If you have a valid Australian driving licence and intend on becoming a UK resident or intend on visiting the UK, detailed is whether an Australian driving licence is valid in the UK and if it can be exchanged for a UK licence if you intend on becoming a resident.
Australia is one of the UK’s designated countries. A valid driving licence from a designated country permits driving on UK roads.
Great Britain residents
An individual with a full and valid Australian driving licence who has become a UK resident can drive in Great Britain for up to 12 months from becoming a resident.
The Australian driving licence must be exchanged for a UK licence after 12 months in order to continue to drive from the date in which you became resident. For the validity of the exchange process, the Australian licence must be exchanged within five years of becoming a UK resident.
Great Britain visitors
A Great Britain visitor can use their full, and valid Australian driving licence to drive small vehicles such as a car or motorcycle for 12 months from when you last entered Great Britain.
Foreigners studying in Great Britain
As Australia is a designated country, an individual studying in Great Britain may drive on a full and valid Australian driving licence for 12 months. You can also apply to exchange it for a Great Britain driving licence up to five years after becoming a GB resident.
If you do not have a driving licence, you will first need to apply for a GB provisional driving licence. You can then take a driving test and if passed, receive a full driving licence once you have been in Great Britain for a minimum of six months.
Driving in the UK
Just as Australia, motorists in the UK drive on the left with the steering wheel situated on the right inside vehicles. Driving in the UK compared to Australia is similar. Whilst driving in the UK however, you may notice some differences.
Speed limit signage in Australia is displayed in kilometres per hour (km/h) compared to UK speed limit signs that are displayed as miles per hour (mph). Actual speed limits compared to those in the UK also differ depending on the territory. In the UK however, the same system is used throughout.
Undertaking in most circumstances is legal in Australia, although in the UK it is generally prohibited except on a few situations. If you feel uncertain or nervous in regards to driving on UK roads, driving instructors often help foreign drivers by use of a short refresher driving lesson. There are many driving instructors in the UK and a short driving course will aid in improving your confidence and become accustomed to UK roads.
Exchanging Australian driving licence for UK driving licence
Providing you are a UK resident and hold a valid and full Australian driving licence, you can exchange your licence for a GB licence for up to five years since you became a resident. A fee will apply.
Driving licence foreign country codes
If you have exchanged your Australian driving licence for a GB driving licence, the foreign country code AUS will appear in the information section of your new licence. For further information on the various codes and categories and their meanings, see driving licence explained for further information.