Do I need to have a driving license issued by the DVLA in United Kingdom if I am a permanent resident there?

What are the implications if I do not change to UK driving license?

  • Please raise your questions about fines in a separate question. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:34
  • Surely a polish licence cannot be valid when a resident in the uk as the licence will have a polish address on it. A uk national has to renew a licence if they have a change of address or name change.
    – user2094
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 16:25
  • Yet, it's the law (and conversely UK licenses are valid elsewhere in the EU). Most licenses in Europe have no address at all on them anyway… Polish licenses do seem to have one, though.
    – Gala
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:41
  • This question was posed pre Brexit. The rules have since changed. The UK is now a non-European country and all residents (anyone living 185+ days p.a.) will need to hold a UK licence to own and insure a car. Use the official UK Government website to check status: gov.uk/exchange-foreign-driving-licence
    – Piglet
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 12:46

4 Answers 4


According to the Gov.UK website, as an EU national:

You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence until you’re 70, or for 3 years after becoming resident in Great Britain, whichever is longer

The exception to this is if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence. In that case you can only use it for the first 12 months of residency before you must exchange it for a UK licence. If the licence you exchanged for an EU licence was not from a "designated country" then you'll need to take a UK driving exam to get a UK driving licence after the first 12 months.

  • And also not all non-EU licences that were changed to an EU licence can be changed to an UK licence. For example if you have a Venezualean driving licence that was changed to a Spanish one, you cannot change that to a UK one later, you have to do a new driving test.
    – SztupY
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:30

You can keep your own license as long as it is valid or the validity period in your new country of residence (what ever comes first). When you have to renew you license, you have to renew it the country of residence. Full details of the EU license see the following link. Excerpt:

If you move to another country, you can drive there with your current licence as long as it remains valid.

You can have your licence renewed (or exchanged from a licence issued by another country) only by the authorities of the country where you are residence.

They will exchange your original driving licence for a local one. You will then be subject to the same rules as nationals of that country regarding validity periods, medical checks and so on.

  • My Polish driving license expiration date is: - :)
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 9:58

Poland is part of the European Union, as such you can drive any type of vehicle listed on your full and valid licence.

  • Thank you. But what implications does this have. Where do my fines, if any go? How are my points calcualted, etc. Sorry that is what I meant. Udpated question
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:06
  • 2
    That is not entirely true. After a certain amount of time you need to change it for a UK license, but initially you are indeed okay.
    – Andra
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:19

It is simple to check what is valid for everyone personally via this tool https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence provided online.

The answer to your question is given as:

You can drive in Great Britain on a full, valid driving licence from an EU country.

You can drive in Great Britain until you’re 70. If you’re 67 or over when you become resident, you can drive for 3 years. After this time you must exchange your licence. You do not have to retake your test.

You can only drive in Great Britain with a non-EU licence for 12 months after you arrive.

That is ambivalent because it refers to 67-70 year old licence holders in relation to three years, but the header flatly states you can drive with an EU licence.

Stack exchange requires a flat factual reponse to questions, but the fact is that a driving licence fulfills several roles beyond proving you have been certified fit to drive motorised vehicle(s). A driving license lists a lot of personal information which proves your identity and place of residence in official situations beyond traffic mishaps (to police and other road users in accidents, etc.)

All the information on a current driving licence must be factually correct for that licence to be valid, As soon as any information changes that licence becomes technically invalid, irrespective of which licencing authority issed the licence.

An EU License will not show the current UK address. Your Polish licence is technically invalid because (1) you no longer live at that Polish address (2) it does not list your UK address as place of residence.

In the absence of a UK Identity Card, a UK Driving License is used in many everyday situations such as accessing a public public service like a library, hiring/buying, insuring and taxing a car, and saves you having to show your passport and other papers to identify yourself in some situations. I was recently unable to hire a car without a current UK licence which had to be electronically verified by the DVLA. There are several pressing reasons for becoming a British driving licence holder whilst living and working in the UK. It is worth noting that some rules and procedures are different for residents in Northern Ireland.

You are only able to own, insure and tax a vehicle as a GB resident and a valid GB driving licence is required by insurers. Your driving history is assessed using insurance, DVLA and DVSA (previously DSA + VOSA) records. All your records are accessible online, but you need a British driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode to do so.

Sentimental attachment to a driving licence aside, acquiring a licence as soon as possible is a simple procedure most painless part of the integration process! It simplifies life considerably!

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