for the exchange of your foreign driving licence
If you want or need to change your driving licence for a GB driving licence, you must complete the application form D1 that is available from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) form ordering service and Post Office® branches. You will need to enclose original documentation confirming your identity and a passport style colour photograph. Send your completed application and the appropriate fee to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BT.
If the licence being exchanged is vocational, and the original was issued in Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man , you must also provide a D4 medical report form that must be completed by a doctor, ensuring that all the relevant questions are completed.
If your vocational licence was issued in an European Community (EC) or European Economic Area (EEA) country you need only submit a medical report form if, on exchange, you are 45 years of age or over. This applies even if your vocational licence is still current. Application forms D2 and medical form D4 are available from the DVLA form ordering service.
Premium checking service for holders of EC/EEA, Gibraltar and designated countries driving licence
If you are the holder of a full EC/EEA, Gibraltar or designated country driving licence you can exchange it for the UK equivalent using a premium checking service.
The following conditions must be met before a licence can be granted in exchange for a GB one:
you must be normally resident in GB and have a permanent address here
if you are a community driving licence holder applying for a British test at the same time as exchanging your licence and you have moved to GB having recently been permanently resident in another state of the EC or EEA, you must have been normally resident in GB for 185 days in the 12 months prior to your application for a full driving licence
licences from the designated countries must be current at the time the application for exchange is received at DVLA: licences from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands are acceptable for exchange if issued after 01/04/91.Those issued in any EC or EEA country may be valid for exchange even if they have expired
you must surrender your foreign licence which will be returned to the issuing authority
international driving permits are not exchangeable
test pass certificates are not exchangeable except for those issued in Northern Ireland or Gibraltar when the test was passed within two years of the date of the licence application
Japanese licences must be accompanied by an official translation, available for a fee from the Consulate General of Japan at 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1V 9FN or 2 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW
Republic of Korea licences must be accompanied by an official translation from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea at 60 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ
motorcycle licences from the Republic of Korea and Faroe Islands are not exchangeable
As there are two types of South African driving licences, the following will apply:
the book of life, which is a driving licence and identity document: the licence part of the book will be stamped to say the applicant has exchanged their licence and the book returned to the person; for the book of life to be acceptable for licence exchange the applicant will need a letter of authority from the South African licensing authority
the photocard licence will be returned to the South African licensing authority
If you are the holder of a Canadian licence you will receive automatic transmission only when exchanging for a British licence. This can only be upgraded to manual upon presentation of confirmation, from the relevant licensing authority, of a manual test being passed or a manual test is passed in this country
You must drive on the left hand side whilst in the UK