i've been living in uk for one year now and i would like to buy a used car. Since i don't even now whom should i ask for such information, do i need to do something with my license car in order to drive here in uk before my purchase?

I don't remember but maybe i've read somewhere that maybe the italian license could be valid for one year, this is why im asking.

Other question... except the insurance what other documentation i need to be sure i don't receive any fine while i drive in uk?

3 Answers 3


Your Italian licence is valid to drive in the UK until it expires. You can exchange it at any time for a UK licence, but this is not obligatory. You can see this at https://www.gov.uk/exchange-foreign-driving-licence/y/yes/car-or-motorcycle/european-union.

In order to drive in the UK, you will need to pay VED (Vehicle Excise Duty or "car tax") and ensure the car has a valid MOT (technical check), as well as insurance. You also need to have your driving licence and the vehicle registration papers, however you don't need to carry these while you are driving (you can present them at a police station within 7 days if required). Further information about the MOT is available at https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot, and information about VED is available at https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/car-tax-discs.

  • Is there some kind of difference? I mean have a uk license entails some particular advantage? Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 17:38
  • 2
    The only advantage might be that some insurers may only provide cover if you have a UK issued licence - although this shouldn't be the case, I have seen from getting quotes in other EU countries that having a "local" licence brings back more quotes. The other reason you might need to change your licence is if you commit a traffic offence and get points put on your licence as a punishment. Another consideration is that as the UK has no ID card system, driving licences serve as de facto ID, so if you don't have any other photo ID, getting a UK driving licence might come in useful.
    – Edd
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 19:24

If you're intent on staying in the UK long-term, I would recommend taking out the UK licence regardless of any UK licences you might already have. While you can use your Italian licence as much as you like, until it expires (provided it's one of the new card EU licences, as opposed to any old form you country might have used before), some things are more complicated with a non-UK licence. One example is given by Edd in the comment to his answer; another is what happened to me when applied for Zipcar membership -- my Croatian licence (in the card form) was issued less then a year before, and they wanted me to provide them with a written confirmation that I have actually had the licence for the past 30 years.

Then I lost my licence card, and I wasn't able to get one in Croatia at all as I have registered as a resident in the UK, so I took out the UK one, and now I regularly use Zipcar. :-)

  • 1
    As a practical difference, if you are caught speeding, you may be offered points on your license and/or a fine instead of appearing in court; but if you have no UK license, it will go to court. Much more inconvenient and expensive.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 20:18

Your car must be registered with you as the owner so you pay your car tax every year (around £150, depending on the car), but the seller of the car will insist on this anyway, unless they are stupid.

In addition, you need an MOT once a year, and you are responsible for that, and you need car insurance.

  • Whar's the name of the tax? What do you mean that the seller will insist? Why he shouldn't insist? Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 8:21
  • If you buy a car, it will be currently registered to the seller. It stays registered to the seller until it is registered to your name. If you don't register the car, the seller will keep paying road tax. Obviously he or she will insist on you registering the car. Together with the paper that shows the car is registered in your name you get a paper to fill out when you sell the car (the seller will make you fill out this form) and a paper to fill out if you stop using the car.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 21:02
  • Out of curiosity is the registration mandatory? The dealer i've met so far didn't have all the car registered to their name. The excuse was the avoid of increse of the former car owner Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 18:18

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