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Converting a Driver’s Licence in the UK

A driver's licence is one of the most important things you may need once settling in the UK. Aside from serving the obvious purpose of allowing to drive around the UK, it also doubles up as an identification document.

If you don’t already have a driving licence from your home land, you will have to pass a driving test before you are given a UK driver’s licence. However, if you have one, you may be able to convert your current DL to a UK licence. Let’s see who’s eligible and how they can do this.

Converting a Driver’s Licence in the UK

What Does Converting your Driving Licence Mean?

Licence conversion is a service that allows you to change your driving licence to a UK one so you can drive legally in the United Kingdom. The critical question you should be asking is which country’s driving licence can be exchanged in UK? If you’re from an EU country or one with an agreement with UK, you can exchange your current driver’s licence for a UK one and start driving within three weeks. Here is the list of participating countries:

- Australia
- Andorra
- Barbados
- British Virgin Islands
- Canada
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Gibraltar
- Hong Kong
- Japan
- Monaco
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- Republic of North Macedonia
- Switzerland
- Singapore
- South Africa
- Taiwan
- Ukraine
- Zimbabwe

If you’re from other countries that are neither in the EU nor designated nations list, you will have to take a theory test and a practical one before getting a driver’s licence. This will only be possible after 12 months of living in the UK.

Requirements and Documentation Needed

Once you choose to convert your licence, you should make sure you meet all the requirements below before you apply:

Note that not all requirements apply to you, especially if you’re changing a EU licence to the UK one.

How to Apply

Applications for DL conversion are mainly made on the internet on the official government website. You’ll be required to answer some evaluation questions to allow the system to choose the perfect route for you. After this, you will be redirected to the correct page with details of what you should do. Depending on your answers, you will either click on the link with the application form or wait for the right time before starting the process.

Persons from the EU, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Jersey Guernsey, Isle of Man, and those from designated countries will fill out form D1, attach the relevant documents, pay the required facilitation fees, and submit the request.

If you are looking to apply for a commercial DL, you must download form D2 or D2W in Welsh and follow the instructions to complete the application.

A commercial DL is necessary to operate any vehicle that is classified as large or heavy or any vehicle that transports hazardous materials or more than 15 passengers.

Anyone not conversant with internet applications can visit their nearest post office box and find the D1 forms. Please fill them out, attach the required documents, mail them to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BN and wait for communication from this department.

Do you need help with your application? You can contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). They provide a contact form that you can use to ask questions on DVLA change driving licence requirements or air grievances. You can also call them or send a mail for help.

Processing Time, Validity, and Cost

When you change your European licence to a UK one, it usually takes three to four weeks for the process to be complete. Applicants will need to pay £43 to get their licence converted. Once you get your licence, you can use it for ten years before you need to renew it. You won’t be allowed to use your licence once you hit 70 years.

Avoid Having To Take Driving Tests

If you are new to the UK and would like to drive, know you could avoid sitting for the theory and practice exam depending on where you come from. People immigrating from non-EU nations must go through the whole process before getting a legal DL from DVLA UK. However, if you are from the EU (or one of the participating countries), you can change your EU licence to the UK one online or via post.