Exchanging a foreign licence for a UK drivers licence

Can you drive in the UK using your foreign drivers licence?

Australian, NZ & Canadian

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid Australian driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident. You need to exchange your licence after 12 months – you have 5 years since you became resident to do this.

European Union

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid EU or European Economic Area driving licence until you’re 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer. You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.


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.


Check out this handy little tool to see if you can drive in the UK on your non-UK drivers licence


How to exchange a foreign licence for a UK drivers licence

(This is valid for Australia, Andorra, 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)

You can exchange your driving licence up to 5 years after becoming resident in the UK so long as your licence remains valid. The fee is £43.

1. Order form D1 from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
2. Send the form, fee and any documents you need to (including your driving licence and passport for identification) to the address on the form.
3. You should get your new UK drivers licence within 3 weeks, so don’t plan any road trips/holidays on your passport during this time.

*Important Note: Even though you have 5 years to exchange your licence, you’re legally only allowed to drive on it for 1 year after arrival. Whilst car hire and rentals don’t ever really check this, I imagine it’s something the police would check up on if you’re ever pulled over or if there’s an accident, and any insurance would also therefore be void.


Some other practical advice

  • Here’s 5 things I learnt the first time I drove in London
  • Cars drive on the left in the U.K, so if you’re coming from Australia, fear not, everything stays the same. If you’re coming from Europe, the U.S, Canada or any other lovely, right-hand side driving countries, maybe get some practice in a quieter area before you tackle London’s roads, and request an auto car to save yourself from the gear box.
  • How to hire a car? There are load of car rental schemes in London to choose from. Drive Now (fancy) and Zip Car (practical) are particularly useful if you just need a car for a few hours, and RentalCars.com is the website I always use to find the cheapest car hire deals (in the UK and everywhere else too actually).

Kamila x

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