Moving to the UK is an exciting time in your life. Maybe you’re moving right to the heart of all the action and setting down roots in London, or perhaps you’ll be out in the country. While there is likely plenty on your plate, one thing you’ll want to be clear on is how you can get your drivers’ licence when you move to the UK. If you will be depending on your car to get to and from work, then you’ll want to be sure you get things done as fast as possible.
Do I Need a New Licence?
The first question people tend to ask is whether or not they need a UK licence if they already have one from their country of origin. The rules state that once you become a UK resident (the day you arrive), you must obtain a valid UK driving licence within 12 months. This means if you only plan on staying a short time, there’s no need to worry, but if the UK will become your long-term home, then you’ll need to get a UK licence.
As a side note the rules can differ a bit depending on what country your driver’s licence was issued in.
The Process Involved
Once you are ready to get your driver’s licence you will do what is called an “exchange of licence”. Basically you will be trading in your existing licence for one that is valid in the UK, or more specifically Great Britain. In order for this to be approved you must have been at a permanent address in Great Britain for at least 185 days.
You will need to turn in your old licence, which needs to still be valid, you must be of the minimum age, and there is a fee involved. Of course, as you’d expect there are forms to fill out.
Now here’s where things get tricky. If you want to obtain a driver’s licence in Britain that is valid for automatic and manual transmissions, and you aren’t currently licenced on both, there is an extra step. In this case you’ll need to pass a driving test.
No Existing Licence
So what happens if you move to Great Britain and you don’t have a driver’s licence from your country of origin, yet you want to get one in Great Britain? Well you will need to meet the requirement of being a resident in the UK and then go through the process of getting your provisional licence, taking the practical and theory tests, and then getting your driver’s licence.
Top Tests is an excellent source of information for anyone moving to the UK who wants to prepare for the theory portion of their driving test.
Follow the Steps and Make it Simple
By following the right steps you’ll be able to simplify the process and ensure that you are driving around with the proper kind of licence once you arrive in the UK.