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Foreign Licence in GB
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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:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
If you hold a valid community licence and are visiting Great Britain (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.
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 and continue driving in GB if your licence is valid.
Car, moped, motorcycle driving licence holders (ordinary driving licence):
- 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.
Register of community licence holders
Holders of community
licences with vocational entitlement who live in GB must register
their details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
For further information you can contact them on 0870 240 0009.
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 eg epileptics who have had attacks in the last 10 years are not permitted to hold a vocational licence in GB.
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
Vehicles which community licence holders may also drive in GB
Community licence holders with category B entitlement can also drive certain vehicles in GB, which are exempt from the normal large vehicle driver licensing requirements. These include non-commercial minibuses driven on a voluntary basis, permit minibuses and large vehicles such as agricultural motor vehicles and road construction vehicles. Further details about these vehicles and the conditions that apply to them can be found in the fact sheet "Special Licensing Arrangements For Drivers of Large Vehicles" available from DVLA.
Community licences issued in exchange for licences from elsewhere
A community licence issued on the strength of a licence from a designated country will be valid for driving in GB for 12 months only and is acceptable for exchange purposes.
A community licence issued on the strength of a licence from a non-designated country will be valid for driving in GB for 12 months only but is not valid for exchange purposes.
A licence from any country outside the EC/EEA, which was originally issued on the basis of a community licence, will be valid for driving in GB for 12 months only and is acceptable for exchange purposes. Evidence of the original EC/EEA entitlement must be provided.