Driving: Licensing

Department for Transport written question – answered on 6th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Brabazon of Tara Lord Brabazon of Tara Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 27 January (HL4238), when they last made an assessment of driver training and testing standards in each of the designated countries; which body carried out the assessment; where the assessments were carried out; and whether any countries have been removed from or added to the list of the designated countries in the last ten years.

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

Designation of a country is based on an assessment of driver training and testing standards in that country to ensure that they are comparable with those in this country. A full assessment is carried out prior to the designation of each country. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) requests relevant information about the country’s testing and licensing systems. This is then passed to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for consideration and approval. If the decision is made to designate the country, the law is then amended to include the new country.

The table below shows when each designated country was fully assessed:

Date of Last full Assessment

Designated Country


Australia; Hong Kong; New Zealand; Singapore; Switzerland


Barbados; British Virgin Islands; Zimbabwe; Japan


South Africa; Canada


Republic of Korea; Monaco


Falkland Islands


Faroe Islands



When reviewing these arrangements the DVLA contacts each country and requests updated information about the country’s testing and licensing systems. When changes are identified, information is passed to the DVSA for further consideration and approval.

A review of Canada, Falkland Islands, Monaco, Republic of Korea and Zimbabwe was carried out in January 2014 and the remaining designated countries (Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland) are currently under review. To date, it has not been necessary to refer a designated country to the DVSA for full reassessment.

In the last 10 years the Faroe Islands (2007) and Andorra (2013) have been designated for driving licence exchange in Great Britain. To date, only one country has been de-designated, this was Kenya in 2002.

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