If you have recently moved to the UK and need to drive you may be wondering what your options are or be confused by all the rules and regulations involved. The process can vary depending on where your original licence was issued and whether you are classed as a resident of Great Britain.

To be able to exchange your foreign licence for a UK one you will need to have lived in the UK for at least 185 days. The next criteria depend on the country your existing licence was issued in, you will need to check on gov.uk for up to date details. The UK has designated countries and if your existing licence was issued in one of these you will be allowed to exchange it without taking any further tests.

For those whose licence was issued in another non-designated country, you are allowed to drive for up to 12 months on your foreign licence as long as your licence remains valid during this time. If you want to continue driving in the UK once this year is up you will need to pass a theory and practical test to get a full UK driving licence.

To find out if you are eligible to exchange your licence use the gov.uk tool

Whether you can exchange your licence or within your 12 month period it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the highway code and take some lessons with a professional driving instructor who can help you familiarise yourself with driving on the left-hand side of the road and negotiating our road systems. If you do need to take a test to gain your UK licence your driving instructor will help you prepare for both your theory and practical tests. It is advisable to book your lessons well in advance of the 12-month deadline as instructors and test centres can be busy and may not have the availability you require.