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Renewing UK driving licence

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by norwichred, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    So I've done some preliminary research into this and it doesn't look good - but hoping some of you may have more direct experience.

    I'm a UK citizen currently living / working / stuck in Kuwait due to Covid 19.

    My wife is a Hungarian citizen with IDLR in UK and eligible to apply for citizenship but hasn't done so yet due to Covid. She's stuck in Hungary with the children, again due to Covid.

    My licence is OK until 2024 but her UK licence is due for renewal.

    When I go to look, the very first thing it wants is a UK passport and a UK address. And proof of address.

    Neither of us have lived in UK for a year now, but we do have a UK address on our joint account (it's my sisters address).

    Is there a way of renewing the licences does anyone know?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    You can only get a GB driving licence if you are normally resident in the UK - which means living there for more than 185 days in each calendar year. So, by my understanding, your wife is not eligible to renew her GB licence (and neither will you be, if you are still living abroad in 2024).

    I found this information in the DVLA guidance notes for filling out the licence renewal form: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/requ...ach/6/FOIR4115 INF1D.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1
  3. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Interesting. And worrying. How do people get around this? Or do they just not drive when in the UK? Or do they nip home to renew it and pretend? :D
  4. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I'm sure i renewed mine online and the only issue was the question, "are you a UK resident?" To which I answered.....yes.

    I find the best policy is to acquire as many drivers licenses as possible. I have three. Can you get one in Kuwait?
  5. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Yes I have one in Kuwait (not an easy thing to do :D ) and my wife has a Hungarian one....but doubt you could drive on either in the UK. I may be wrong....

    I’m sure you could probably just....cough.....lie and get away with it same as I did to get an NHS Covid test before I came back here.
    Just wondered if that would definitely work.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I have relatives in that position who keep a UK address (address of a friend) and I rather suspect that's exactly what they do. Renew claiming that's their UK address and they are UK resident. As I'm sure that's not actually legal I have never asked too much....

    AIUI from a discussion on another thread on here recently the law says the DVLA cannot issue or renew a driving licence to someone who is not resident in the UK. I imagine there's a load of legal definitions in the Road Traffic Act as to exactly what that means, but in practice if you can't provide a UK address the DVLA website page for renewing online terminates your application before you can even submit it.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Mrs. Hippopotamus and her overweight husband are "non-resident for the purposes of taxation", to use the HMRC's rather ponderous phrase. Therefore we assumed that the DVLA would be able to check this for themselves, so we never bothered to get our UK licences renewed. Fortunately we were able to exchange our Qatari licences for Bulgarian ones. You can drive in the UK with a BG licence.

    Some years ago, the Police in the UK told me that it is a criminal offence to claim that you live in the UK, when in fact you are "non-resident".
  8. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey New commenter

    I did it when I lived in another country. I just did it all on line and picked the licence up when I went home. I don't think MI6 are going to be knocking on your door.
    Helen-Back likes this.
  9. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Mine ran out last year and I went to try and renew it online, but it was through the gov.uk site, which is the same site as you have your tax details. As I’m non resident for tax, I didn’t dare tick the box for yes...so I now have a driving licence from a rather obscure country. No idea about driving in the UK on it, but the Spanish car hire firm we’re fine with it.
  10. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    When I left the UK, over 30 years ago, I set up my parents address as my home address, since then everything has gone to that address; tax, pension, investments, bank accounts, credit cards, driving license, etc. etc. I pick stuff up when I return to visit them or they phone me with details if its urgent. It has worked seamlessly with bills, renewals, everything! So far!!
    Helen-Back likes this.
  11. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    I looked into this several years go and the result was that I couldn't, as I have no UK address to list. I didn't actually need to renew as it had an expiry date of 2047, but it was the big green piece of paper one and I wanted to get a picture one as trying to rent cars with a massive and sellotaped piece of paper was always 'fun'.

    Anyway, without a UK address it was no dice, unfortunately.

    My workaround solution has been to exchange the piece of paper licence for a Swiss licence, that has no expiry date and that I'll 'forget' to hand back when I leave. They did send the green paper one back to the DVLA, which was unexpected, so unless I ever live back in the UK I guess a UK licence is gone foreveer.
  12. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey New commenter

    They always send them back. If you move to the uk then you hand in your current licence and they will give you a uk licence. I exchanged mine for a Romanian license just recently. When I go back to the uk I will just exchange it for a uk one. I think it is so that if you were banned from driving you could not use a second licence.
  13. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I assume you have a valid Kuwaiti Driving Licence?

    Use it to get an International Driving Permit to use in the UK.


    Kuwait International Automobile Club is authorised by the Ministry of Interior - Traffic Department to issue International Driving Permits (IDP) according to the club's membership in the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

    For inquiries, Tel.: 24827521
  14. moo cow

    moo cow New commenter

    If you are hiring a car in the uk it is actually easier to do it with a foreign license than with a uk license.
    I have never need an international permit, just a license and passport.
  15. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    moo cow, I agree - the last time I did with my UK licence I had to provide proof of address, but eventually convinced them to accept my address registered with Amazon as a delivery address!

    Technically, you're supposed to only use the licence of the country where you are resident. That said, here in the Middle Kingdom, where they seem to put more importance on reciting the theory of driving rather than the practical ability of it, if you're in one of the major cities you only have to do the theory test (though it's difficult - 95 correct out of 100 questions from a bank of about 2000). Fortunately I still have my parents address where my bank account is sent and I'm still on the voters roll!
  16. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Looks like you might have a temporary reprieve though (from the DVLA website) -


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