UK Driving Licence For International Students | A Guide

Written by Alifya Khambati

Having earned a Masters degree in Advertising, Alifya has had her fair share of opportunities in the commerce sector, only to figure out that writing is her calling. Giving wings to this passion, she pens content for UniAcco.

August 2, 2022

Want to drive to university while studying in the United Kingdom? We are writing this blog to take you through the process of obtaining a UK driving licence for international students pursuing university in the country. 

The UK is a country with renowned universities peppered across the country where students from hundreds of countries over the world strive to fulfil their dreams of higher education. Being a large country, it is sometimes tough to find accommodation close to the university one is enrolled. Students in the UK always rely on public transport, cycling or walking to get to university or other places in their city. What comes as a boon is a car of their own that makes travel convenient, efficient and right at your fingertips. While many students possess a driving licence registered in their home country, there will come a point when they will require one for driving in the UK. To help such students, we have explained the requirements, procedure, test prep and more to obtain a UK driving licence for international students.

Requirements For UK Driving Licence For International Students

Driving in the country is not as daunting as all the procedures make it seem but there are certain rules and regulations that have to be abided by. Some of the must-haves to freely drive anywhere across the UK are:

  • A valid current driving licence
  • Must be covered by insurance
  • The vehicle used must be registered in the owner’s name
  • The vehicle used must have a valid road tax

Driving without a licence in the country or driving with an invalid one is regarded as a criminal offence in the UK and has the potential to invalidate one’s car insurance. 

Below listed are the legal requirements to obtain a UK driving licence for international students:

  • One has to be above the age of 17
  • Should be able to read a licence plate from 20 metres away
  • Should furnish proof of residency in the country for 6 months within the past 12 months

Generally, students studying in the country can drive with a valid driving licence from their own country provided valid driving licences are recognised by the UK or an international driving permit. The list of countries whose driving licence is recognised in the country before applying for the UK driving licence for international students are:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Zimbabwe

Whether or not one possesses a valid driving licence from their country, they are applicable to apply for a provisional driving licence in the UK upon residing in the country for 6 months. 

Documents Required For UK Driving Licence

Applying for a UK provisional driving licence for international students is the first step towards driving a vehicle in the country. One has to apply for the provisional licence through the DVLA website which is an easy and timely process. Applying online costs £34 and there are a variety of payment options available on the website. The documents required to obtain a UK driving licence for international students are listed as follows:

  • Identification such as passport
  • Addresses lived at for the past 3 years
  • Contact information

There is an optional extra step of providing one’s National Insurance Number (NIN) which helps in ID verification but is not mandatory all the same. 

Unless one possesses a British passport, they are required to mail their identification documents along with a passport-style photograph and a return envelope to the DVLA office as part of the procedure to obtain a driving licence. 

The Test For International Student Driving Licence UK

The test for the UK driving licence for international students is divided into the theory test and the practical test. 

The theory test requires one to have knowledge spanning three books namely, The Highway Code, Know Your Traffic Signs, and Driving – The Essential Skills. They can be found at the nearest bookshop and the best way to prep is to sign up for mock tests which helps better understand and familiarise oneself with the test pattern. Upon satisfactory completion of one’s preparation, a session can be booked on the DVLA website and provide your provisional driving licence details and pay £23 as part of the process. 

Next comes the practical test. One can choose to learn driving with either a family member or friend provided they meet certain requirements stated on the DVLA website or book a driving instructor certified by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (VSA). One has to make sure that the vehicle they are learning on is insured and has two Ls, one on the front and one on the rear side of the car. Finally, one can end up booking a test slot on the website and fill out theirs as well as their instructor’s details and select a place and time for the test. Upon paying £62 for the practical test process, one will be intimated regarding the details of the test for the UK driving licence for international students. 

If you found this blog on “UK Driving Licence For International Students | A Guide” an informative read, make sure to check out other blogs from us.

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