fbpx

Exchanging Your Foreign Driving Licence For A UK Driving Licence

If you’re looking to exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK driving licence, you might be a bit confused by the sheer volume of rules and regulations involved. The process can vary depending on where your original licence was issued and whether you’re officially a resident of Great Britain. If you do fit the bill, however, you might be able to exchange your foreign licence right away—meaning no additional tests!

In this guide, we’ll look at whether you’re eligible to exchange your foreign driving licence to a UK driving licence and what the actual exchange process entails. We’ll also offer up some additional advice for foreign licence holders looking to drive in the UK. Let’s take a look below, shall we?


Can I exchange my foreign driving licence for a UK driving licence?

For starters, before we can get into the nitty gritty of what the licence exchange process entails, we first need to look at whether you’re actually eligible to exchange your foreign driving licence. Your eligibility will hinge on your answer to this question: are you a resident of Great Britain? According to GOV.UK, you’re a resident if you have a permanent address in Great Britain that you’ve lived in for at least 185 days. If you are a resident, then you can proceed with our guide and look at how you’d go about exchanging your licence below.

Not classed as a resident of Great Britain? Then you won’t be able to exchange your foreign driving licence. Before you swear off Great Britain for good, however, you may still be able to drive here for up to a year on your foreign licence.

We’re going to look at how the rules for exchanging your foreign driving licence will vary depending on where your licence was issued in the section below.


Eligibility for exchanging to a UK driving licence

You can check your entitlement for exchanging your foreign licence for a UK driving licence on GOV.UK. In just a few questions you’ll know exactly if you’ll be able to exchange your foreign driving licence.

A D1 provisional driving licence application form

Countries in the EU or EEA

If your licence was issued from a country in the EU or EEA, then you’re officially allowed to drive in the UK on your original licence until you’re 70 and your licence expires. If you’re aged 68 or over when you officially become a resident in Great Britain, you’ll be allowed to drive for 3 years. Once this time has passed, you will need to exchange your licence.

Whilst you are allowed to drive in Great Britain on your original licence, you can still exchange your foreign licence for a UK one at any time if you so wish.

If the EU/EFTA licence that you currently hold was exchanged for a licence from a non-EU country then you’ll only be able to use it for 12 months.

Designated countries

The UK has driving licence agreements with a variety of ‘designated countries’. If you hold a driving licence from one of the countries below, you’ll be allowed to exchange it for a UK driving licence without taking any further tests.

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

If you hold a driving licence from a designated country, you’ll be allowed to drive in Great Britain for up to 12 months. Once this time has passed, you will have to exchange your licence. You’ve got 5 years from the day you became a resident to exchange your licence—as long as it’s still valid.

Residents of Northern Ireland

If you’re a resident of Northern Ireland, you’re in luck—the rules couldn’t be any easier for exchanging your licence for a UK driving licence. As long as your licence was issued on or after 1 January 1976, you’ll be able to exchange it. And the best part? You won’t have to pay a penny for it!

Residents of Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man

Any residents from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man will be able to exchange their licence if it was issued on or after 1 April 1991. Unlike residents of Northern Ireland, however, you’ll have to pay the standard exchange fee. You will also have to provide a medical report (D4) filled in by a doctor.

All other countries

If you don’t belong to any of the above countries, then you won’t be able to exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK one. That doesn’t mean you should give up on driving in the UK, however! You’re still allowed to drive for up to 12 months on your foreign licence. According to the DVLA, you’re allowed to drive vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes—with up to eight passenger seats—as long as your licence remains valid within the 12 month period. If you want to continue driving in the UK once this year is up, you’ll have to take a theory and practical test to get your hands on a UK driving licence.

Need to book a theory and practical test? Get PassMeFast to fast-track them for you. We even offer shorter intensive courses if you’re looking to iron out any bad habits you might have picked up!

Vocational licence holders

If you’re looking to exchange a vocational licence for a UK driving licence, then you’ll need to fill in an application for a lorry or bus (D2). If your vocational licence was issued in an EC/EEA country, you’ll also have to provide a D4 form if you’re 45 or over.

Please note: when you exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK driving licence, it will not be returned to you. By sending off your licence, you’re surrendering it to the DVLA willingly.

Additional rules for exchanging your foreign driving licence

Checklist

Whilst we’d love to tell you that’s all there is to it, the process for exchanging your foreign driving licence isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. There are a few more niggly rules that could cause a couple of bumps in your journey towards getting a UK driving licence, as you can see below…

If you’re a licence holder from a designated country, your licence needs to be valid at the time it’s received by the DVLA. If you’re from any EU/EEA country, however, you’ll be able to exchange your licence even if its validity has expired.
Canadian licence holders will have to provide evidence that they passed the driving test in a manual car, as Canadian licences don’t show whether the test was passed in manual or automatic transmission.
New Zealand licence holders will also have to provide proof that they passed in a manual car, otherwise they won’t be able to drive a manual car in the UK.
Japanese licence holders must send off their licence with an accompanying translation. This is available for a fee from the Consulate General of Japan at 101-104 Piccadilly, London, W1V 9FN or 2 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW.
South Korean licence holders must also send off  their licence with an accompanying translation. This is available for a fee from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, 60 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ.
Faroe Island and South Korean licence holders won’t be able to transfer entitlement to ride motorcycles from their current foreign licence to a UK one. This means you’ll have to take a theory and motorcycle practical test in the UK.
South African licence holders won’t be able to exchange their licence if it’s a ‘book of life’ ID instead of the newer credit card style licence.

How to exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK driving licence

Now that you’re sure you’re actually eligible to exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK one, we’re going to look at what that process entails. Fortunately, it’s pretty straightforward. To start, you’ll need to head on over to GOV.UK and send off for your application pack. You’ll receive this by post to your UK address. Most applicants will only need to send off for order form D1. Others will need more than one form, however: if you’re a resident of Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, for example, you’ll need D4 as well.

Once you’ve received your application form(s), you’re one step closer to the finishing line! All that’s left is for you to provide the following documents in your application:

  • A completed application form D1 (and any other required forms)
  • Your passport, a travel document or national identity card
  • A passport-sized colour photo
  • Your current driver’s licence (remember, you won’t get this back)
  • A certified translation of your current licence if you’re from Japan or South Korea
  • A fee of £43 paid by cheque or postal order

You need to send off your application to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BT. Once that’s sorted, you’ll receive your UK driving licence in approximately three weeks. The DVLA will send your original licence to the foreign issuing authorities.

If the foreign licence that you’re exchanging is for automatic transmission, your UK driving licence will be the same. If you want to drive a manual car, you’ll have to pass an additional driving test.

Additional advice for foreign licence holders looking to drive in the UK

Woman driving a red car

Familiarise yourself with the Highway Code

If you’re taking to the roads in the UK then it’s a good idea to read up on the Highway Code. No matter how confident you are with your driving, you need to be sure that you’re familiar with the rules of the road in the UK. The Highway Code is a set of rules and guidelines that are in place to keep all road users safe. As such, it’s a must-read for anyone on the road. You can start reading it right now on GOV.UK. Want to test your knowledge? Take a few Highway Code quizzes!

Understand your UK driving licence codes

When you receive your UK driving licence, you should make sure you know exactly what rules and restrictions are in place for the vehicle you drive. You can find this information on the reverse side of your licence. If you turn your card around, you’ll find a table of vehicles and codes. This will tell you what vehicles you are and aren’t allowed to drive. It will also contain additional conditions that you must follow when driving in the UK. Find out more in our guide to driving licence codes.

Sort out your car insurance

If you’re driving in the UK, whether on a foreign licence or your new UK driving licence, you’ll need to make sure the vehicle you’re driving is insured. It is illegal to drive in the UK without insurance. The minimum insurance you need is third party cover, though it might not be your cheapest option. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your car insurance, you might want to look at: what to check for when you’re buying car insurance or our guide to black box (telematics) insurance.

Take a refresher course

If you’re not entirely confident with driving on the roads in the UK, there’s an easy, sure-fire way to boost your confidence: a quick refresher course. As the name suggests, these courses are for people who just need a few hours or so to iron out their bad habits and get to grips with the more advanced aspects of driving. PassMeFast has three refresher courses to choose from—5 hours, 10 hours or 15 hours—depending on how much guidance you need with an experienced ADI. To book in, give us a call on 0333 123 4949 or book online.


FAQs

① How do I find out if I’m eligible to exchange my licence?

You can find out if you’re eligible to exchange your foreign driving licence for a UK one by using GOV.UK’s licence exchange entitlement tool.

② Does the 12 month period restart if I leave the UK and come back?

If you’re a visitor  to the UK, then yes, your 12 months would start again once you came back to the UK. If, however, you’ve since become a resident of the UK, then this 12 month period does not restart.

③ Will I be able to drive a manual car if my original licence is for automatic transmission?

Nope. If your original licence says that you passed your driving test in an automatic car, then you will only be able to drive automatic cars. If you’re that keen to drive a manual car in the UK, you’ll have to take an additional test.

④ How long will it take for the DVLA to send me my UK driving licence?

The DVLA states that it will take around three weeks for you to receive your licence once you’ve sent them your application pack. Bear in mind that this is an estimate—it might take longer if they need to do additional checks.

⑤ What are the minimum age requirements for driving in the UK?

In order to drive a car or motorcycle in the UK, drivers need to be at least 17 years old. If you’re looking to drive a lorry or bus, you need to be at least 21 years old.

⑥ I need to take a driving test, how do I book one?

If you’re required to take a driving test in order to get your hands on a UK driving licence, it’s as simple as heading on over to GOV.UK to book your test. Bear in mind, however, that driving test waiting times can be long. If time is of the essence, you can get a fast-track practical test with PassMeFast.

⑦ Can I import my vehicle to the UK?

Looking to bring a vehicle into the UK permanently? You’ll have to: inform HMRC, pay VAT and duty, get vehicle approval and register and tax the vehicle. You’ll also have to insure it before you drive it on UK roads. Only going to be driving in the UK for 6 months or less? You’ll need to look at the rules for temporary imports.

⑧ Do I need insurance if I’m only going to be in the UK for a short time?

Yep! It is illegal to drive on the roads in the UK without car insurance, so we really wouldn’t recommend you pushing your luck without it. Third party cover is the minimum insurance cover legally required. With it only covering damage to other vehicles and property, you might want to look at: third party, fire and theft cover or comprehensive cover.

By Bethany Hall

Whether you’re a learner or a pro driver, Bethany is here to help. From defensive driving to the Highway Code, she’ll tell you everything you need know about driving. If she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find Bethany with her head in a book or binge-watching the latest TV show.

62 Comments

  1. Reply

    Martiens J Bekker

    Hi. Great blog!
    One question. In exchanging a South African drivers licence, do the applicant need to pass theory and practical tests?
    Thanks

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Martiens,

      As South Africa is one of the designated countries, you’ll be able to exchange your existing licence without sitting any further tests. The only stipulation is that you must do so within 5 years of becoming a resident of the UK.

      Hope this clears things up!

      Andy

  2. Reply

    Kay

    i am holding the driving license from designated countries, can i still drive during the application of exchange UK license? thanks

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Kay,

      Once you’ve sent off your application, it should take around three weeks for your new UK driving licence to arrive. During this time, you should still be able to drive. If you’d like to double check that this is indeed the case, however, you could always get in touch with the DVSA.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  3. Reply

    Bruce

    Could you please clarify below:
    Does the 12 month period restart if I leave the UK and come back?
    Yep! If you spent up to 12 months in the UK and left, your 12 months would start again once you came back to the UK. This applies even if you’re only out of the UK for a couple of days!

    i just spoken to DVLA and they said you could drive upto 12 months after becoming resident. Moving out of UK for couple of days and coming back will not reset the clock.

    Could you please clarify, thanks

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Bruce,

      Apologies for the confusion here. This applies only to people who are visiting the UK. They can drive for up to 12 months from when they last entered the UK – when they leave and come back, this 12 month period restarts. If you’re a resident, however, you can only drive for up to 12 months before you have to exchange your licence. I’ve made sure to update this section now to make it a bit clearer.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  4. Reply

    Peter Silarszky

    Question: what starting date would appear on my exchanged, new UK licence?
    For example, if my EU licence made in hungary and valid from 2005, would be the same date on my new UK licence or its would look like I just had pass my tests,have a brand new licence?

    thank you

    Peter
    its important information for car insurance.

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Peter,

      I’d assume that the start date on your new exchanged UK licence would appear as though you’d only just passed your test – as you’re only just starting out as a UK driver. To be sure, however, you’ll have to either wait for your new licence to arrive or get in touch with the DVLA for confirmation.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  5. Reply

    Angela Floriana Stanescu

    Hi,if I whant to exchange my drive licence from Albania to UK ?I’m resident for 5 years,thank you!!

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Angela,

      You won’t be able to exchange your driving licence for a UK one. You’re allowed to drive in the UK for up to 12 months on your licence. Once this time is up, you will need to take a theory and practical test in order to get a UK driving licence.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  6. Reply

    Nick

    Hi
    I have an EEA driving licence and would like to change to an UK one.
    One the EEA I have both categories, car and lorry with trailer, there are two separate forms for each category i.e. D1 and D2 and both require photos. Would I not be required to send both forms (excluding D4 as I am under 45 years old) to the same address and would I need to provide photos for both? What would be the cost for the combined application?
    Would my UK replacement licence not include both categories i.e. only a single licence listing all categories?
    Thank you in advance.
    Nick

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Nick,

      Unfortunately, I’m not entirely familiar with the process of exchanging a car and lorry driving licence for a UK one. As you say, the DVLA provide separate forms for both categories. Rather than sending off both forms and paying the £43 fee twice, however, I’d suggest first getting in touch with the DVLA to double-check what the process actually is. You can find relevant contact information here.

      Bethany

  7. Reply

    SERGEJUS

    Hi, I sent a D1 form to replace the right to the British address SwanseaSA 6 7JL ,I’m worried that sent to the wrong address, what should I do.

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Sergejus,

      That address is listed by the DVLA as their Customer Services Correspondence Team, however, it’s likely that your form will have gotten through to the right department. It can take up to 3 weeks for them to process your application. If you haven’t heard anything after this time, you should get in touch with the DVLA to see whether they’ve received your application. You can find the right contact details here.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  8. Reply

    Judas

    hi. how long need to wait to get passport back?

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Judas,

      After receiving your UK driving licence, it can take up to 3 weeks for the DVLA to return your identity documents. If your passport isn’t returned after this time, you should get in touch with the DVLA.

      Hope this helps!

      Bethany

  9. Reply

    SERGEJUS

    Thank you very much. Sergejus

  10. Reply

    Sally

    My partner had a New Zealand licence and is looking to exchange it after being resident a year now. It states you have to prove it was taken for a manual car – the NZ licence just has car on it. It was obtained in 1992. How does he prove that. In NZ you cannot obtain a full license without doing a manual test but it doesnt state it on the licence itself. Surely DVLA are aware if the licensing legislation in NZ as a designated country.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Sally,

      I’ve done a bit of research into this and it seems your best bet will be to contact the New Zealand Transport Agency. You should be able to ask for a Letter of Entitlement, which acts as proof of your ability to drive a manual car. Send this off together with your application to the DVLA, and your manual entitlement should then transfer over to your UK licence. Hope this helps!

      Andy

  11. Reply

    Scott Gordon-Hogg

    Hi I’m a British Citizan/Resident. I also hold a South African Passport. I have been driving HGV 1 Trucks for several years in South Africa on a EC / HGV 1 South African Truck Licence. I also have a Profesional Driving Permit.
    I’m planning on moving back to the UK soon. Would I be able to apply for a Job as a HGV1 Lorry driver using my South African licence and also exchange it for a UK HGV1 / Category C+E 0licence?
    Thanks Scoty

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Scott,

      Unfortunately, while it’s possible to exchange South African car licences, you can’t do the same with lorry licences.

      If you wanted to carry on driving lorries in the UK, you’d need to pass tests here to obtain the Driver CPC. You need to get this in order to work as a lorry driver in the UK.

      You can still drive a car for the first 12 months after you became a UK resident.

      Hope this helps.

      Andy

  12. Reply

    mike

    how do you become a resident? Can you become a resident in less than 185 days? Is there some document you can get to prove it?

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Mike,

      As long as you intend to stay in the UK for 185 days or more, you can apply for a driving licence at any time. You needn’t wait until you’ve already been here 185 days.

      You can’t apply for a licence if you don’t have the right to live in the UK for at least 185 days. If, for example, you had a visa which will expire before 185 days have passed, you wouldn’t be eligible to apply for a licence.

      Hope this helps.

      Andy

  13. Reply

    Jennifer

    Hi Andy

    I have just sent off my application for a full Uk licence in exchange for my EU licence.
    My question is can I be fined for having my Portugues address on my EU licence? I have heard that not having an updated address on your licence you can be fined up £1000.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Jennifer,

      I don’t think there should be an issue in this case. As you would have provided your new UK address when exchanging your licence, the DVLA will be able to contact you, so there should be no problems here.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  14. Reply

    Ela

    Hi

    My dad had Turkish driving licence and he never changed it to UK driving licence, he lives in UK nearly 20 years and he applied for provisional license instead of changing it to UK licence, what can you advise on this?

    thanks

    Ela

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Ela,

      As Turkey isn’t a member of the EU/EEA nor one of the designated countries, you’re only able to drive on a Turkish licence in the UK for up to 12 months. This means your dad can’t exchange his licence for a UK one and will need to take tests in order to get a British licence.

      Hope this helps.

      Andy

  15. Reply

    Ben

    Hi,

    Thanks for this helpful blog! This is quite a nutshell !!!
    I’m a French UK resident since 2013 and therefore entitled to swap my licence for a UK one.

    I’ve done the official test => https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence

    I got the below result and am quite surprised with the last sentence stating that I’ll need to pass the theory and practical driving tests.
    If I swap my 10+ years licence, surely this is not to do the tests again? Anyone who could confirm?

    *After 12 months you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and pass the theory and practical driving tests to drive in Great Britain*

    —-

    Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence
    Start again
    1Are you:
    a resident of Great Britain?
    Change this answer
    2What kind of driving licence do you have?
    Full car and/or motorcycle
    Change this answer
    3Where did you pass your test?
    Any other country
    Change this answer
    You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident
    After 12 months you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and pass the theory and practical driving tests to drive in Great Britain.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  16. Reply

    ben

    Please discard my previous comment.
    I’ve clicked other country rather than EU… :/

    —-

    1Are you:
    a resident of Great Britain?
    Change this answer
    2What kind of driving licence do you have?
    Full car and/or motorcycle
    Change this answer
    3Where did you pass your test?
    European Union or European Economic Area
    Change this answer
    You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence
    If you were younger than 67 when you became a resident, you can drive on your EU licence until you’re 70.

    If you were 67 or older when you became a resident, you can drive on your EU licence for 3 years after that point.

    You can exchange your EU licence for a GB licence when you can’t drive on it anymore.

    You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Ben,

      Glad you got that sorted! Yep, you’re able to swap your French licence for a UK one.

      Andy

  17. Reply

    Dan

    Hi,

    Asked around about the following issue, can’t seem to get a clear answer;

    I have an EEA license (from Switzerland, to be precise). Now, in Switzerland there is an initial probation period of 3 years, after which you’ll merely get a new license with no probation period written on it. However, i got turned down at many places because people thought that it was expired, when all that date says is *what my probational period is* (not the expiry date, of which there isn’t one) which ended in August this year. Will it be a problem at the dvla to exchange my license for a UK one? I’m concerned with the fact that they might misunderstand it for the actual validity of my license.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Dan,

      I’ve had a look at the DVSA website, which states:

      “After 12 months you must exchange your licence to keep driving. You can exchange it up to 5 years after becoming resident, if it hasn’t expired.”

      In theory, then, there shouldn’t be an issue in exchanging your licence. However, to avoid any doubt (and if possible!), it may be worth swapping your probationary licence for a full Swiss licence (information on how to do so at ch.ch) before then exchanging it for a UK one. In this instance, contacting the DVSA directly should definitely clear things up.

      Hope this helps.

      Andy

  18. Reply

    John Taggart

    Hi,
    Does anyone know for a fact what the DVLA do with the exchanged license? Does it go back to the original country? Is it destroyed or kept as record? Does the DVLA do any checks with the foreign country?

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi John,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific information about this. You’d need to ask the DVLA directly about this topic.

      Andy

  19. Reply

    Laura

    I am looking to work in Turkey for a while. After 120 days I have to switch my DL for a turkish one or re enter the country. If I switch it, will I able to switch it back (given that I passed my tests in the UK originally)??

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Laura,

      On the official DVLA tool relating to licence exchange, the form specifies the country where you passed your test. As you originally passed in the UK, this suggests you should be able to get a UK licence back. However, to be on the safe side, I would contact the DVLA directly.

      Andy

  20. Reply

    Jason

    Hi There,

    Can I exchange my licence if it has expired?

    It is a South African licence.

    Many thanks

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Jason,

      I’m afraid that the DVSA states that you can only exchange South African licences that haven’t expired. Your options here would be to renew your South African licence (which can only be done in South Africa) and then exchange it, or to pass your test again here in the UK.

      Andy

  21. Reply

    Gary

    Hi, is it possible to take a motorcycle test in the UK with an EU (Spanish) licence, and once passed would I then have to exchange it for a UK one?
    I would prefer to keep my Spanish licence and add the motorcycle part to it if possible.

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Gary,

      According to the DVLA, if you want to take a CBT course with an EU licence, you must either:

    2. Exchange your licence for a Great Britain licence
    3. Register your licence with the DVLA – after which, you’ll need to exchange it for a GB licence, once you’ve passed your theory and practical test
    4. Hope this helps.

      Bethany

  • Reply

    Hung

    Hello,
    I have got a job and came to the UK from Canada in April 2019 with a driving license (automatic car, valid until 2023). I lived in an address from April to August and moved to another address in the same town. It’s now 8 months since my first arrival and only 4 months since my last address change. I’m not sure I understand “you’re a resident if you have a permanent address in Great Britain that you’ve lived in for at least 185 days”. Does it mean that I have to stay in the exact same address for at least ~6 months or the time just count from my first arrival?
    Thanks,
    Hung

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Hung,

      In this instance, I believe that having lived permanently in the UK for 185 days means you should count as a resident, and therefore should be able to exchange your licence. Contacting the DVLA would help you to clear things up, but I don’t think you should experience any issues.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  • Reply

    Marcus

    Hi there,

    I have a tricky case. I requested to exchange my expired Canadian DL. I didn’t know it is not possible. I received two letter from DVLA. One with my brand new UK DL, and a second one asking to send a valid Canadian DL. So I ignored the second letter and bought a car and got a fancy insurance policy. DVLA insisted that I responded so I was honest and explained that I couldn’t since I did not get my old license back from them and that I had the UK DL.

    Now DVLA insist that I “MUST” return the UK DL. The Canadian agency does not extend license to non-residence, which makes sense.

    So I do not know what to do other than asking them to acknowledge the mistake and claim for damages.

    Any advice will be helpful.

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Marcus,

      Unfortunately, in this situation, it sounds as though you were already warned that you needed to send over a valid Canadian driving licence, and chose to ignore this. As such, now that the DVLA have recognised that your licence was issued in error, they are fully entitled to ask you to return it.

      If you do wish to continue driving in the UK, it’s likely you’d need to take a theory and practical test. If you need any assistance with getting on the road, don’t hesitate to ask!

      Hope this helps,

      Andy

  • Reply

    Hung

    Thank you for the response, Andy.

  • Reply

    Marcus

    Thank you, I had two letters saying contradicting things. Why should I have ignored that I have a valid UK Driving License? I am legally entitled to drive with that license. In fact, it was me who pointed out to DVLA that they made one mistake and asked them to clarify which one.

    But I agree, ultimately all I will get is an apology from DVLA and I spending money in lawyers claiming damages caused by their mistake.

    Thanks you all,
    Marcus

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Marcus,

      No worries. Hope you manage to get everything resolved!

      Andy

  • Reply

    Karen

    Hi, I arrived here in UK Aug 2019 – my situation is my South African license is about to expire end of Jan 2020.. I supposedly visiting back to South Africa this December and renew my DL in there. Unfortunately, had to canceled my ticket because my passport and other documents still in Home Office for my visa application.. Went to Post office and ask what application I must do and no luck and by phoning DVLA don’t help either since you can’t talk to anyone. Please help or advise what should be my next step since I’m dropping and collect my child everyday to school. Thank you.

  • Reply

    Yordan

    Hello Andy,

    Thank you for the effort for putting all this information together. Much appreciated!
    Just wanted to ask, hopefully, you’ll have an idea. I’m about to replace my EU license with a UK one. My concern is that my Bulgarian driving license has expired in May 2019 as it has been issued in May 2009 and it has 10 years of validation. Would this be ok or I need to first renew my license with new Bulgarian one and then send the renewed Bulgarian license for exchange of a UK one?

    Hope you can advise me!

    Many thanks,
    Yordan

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Yordan,

      You should be able to exchange your existing EU licence for a British one even if it has expired. You’ll need to pay the exchange fee of £43 and send off your old licence by post.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  • Reply

    Mihai

    Hi,

    I am looking to exchange my EU license to a UK one. Where exactly did you find this address: Swansea, SA99 1BT – I’ve been looking everywhere on DVLA’s website and I could only see a few others (SA99 1BN, SA99 1BU), so I am quite confused, I wouldn’t want to send my ID and license to the wrong address.

    Thank you!

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Mihai,

      The SA99 1BT postcode is specifically for the department of the DVLA which deals with exchanging foreign licences. The other postcodes you listed are for other functions of the agency (such as changing name or address).

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  • Reply

    Mooki

    Hi

    I forgot to send my ID photo with my Application to exchange my South African license to British one.

    Abviously it’s going to get declined does it mean I loose the money and will I be able to apply again?

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Mooki,

      Your best bet is to wait for a response from the DVLA. They might simply ask you to send them your ID photo. Alternatively, your application might be rejected and you’ll have to apply again. If you don’t get a response within a couple of weeks, I’d suggest getting in touch with the DVLA directly.

      Hope this helps,

      Bethany

  • Reply

    Tshepo Mooki

    Thank very much.
    They’ve asked me to send my ID photo.

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Tshepo,

      That’s great! Glad to have helped.

      Bethany

  • Reply

    Roxana

    Hi Bethany,
    I am in the process of exchanging my EU driving licence with an UK one. I have sent them all docs but haven’t yet received my UK driving licence. I would like to buy a car in the meantime. One of the questions that I had I believe it was already answered above, I am okay to drive even though I do not hold any driving licence at the moment, right? Secondly, I would need to be insured to pick up the car at the moment of purchase, but I don’t have the licence details yet. A work colleague mentioned something about a temporary insurance, daily or a couple of days, but said it costs up to £100. Do I have any other better options?
    Many thanks,
    Roxana

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Roxana,

      Yes, you are legally allowed to drive whilst waiting for your UK driving licence to arrive. If you’re pulled over and asked to provide your licence, you will have to explain the situation, of course. If you’re reluctant to pay for temporary insurance, your best bet is to simply wait for your UK driving licence to arrive – it shouldn’t take too long. Once your licence arrives, you can then look into sorting out your insurance. I’d recommend heading over to our driving insurance section for help with this.

      Hope this helps,

      Bethany

  • Reply

    David

    Hi! My girlfriend is looking to exchange her Australia driving licence to drive in the UK. She has been her for just over a year, but her licence expired about a month ago. What would she need to do to be able to drive here?

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi David,

      The DVLA will only accept a valid Australian driving licence, not an expired one. I’d suggest getting in touch with the DVLA directly (you can find contact information here) to find out what your next course of action should be. They might advise your girlfriend to renew her driving licence, or take the UK theory and practical tests instead.

      Hope this helps,

      Bethany

  • Reply

    bobo

    Hi, my husband has been living in the UK since three months ago. He is holding the driving license from designated countries- Hong Kong. I noticed that one of the requirements that he needs to lives in the UK at least 185 days before exchange. Now, he wants to exchange his non GB driving licence to GB even though he only lives in the UK three months. I am wondering that will he get back his original driving licence if not approved by DVSA?

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Bobo,

      As your husband has only lived in the UK for 3 months, his application will not be approved by the DVLA. If he applies anyway, the DVLA will reject his application and send his documents back to him. As your husband can still legally drive in the UK for up to 12 months, he might as well wait until he reaches 185 days.

      Hope this helps,
      Bethany

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *