Driving: Licensing

Department for Transport written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government from which countries outside the European Union driving licences may be used to drive in the United Kingdom without sitting a United Kingdom driving test.

Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Residents who hold a driving licence issued by a designated country may exchange that licence for a GB equivalent without the need to take a further driving test here. Designation of a country is based on an assessment of driver training and testing standards, which must be comparable with those in this country.

The following are designated countries for driving licence exchange purposes in Great Britain: Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

All visitors and new residents who hold a valid driving licence issued outside the European Union and have the relevant entitlement can drive cars and motorcycles in GB for 12 months. After this 12-month period, non-EU visitors and residents must apply for a provisional driving licence and pass a driving test in the UK to be able to continue to drive here. This arrangement is for small vehicles only and does not include driving larger vehicles like buses and lorries.

In Northern Ireland, driver licensing is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment. The designation of countries outside the EU for driver licence purposes is therefore a decision for the relevant department in Northern Ireland.

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