Whether you’re studying in the UK or are visiting the country on an extended trip, being able to drive and having a valid driving license can prove to be invaluable. The UK and many of its gorgeous holiday spots are the perfect settings for a road trip. Being able to drive as a student is another convenience you wouldn’t want to miss out on either.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, DVLA, facilitates the exchange of foreign driving licenses with British ones, which means the process of getting a UK driving license can be a lot simpler. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
Understanding the Requirements
Before you can exchange your driving license with a UK one, you need to meet certain requirements. For starters, you need to have a valid UK address; the DVLA requires a permanent address for the application to be approved. You also need to have at least 185 days of stay under your belt to qualify as a UK resident.
Next, you need a valid driving license for the exchange. This means passing your driving test and getting a suitable license from your home country. The DVLA divides driving licenses into two categories: car and motorcycle licenses and licenses for lorries, buses and other vehicles.
Last but not least, you need to know the regulations for the exchange. The DVLA treats driving licenses from different countries differently. That brings us to our next point.
Exchanging Your License
Depending on where you are from, the regulations for the DVLA driving license exchange may be different. For starters, those who are from EU countries can actually drive in the UK without having to do the exchange at all.
If you are from one of the designated countries, such as Australia, Japan, and Singapore, you can apply for the exchange by completing the D1 order form from the DVLA. You might also be asked to go through the same process of applying for a driving license if needed.
Some countries are not covered by the DVLA driving license exchange scheme. If you are from an uncovered country, you can actually drive in the UK for up to 12 months as long as you have a valid driving license from your home country.
Getting the License
The next step is to do the exchange. As mentioned before, you can either be asked to go through the same process as applying for a new UK license or to simply complete a form and supply the necessary documents. The latter is obviously much easier to complete, but getting a driving license should be fairly straightforward either way.
If neither of these are an option for you, you may need to take a new driving test in the UK. Resource centres such as Top Tests now allow you to practice for the theory portion of your test online, and driving instructors can be found all over the country. Many even offer crash courses if you need to pass your test and start driving quickly.
Driving in the UK is both convenient and exciting, especially with so many great places to visit and explore. Just take a look at the requirements for driving before you visit.