So, I came to the UK on a visitor visa in October of this year. But since COVID happened, we were allowed to apply for my spouse visa with me still in the country, so I didn't have to leave. We are currently waiting for that to come through. My question is: Does the 12 months I'm allowed to drive on my US license start from the date I came to the UK on my visitor's visa, or will it start on the date they approve my spouse visa? I cannot find any information on this and I need to figure this out.

  • Speaking from harsh experience, if I were you, I would go ahead and get a UK license while you still can drive. I'm guessing you've already passed the six month mark (think you meant October 2020 - last year). Don't leave it any longer no matter what else is going on.
    – ouflak
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


It is from the day your residency physically began in the UK. The DVLA, in general, doesn't have anything to do with visas or status, and likely knows nothing about that. Their rules are separate.

  • 2
    Also take into consideration that these new drivers licenses often take some time to produce, so applying earlier than strictly necessary may also have it's advantages. Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 8:39
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    You’ve effectively been living in the UK since October, albeit initially as a visitor. The 12 months starts from the date you first arrived. askthe.police.uk/content/Q417.htm so don’t delay applying. In early June the average wait for practical tests was reported as just under 14 weeks - compared to seven weeks pre-Covid. For theory tests the average wait was 4.6 weeks in England and Wales, 16 weeks in Scotland.
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 9:14

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