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Driver Licencing


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Foreign Licence in GB


European Economic Area countryExchanging your foreign licenceNorthern Ireland, Jersey, GuernseyAll other countries and students

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.

Visitors

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.

Residents

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):

Lorry, minibus, bus driving licence holders (vocational driving licence):

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:

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.



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