Things to Know About Driving in the UK with an EU Driving License

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If you’re going to be driving on British roads with an EU driving license, then you might wonder exactly what the rules are. In a post-Brexit Britain, it’s easy to be uncertain about falling on the wrong side of the law.

How long can you drive in the country?

If you’ve got your EU license by exchanging a non-EU one, then you can drive in Great Britain for twelve months. In all other cases, you can drive until you are seventy, or have lived in Great Britain for three years – whichever period is longer. This provides 69-year-olds with a little bit of wriggle room. If you arrive in the country, you can be sure that your license won’t immediately be invalidated as you turn seventy.

Driving an EU car in the UK

As well as the driver, we also need to think about the vehicle itself. EU-registered vehicles can be driven on UK roads, under certain conditions.

To begin with, the driver will need to be only temporarily visiting the UK. If you’re becoming a permanent resident, you’ll need a UK-registered car. The car will also need to be fully taxed and registered in the country of origin.

If you’re concerned about insurance, and you’re visiting just for a short period, then the best approach might be to look for short-term insurance. Temporary car insurance, or one-day insurance, works out more expensive per mile travelled – but if you know that your stay will be short, it can often work out cheaper.

There’s also a time limit to think about. Your vehicle can be driven in the UK for up to six months. However, this period might be split up over the course of a year. So, you might arrive in February, stay until May, and then return for another three months in December to see family at Christmas.

Exchanging your EU driving license for a UK one

If you intend to become resident in the UK, then the best long-term approach is to exchange your EU license for a UK one.

To apply for a UK license, you’ll need to be a UK resident. That means living there for 185 days per calendar year, having a permanent address there, and not being banned from driving elsewhere.

Having fulfilled these criteria, you’ll be eligible to submit your D1 application form to the DVLA. To do this, you’ll need an appropriate passport photo, a passport, and proof of residency. There’s also a fee of £43 attached to the process.

Once you’ve submitted the form, you can expect a short wait before your new license arrives. From then, you’ll be legally entitled to drive on UK roads.

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