I have two licenses:

  • A full not expired Omani (foreign) licence that I have owned for 5 years.
  • A full not expired UK one I got by passing my test 1 month ago. I did this because a UK resident isn't allowed to use a foreign licence after 12 months.

Renting a car with most companies in the UK requires you to have had a licence for at least 1 year. My UK licence doesn't meet this requirement but Omani one does. Conversely my Omani one isn't legal to drive with (as I am resident for more than 12 months) but my UK one is.

My questions are:

  1. Can I rent a car in the UK with my Omani Licence and if police stops me I show my UK licence as proof?
  2. Will I be insured? I am worried my insurance is on my Omani Licence which is illegal to drive with since it's been 12 months residency so if I ever try and claim they will say I wasn't insured on my UK licence.
  3. If I won't be insured from question 2, can I buy insurance against my UK licence so even if I hired a car using my Omani licence which invalidates the insurance provided by the car rental company I will still be covered by this new insurance I got? Normal insurances require you to give the car's number plate beforehand so not sure how this would work for car hire or if there even is a service like this available.

Do note that when talking to some companies like Hertz they basically said they will book on my Omani one and not put in the records I own a UK one or that my Omani one is invalid since I'm a resident, this is why I am most worried about whether I am insured or illegally driving with no insurance!

  • 3
    +1, a great question which needs lots of exposure. People sometimes get cavalier about car insurance and it leads to horrible problems. Let's hope this question generates some quality answers.
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 16, 2015 at 14:17
  • Flagged for migration to Expats.
    – JoErNanO
    Oct 16, 2015 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


I would say that you are quite possibly breaking law the twice.

The rules are quite clear around driving licences and in your case you have done the correct thing by applying for a GB driving licence.

Although your Omani driving licence may still be valid; according to the DVLA it is no longer a valid licence to drive in the UK as you have been a resident for over 12 months. This means that if you would not be able to use it to hire a car.

You also cannot hire a car using your GB issued licence as you need to have held it for a minimum of 12 months.

If you were to hire a car using you Omani licence you would be breaking the law as you'd be driving without a valid licence. As you do not have a valid drivers licence to hire a car with, you would be breaking the law again as your insurance would not be valid; and you'd be driving without proper insurance.

If you hired a car on your GB licence you would be driving a hire car in breach of the Terms and Conditions of your rental company. Whilst not breaking UK driving law, I wouldn't recommend doing this.

I'm afraid you will have to wait 11 months to hire a car. Your options are to

  • purchase a car along with MOT and proper insurance using your GB issued licence
  • borrow a car from a friend as and when you need, ensuring that you are placed on their insurance as a named driver (their premiums will increase as a result of this)

You could always call round various car hire companies and see what their policy is. I believe some hire companies do not have a minimum requirement.

  • 1
    +1, I like the list of options. Of course the OP can purchase a clunker, but who would have considered it? v nice. Adding... the 12 month requirement is a law? Would you please add the link to the relevant legislation?
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 16, 2015 at 14:19
  • The assumption that the 12 month requirement is a UK law is the basis of this answer, which gives a very severe judgment, and I think that assumption is incorrect.
    – dan1111
    Nov 4, 2016 at 16:42
  • I don't think the minimum of 12 months is a UK law, but you are right that Omani licence is lawfully wrong now and since car hire insurance will be against my Omani licence it means I also don't have insurance for the only valid licence which is the UK licence. Marking this as the right answer since basically I should have to wait for a year to hire a car legally using my UK licence.
    – Molten Ice
    Nov 4, 2016 at 16:52
  • I have edited my answer to clarify the breaking of a law Nov 4, 2016 at 17:04

I would talk to the rental companies about this.

Having a UK license you are allowed to drive, so no problem there. The issue is whether the rental company will rent a car to you. That is entirely down to the terms and conditions of the rental company, and they are going to be different from company to company. It may well come down to the exact wording of the small print.

  • 2
    This is not the same quality as your usual stuff. It's clear the OP is licensed to drive in the UK, that much is stated in his premise, and of course policies differ from company to company. Can you please flesh this out a bit more and ping me so I can up vote you? Thanks!
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 16, 2015 at 14:26
  • I think my point is that whether he can rent a car or not will depend on the individual company rules, so it's impossible to give a general Yes or No answer. Oct 16, 2015 at 14:33
  • The thread starter has had a valid driving license for 5 years, but he has his currently valid driving license only for a month. So you would need to read terms and conditions carefully to figure out if he meets them or not.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 6, 2016 at 23:54

I had no problem renting a car from multiple different UK agencies in equivalent circumstances.

After newly obtaining a UK licence, after many years of holding a US one, I was immediately able to hire a car.

You need to present your UK licence, as this is the one that allows you to legally drive in country.

Also bring your other licence to provide evidence that you have held a valid licence for more than a year, in case they question this. They never did with me, though.

Of course, if your plans depend on being able to have a car, it wouldn't hurt to check ahead of time with the rental company and make sure it is ok.

Note: as I understand it the 12 month requirement is simply rental car policy, not UK law.

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