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Driving in the United Kingdom on a licence issued in a European Community/European Economic Area (EC/EEA) country
Licences issued in the European Community and European Economic Area make up two groups that are treated equally. The full list is:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
If you hold a valid community licence and are visiting Great Britain, you can drive any vehicle if the full entitlement for that vehicle is shown on the licence.
If you have a valid community licence, this will allow you to drive in Great Britain for the period set out below. Alternatively, you can exchange your licence for a British licence. Provided your licence remains valid you may drive in Great Braitain:
Car, motorcycle driving licence holders (ordinary driving licence): Until aged 70 or for three years after becoming resident, whichever is the longer period.
Lorry, minibus, bus driving licence holders (vocational driving licence):
In order to continue driving after these periods, you must get a British driving licence.
Register of community licence holders
Holders of community licences with vocational entitlement who live in the UK must register their details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). For further information, you can contact them on 0870 240 0009.
Notifying health conditions
You must tell DVLA about conditions that existed before you came to Great Britain and which you may have already notified to the authorities. This also includes any conditions you have recently become aware of. In most cases, the rules will be the same as those in other EC/EEA countries although there may be some differences. Higher visual standards apply for vocational drivers in this country.
Taking a driving test
If you want to take a British driving test you must be a resident in the UK. However, if you have moved to the UK having recently been a permanent resident in another state of the EC/EEA, you must be a resident in the UK for 185 days in the 12 months before your application for a driving test and full licence.
To take a UK driving test you will need to either:
A provisional licence document is issued free of charge. However, the appropriate fee must be paid and your community licence surrendered in exchange for a UK one when claiming the full entitlement.
Vehicles which community licence holders may also drive in GB
Community licence holders with category B entitlement can also drive certain vehicles in the UK, which are exempt from the normal large vehicle driver licensing requirements. These include non-commercial minibuses driven on a voluntary basis, permit minibuses and large vehicles such as agricultural motor vehicles and road construction vehicles. Further details about these vehicles and the conditions that apply to them can be found in the fact sheet "Special Licensing Arrangements For Drivers of Large Vehicles" available from DVLA.
Community licences issued in exchange for licences from elsewhere
A community licence issued on the strength of a licence from a designated country will be valid for driving in the UK for 12 months only and is acceptable for exchange purposes.
A community licence issued on the strength of a licence from a non-designated country will be valid for driving in the UK for 12 months only but is not valid for exchange purposes.
A licence from any country outside the EC/EEA, which was originally issued on the basis of a community licence, will be valid for driving in the UK for 12 months only and is acceptable for exchange purposes. Evidence of the original EC/EEA entitlement must be provided.
directgov / Expatica
Photo by kyle_may (flickr)
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