Foreigners who come into the country from overseas might find the process of getting driving licence confusing. In this post I will simplify the process of applying for UK provisional and permanent driving licence for foreigners.
To qualify for a driving licence in the UK, you must be above the legal age of 15years and 9 months and must be a resident in the UK. You must also have a good eyesight and be able to read number plate from 20 meters away.
Method of Application
Step 1: Apply for Provisional Licence
The first step to getting a UK driving licence is to apply for provisional licence through the DVLA website https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence
You will need your address for the last three years, some information on your international passport/British passport so it is important you get that handy, your National Insurance which is on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) for identity verification purpose and your credit/debit card for the payment of the application fees of £34.
Complete the application and make the payment online. You should receive an acknowledgment after this in your email. In approximately 1-2 weeks, you will receive a letter from DVLA containing a form with instruction on how to complete and submit it. If you are a foreigner, just apply your passport photograph with your name and signature at the back then proceed to the post office to send it to the address on the form. Also sign in the designated space.
You are also required to send your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) together with the application. Your application will not be treated if you don’t send your BRP with the form. It is advisable to get a first-class self-addressed envelope at the post office and include it in the package. This will guarantee the safe return of your BRP. Summarily you will be sending the following to DVLA:
- The form sent to you from DVLA with your affixed passport photograph
- Your BRP
- A self-addressed first-class envelope bought from post office
Next is to patiently wait for the arrival of your temporary license. This should arrive within 2 to 4 weeks; it may take a longer time due to COVID. Your BRP may arrive first or last depending on the type of postage you use on the self-addressed envelope. During the peak of the COVID pandemic Nurses and other keyworkers are sending their forms FAO Lee Jones and getting their provisional license within 1 week. Her address is:
FAO Lee Jones
Head of Vehicle Input Services
While waiting for your driving license, you can track your application https://www.gov.uk/track-your-driving-licence-application
Frequently asked questions
Is driving license from my home country valid in UK?
Yes, your driving license from your home country is valid for 12 months from the time you entered UK. It must however still be valid throughout the 12 months period. If at any point it becomes inactive/expired then it is no longer accepted in the UK.
I am travelling to UK compulsory to have international is it drivers’ licence?
If you have a drivers’ license duly issued by your country, you don’t need to get international drivers’ licence as your home country license is valid for 12 months in the UK.
Can I drive with my home country’s driving license without any penalty?
Yes, you can drive with your home country’s driving license within 12 months of being in the UK.
What is the list of designated countries that can change their driving license to UK license without writing any exams?
The list of designated countries is: Andorra, 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. To change your license to UK license if you are from any of these countries follow this step:
- Order form D1 from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
- Send the form, £43 fee and any documents you need (including your driving licence) to the address on the form.
- You should get your new licence within 3 weeks.
If you are from South Africa only the newly introduced credit-card style licence is accepted, the old booklet style can no longer be exchanged
You can exchange it up to 5 years after becoming resident, if it has not expired.