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Applying for a UK Driver's Licence

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by IAMBOG, Aug 1, 2015.


    IAMBOG New commenter

    I had an original pink paper UK/EU driver's licence, but lost it sometime in the last couple of years. However, I do have a photocopy of it and the number. I was going to go to the post office and apply for a new photo card, but it seems you need to be resident in the UK to apply. My original licence is valid until 2036. Should I even bother updating it? I'm assuming the original is still valid.

    Any thoughts / experience?
  2. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    I am not sure how 'valid' your old licence is, as I assume the address on it is not longer correct. Also, for international purposes, you usually need both parts of a UK driving licence.

    If you have a UK address and your passport is less than 5 years old, you can do the whole thing online. They capture your passport photo directly just using the number and hey presto, you pay, they deliver.
  3. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter


    IAMBOG New commenter

    So, how do UK expats get around this?

    Paper copy may be invalid. Can't get a new version because you have to be resident. What have others done? I don't think I can actually get a licence in my current country of residence and foreigners don't drive here. Not really comfortable declaring myself resident and that may make things more complicated. My original licence says it's valid until 2036.

    Fortunately I have a driver's licence from a third country too, so it's not a huge deal, but I like to update all my paperwork when I'm home in the summer. Perhaps his one just needs to be left alone.
  5. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    I thought the pink paper part of license became invalid some years ago.
  6. WaylonWu

    WaylonWu Established commenter

    It's also harder to hire a car now as the photo licence is no longer enough.
  7. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    As op's have said, you will need a UK address to make any changes to your current licence. I use my parents address and they open my mail and field any phone calls but if your'e not comfortable with that then you don't have many options.

    As your current licence doesn't run out till 2036 and in most countries the local officials don't know what a UK licence looks like or how to read one, it shouldn't be an issue.

    The problem will come if you return to the UK and want to hire a car, or god forbid, you commit a traffic offence, then you may have some questions to answer.
  8. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Not having updated my old paper license in recent years I have hired cars and driven in the UK using an overseas license. You can check here www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence, but should be able to use your third country license until one year after you next become resident in the UK.
  9. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

  10. IAMBOG

    IAMBOG New commenter

    I've been out of the UK since 1998. I had the UK paper one up until a couple of years ago (the address on it is my parent's house. They've been living in the same house 50 years), but it seems to have gone missing in transit somewhere. My third country licence is also possibly dubious, because I also don't live in that country either and the address is my mother-in-law's. I'm in China now. Not many foreigners driving here, not even sure if they can.

    So, it seems I am not entirely legal anywhere, even though I possess two licences and have been driving for 25 years. Never had so much as a speeding ticket. Oh well, back off to China next week, where this will become a non-issue for another year.
  11. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Oh foreigners can drive in China IAMBOG but as you say, not many do, and for very good reasons; mainly to do with the expense and the complete lack of any kind of road rules, which make it a right royal pain in the neck.
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Mrs Hippopotamus and I are now proud owners of Bulgarian driving licences. Our out-of-date UK licences were all we needed (apart from our Bulgarian residence cards) to get the BG licences.

    Why would anyone want to drive a car in China? It adds a new meaning to the old Prayer Book phrase about "the quick and the dead".
  13. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    The old paper bit is no longer valid (but don't throw it away just in case) and the plastic ID part has to be renewed every 10 years - dead easy to do online if you have a current biometric passport

    The new system involves going onto the DVLA website and getting a pin number which was valid for 3 days only (but i think they've changed that). You need your National Insurance number and a UK address

    So far, so good you might think

    In July, when the new system came into play, I flew back to the UK having spent 3 days trying to get onto the DVLA website without success. "No problem", says the lovely lady at Europacar. We'll just check your address on the Electoral Roll"

    Caught! I have my old dear's address down for my licence but I don't live there. So no car

    I went to Avis and got a car no problem (and then proceeded to write it off but that's another story)
  14. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Updated my licence last year having discovered the plastic card was about to expire. Filled in the forms and sent it via a friend, paying for them to send it to me overseas. Arrived in the post the following month. Another ten years sorted.

    My biggest concern may be being around for the mandatory test if I reach a certain age in retirement. However, one may suggest if I'm still overseas at that time, I'll probably have thrown a few notes the way of the local police, the standard policy out here, and got myself a local licence.
  15. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    bigfatgit you could have told them your name wasn't on the open register.
  16. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    A friend had a similar problem last year - she sent her licence to the DVLA by post for renewal and for a while they refused to even send it back to her as she was not resident, let alone renew it. We're in France. Eventually she got it back but I don't know if they renewed it for her or what she did after that. She does drive here though.

    Husband works in the field of EU justice and has found the relevant documentation, which says only the authority of the country where you are resident can renew the licence. The DVLA therefore has nothing to do with it. This, however, essentially involves exchanging your licence for an equivalent licence from the country concerned (my aunt and uncle, who also live in France, did this).

    However, of course this only applies if you are in the EU. No idea about other places - sorry.

    As for me, I have a French licence, so I haven't run into any problems with this for now!
  17. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    It's the Same in Spain, Angelil, except to add that after a certain amount of time as a resident in Spain you MUST exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one in order to drive legally. (I think the time period is 6 months but don´t quote me.)

    I was told this by the police during a random breath test earlier this year. The policeman was very polite as he warned me to get it changed immediately, which I have done.

    As an aside, what is the European Union for if it isn't to make member country licences valid in other member states? My 'new' licence is practically identical to my 'old' one, exccept it has an 'E' in the blue flag instead of 'UK'. And there is no 'paper part' to Spanish licences.
  18. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Although technically you need to be resident i was told just need an address so just use a relative.

    Although it is usually cheaper to rent a car in UK with a foreign license. 1/3rd cheaper in my case so don't ever use my UK license but keep just in case.

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