I'm an UK resident and thinking about buying car and of course insure it. I have an EU driving licence. In terms of insurance, will that have a negative impact? Should I exchange it for a UK licence?

  • I mean Europe, in this case, Portugal. Nov 8, 2014 at 15:49
  • And if I do exchange to a UK licence, will I be considered has a first time driver and for that be penalized? I have 16 years experience. Nov 8, 2014 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


Insurance companies can decide what to penalise or not. The best way to figure out what your quote would be whether you have a full UK or just a full EEA licence is to get a quote for both of them and compare the prices.

As I had the same question in mind as well I did check a few (usually cheap) insurance companies about their price by checking how much it would be if I have a full UK and how much will it be if I have a full EEA licence. In the end, the quote did not change for me at all. Now, this is just some personal observation, so the best thing you could do is to also check whether you'd be better off with exchanging your licence or not. Generally just for insurance purposes, it shouldn't matter at all (there might be EU/EEA laws involved why they have the same price, but I'm not sure)

However there are also some other stuff you need to be aware:

  • You can only exhange your Portugal licence, if you have obtained that licence in Portugal, and not via an exchange from another country, like Brazil. In the latter case you can only drive with that licence for a year after which you need to do the exam again, practically becoming a first time driver again. There are some countries (called designated countries) which are exempt from this rule though. If you did pass your driving test in one of these, you don't need to re-take the exam.
  • Once your licence is past it's original validity and you are still a UK resident, you cannot extend the validity of your Portugal licence (as you can only do that if you are a Portugal resident), you have to exchange it to a UK one. By exchanging it you will autmatically get a new validity date (usually 10 years). You will still keep your accrued driving years, as that time is determined from the time you passed your driving test and not from the time you exchanged your licence.
  • The new licence you get will be dated from the day you got your driving licence, and will also be marked as "exchanged". For example if you exchanged a Portugal licence, you will see "70P" as a comment, meaning that the driving licence test was actually passed in Portugal. If you had exchanged your licence multiple times, it would always show the originating country, e.g. where you got your licence.

Also note that if you have an insurance in portugal you might also try to move your No Claims Bonus from Portugal to your new insurance in the UK. This doesn't work with all insurance companies, so you might want to talk to them whether they accept the Portugal bonus or not. If they do however, that can benefit the initial premioum on your quote

  • Thank you so much. That was really very helpful, specially the "move No Claims Bonus". Nov 8, 2014 at 16:50
  • I challenge being able to move no claims bonus from Portugal (or anywhere else) if it does not apply to the 12 months immediately prior to application. See the pertinent section on the Uswitch.com website.
    – Jay K.
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:00
  • @JayK. we managed to move 1 year of bonus from Hungary, although that was 6 years ago. Brexit would definitely make this likely not a viable route anymore.
    – SztupY
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:44

An important aspect and benefit of having a UK license in the UK: Should you be caught speeding, and you have a UK license, then you can accept a fixed penalty notice. If you don't have a UK license, you will have to go to court which will be more inconvenient and more expensive.

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