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I'm a UK citizen but haven't been a resident there for ten years.

I passed my driving test in Thailand. Can I use my Thai license when I visit the UK for holidays. I spend only 30 days or so in the UK each year.

According to the questionnaire on gov.uk, I can. However I'm not sure if the questionnaire correctly takes into account visitors who are UK citizens, since citizenship is not mentioned on the questionnaire.

The results of this questionnaire are below:

Result from gov.uk

  • If an accident were to happen, I wouldn't feel super happy about using screenshots from the internet as evidence. – Kit Johnson Apr 17 '18 at 6:16
  • I take the opposite view because that shot is from the official government website. The asker does meet the definition of a visitor: they don't live in the UK. Do remember to check insurance terms. – user16259 Apr 17 '18 at 13:01
  • @user16259 confusion might arise because the person is not a visitor for the purpose of immigration law. However, "visitor" status or any other is typically determined differently for different purpose, and the online questionnaire clearly implies that citizenship is only relevant for students. – phoog Apr 17 '18 at 14:48
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I have lived in Thailand for 14 years, and my UK driving licence expired in about 2010. In 2014 (my UK licence was well and truly expired by then), I visited the UK and was able to hire a car using my Thai driving licence. I had gone to the trouble of getting an International Driving Permit in Bangkok, just in case there would be any problems from not having one, but was informed that the IDP mostly serves as a translation of a foreign licence into several languages, including English.

Since my Thai licence has 'Driving Licence' written on it as well as 'ใบอนุญาตขับขี่' the person at the hire company said that I did not need the IDP.

So I was able to hire a car and drive in the UK, using my Thai driving licence, as a UK non-resident citizen visiting the UK.

For absolute peace of mind, you might want to consider getting an International Driving Permit as well, but as long as your non-UK licence has English on it you should not need an IDP.

  • As a follow up: the reason "citizenship is not mentioned on the questionnaire [on the government website]" is that citizenship is not relevant to driving licenses. It's the same reason that the questionnaire doesn't mention your eye colour. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 23 '18 at 14:08
  • We are both UK citizens resident in Germany with German driving licenses. Works fine in the UK. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 23 '18 at 14:09

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