Foreign Drivers

We frequently represent clients who are not citizens of the UK. Our legal system and licence requirements differ significantly from most foreign countries, even the closest of our European neighbours.

Interpretation Services

If you do not speak English, we can arrange interpretation services.

We are more than happy to accommodate any specific language needs of all of our clients. If you require any specific requirements that are not already catered for on this site, please contact us by telephone to discuss these.

Foreign Driving Licences

If you hold an international driving licence you are unable to take advantage of fixed penalties commonly offered by the police in relation to speeding and other offences. This is because the police are not able to endorse foreign driving licences and so you will be summonsed to court to be dealt with there.

If you are summonsed to court and plead guilty or are convicted after trial the number of penalty points that have been imposed by the court will be stored on a record held of you at DVLA. These points will count towards “totting up” and if you later exchange your foreign licence for a UK licence they will appear on your new licence.

Drivers who hold EU licences:

If you hold a licence which is issued by an EC country, and are resident here, you may drive here, on your EC licence, provided that it remains valid. You are able to drive within the UK until aged 70 or for 3 years after becoming resident here whichever is the longer period. However, while driving on your EC licence you must comply with the same health and fitness requirements as those imposed on holders of UK driving licences.

You may exchange your EC licence for a full UK driving licence. However, a full licence cannot be issued unless you are normally resident in the UK and therefore you must normally live here and have occupational or personal ties. If you are vocational driver from an EC country you must register with DVLA within 12 months of becoming resident.

Drivers from designated countries (Non-EC) and Gibraltar:

If you come from Australia, Cyprus, Kenya, British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan, Barbados, Singapore, Malta, Gibraltar, Zimbabwe and Canada and hold a full licence issued by one of these countries you may drive here for 1 year under your own licence. Thereafter, you may exchange it for a full valid UK car, motorcycle or moped licence.

Drivers from Northern Ireland:

You may generally exchange a full car, motorcycle or moped licence for a full UK licence or may use your current Northern Ireland licence here until it expires.

Drivers from any other country:

If you do not hold a licence issued by the EC or a designated country (listed above) you are unable to exchange your licence for a full UK licence. However, you are able to drive here using your current full foreign licence, or International Driving Permit, for up to 1 year. Thereafter you will need to apply for a provisional UK licence and comply with its conditions. If you fail to do so you may be prosecuted for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and may even find that your insurance is also not valid because of this.

Disqualification and foreign drivers:

If you are disqualified by a court in England and Wales you are unable to drive here during the currency of your ban. If you were to do so you would commit an offence of driving whilst disqualified and could be sentenced to a maximum 6 month term of imprisonment.

However, you may drive on any valid international permit or licence outside the UK as your disqualification only prevents you from driving here. If you no longer hold a valid international licence you will be unable to drive in your home country in accordance with their Laws.

How can XALC help you from here?

Please take your time to browse through this site and to look at our video interviews with previous clients if you have not done so already.

If you would like to ask us more specific questions about how we may be able to assist you with your case, we are happy to communicate with you in via the 3 options listed below. WE DO NOT CHARGE FOR THE INITIAL ENQUIRY.

  1. Call us for a "no strings" chat on freephone 08000 85 27 84
  2. Email us via our contact us page
  3. Or simply email us for a call back by leaving your own name and contact number