Australian Driving Licence in UK

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.

UK Driving Licence. Note: This UK driving licence contains fictional information
UK Driving Licence. Note: This UK driving licence contains fictional information

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.

168 thoughts on “Australian Driving Licence in UK”

  1. Zara Jes

    I am a holder of an Australian Driving Licence and have resided in the UK for 6 years. I am not a UK resident and will not be in the future. Am I still able to drive using my Australian Driving Licence. If not, am I allowed to apply for a UK driving licence despite not being a resident?

  2. Hello Zara,
    The DVLA states that you’re usually defined as a UK resident if you have a permanent address in Great Britain that you’ve lived in for at least 185 days. If you are a UK resident, then you can drive on your valid Australian licence for 12 months after becoming resident. From becoming resident, you can exchange it from up to 5 years of the date you became a UK resident. If you are confident that you’re not a UK resident, then you can drive in the UK for 12 months only.

    Either way, based on your situation, you’ll need to apply for a provisional driving licence, then pass both the theory and practical driving test in order to drive in the UK.

    You can discuss your situation with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on 0300 790 6801. Their opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturday, 8am to 2pm.

  3. Zara Jes

    Thank you, that was very helpful.

  4. Debbie

    I have an automatic driving licence in Australia. I am moving to the uk. Can I have a full driving licence and be able to drive a manual car in the uk?

  5. Hello Debbie,
    You’ll be able to exchange it for a full automatic licence. If you want a manual licence, you’ll need to retake the practical test in a manual car.

  6. Maria

    Hello,
    Can we use a temporary Australian driving licence to drive in the UK?

  7. Hello Maria,
    Providing your Australian driving licence is full, you can drive in the UK for as long as your licence is valid, up to a maximum of 12 months.

  8. Darcy

    I have a provisional Australian drivers license and I am on a 2 year working visa.
    Am I allowed to drive over here?

  9. Hello Darcy,
    Not on a provisional. You’ll need to apply for a provisional UK licence and pass the UK driving test.

  10. Lauren

    If I exchange my Australian licence for a UK one, I have to physically hand it in, right? So then if I travel to Australia, can I use the UK licence to drive there? Otherwise I’m forfeiting my right to drive there?!?
    When I leave the UK permanently, can I get my Australian licence back from the DVLA?

  11. Hi Lauren.
    As part of the exchange application you’d need to send the DVLA your Australian licence. This is returned to the Australian licensing authorities notifying them of the exchange. If you need advice on driving in Australia using a UK licence you’d need to speak to the Australian licensing authorities.

  12. Jenna

    Hi I am I uk resident but lived in Australia for 2years in that time there I passes my automatic driving test I am now back living in the uk how long do I have to swap it over to a uk licence and can I only drive on the Australian one for 12 months?

    Many Thanks

  13. Hello Jenna,
    You have 12 months to both swap it over and to drive on your Australian licence.

  14. Jason

    I drive large roadtrains here in Australia ( 4 trailers ) and been doimg it for many years .can I get hgv license straight away in uk

  15. Hello Jason,
    No, I’m afraid not – you’ll need to go in for your test. You can drive a car or motorcycle for up to 12 months on your HGV licence though.

  16. hannah

    Hi.. my boyfriend has been in the UK on a working visa for two years now. He was insured on the car for a year. He’s now back in the UK on a tourist visa..can I still insure him on the car or is the only way by swapping his license to a UK one?

  17. Hello Hannah,
    It depends on your insurance company, they may or may not insure him as he doesn’t have a UK licence – you should ask them, or conduct a search to find temporary insurance for him that covers tourists. Another option may be international car insurance. These are likely to be quite expensive, so if he was to become UK resident, swapping his licence for a GB one would be the most cost-effective.

  18. Erin

    Hi I am an Australian resident going over to study in the UK for 9 months, but I’m still on my green p plates (Victorian). Does this mean I don’t have my full license? What do I do in this situation?

  19. Hi Erin,
    Probationary licences are eligible for exchange, so you wouldn’t need to take a UK driving test.

  20. Hi I am British have a British passport etc I am going to Australia for a year and I want to pass my driving test there as i have failed my U.K. Test and have no time to book another one. Can I use my Australian license when I return back ?

    Thanks

  21. Hello MK,
    Yes you can. Once you return to the UK, you can use your Australian driving licence to drive for up to 12 months. If you wish to drive for longer than 12 months, you will need to exchange it for GB licence. You will not need to take a UK driving test.

  22. Andrew

    Hi. I have an Australian drivers licence that doesn’t include provision to ride a motorcycle. I am recently in the UK and want to ride a moped. Can I do this on my Australian licence or do I need to change my Australia licence to a UK licence and go through the motorcycle/moped provisional licence process? Regards

  23. Hi Andrew, you’d only be able to drive any full entitlements you hold on your current Australian licence for 12 months after the date of your residency. If you wish to drive motorcycles/mopeds then you would need to hold the relevant GB licence.

  24. Stephanie Tarrant

    Hi there,
    I’m an Australian with a full Australian drivers license. I have moved to the UK on a 2 year tier 5 youth mobility visa so I am not a permanent resident. Am I still only allowed to drive for 12 months on my Australian license? And do they count 12 months as the date you arrived in the UK or the date you started driving? I don’t want to exchange my license for a UK one as I will only have it for a short time then I’ll need my Australian license back again. Is there any way around it?
    Thanks so much in advance for your help!
    Cheers,
    Steph

  25. Hi Steph,
    You will be allowed to drive in the UK upon arrival (not when you start driving) for 12 months. If you wish to continue to drive, you’ll need to pass the UK driving test. If you do pass the UK driving test, you’ll need to reapply for your Australian driving licence to the appropriate authorities upon arrival back in Australia.

  26. Gary Tucker

    Hi , I am going for an extended stay in the U.K. I hold dual Aus/U.K. Citizenship but only hold a Australian licence , I have a RE endorsement on my licence , my question is can I ride a larger capacity motorcycle than my Australian licence allows ?

  27. Hello Gary,
    If you are visiting GB you can drive on the Australian licence for a period of up to 12 months from the date you entered the country as long as it remains valid but only with the categories it shows (Car and/or motorcycle) on your licence. If you hold a full, unrestricted Australian motorcycle licence then it will allow you to ride any size motorcycle in the UK for the 12 months.

  28. Peter Robinson

    Hi , I currently hold a UK and Australian driving license and have lived in Australia since 1999.I intend to return to the UK for good in 2019.Will my UK license, which has an expiry date of 02-02-24 allow me to drive.

  29. Hello Peter, I would check with the DVLA in the UK to just ensure that your UK licence is still valid. There’s plenty of time however as you can drive on your Australian licence in the UK for up to 12 months, in which time you’ll need to exchange it for a UK licence.

  30. Peter Robinson

    Hi do I have to retake a driving test in the UK if I return to the UK permanently? I have been a resident in Australia for 18 years and hold driving licences for both countries.

  31. Mervyn

    G’day,

    I was born in England, grew-up there and have a UK car licence.

    I moved to Australia about 23 years ago and got an Australian car licence and an Australian heavy-vehicle licence. My heavy-vehicle licence is for heavy-rigid vehicles only, not articulated ones (ie tractor unit with trailer) and for the past 10 years I have been driving (large single-decker) buses.

    If I returned to live in the UK. Could I transfer my Australian heavy-vehicle licence to a UK heavy-vehicle licence? If not, would my Australian heavy-vehicle licence be of any help when obtaining a UK heavy-vehicle licence? What about bus driving? Are the licences &/ or tests different to those for other heavy-vehicle drivers?

  32. Cristopher

    Hi, I hold a Australian Lerner Driver Licence, I have already made the teorical test in Australia. CanI apply only for the practical test in the UK? Because I have one part of the Licence already done. Thanks, Crisotpher

  33. Hello Cristopher,
    An Australian theory test would not be valid in the UK and vice versa. A UK theory test will need to be taken.

  34. Kade

    Hi I’m trying to exchange my Aus licence for an English licence but the UK DVLA are saying they need a letter of entitlement from the Aus DVLA but THE Aus DVLA don’t have a clue what that is…how do I go around this so the AUS DVLA understand what Is being asked? this is the only thing standing in the way of me exchanging my licence at the min

  35. Hello Kade,
    You’d only need the letter of entitlement if your Australian licence is lost. A letter of entitlement is an official letter confirming your driving licence details. i.e entitlements held, valid from and expiry dates. So if your licence isn’t lost, then it sounds like there’s a bit of a mix up somewhere.

  36. Kade

    Hi yes the Aussie licence has been lost…but England ask for a letter of entitlement and Aus have no idea what that is so stuck at a dead end here

  37. Kade

    Oh sorry re-read properly and thank you for your help.

  38. Kade

    Ok so start again…as the licence is lost how do I go about this now as it’s so confusing with this so called letter of entitlement the UK DVLA is asking for and the Aus DVLA do not know what a letter of entitlement is as they say they have never heard of this.

  39. It’s an official letter From the Australian DVLA on their headed paper stating your personal details and what vehicle/s you are entitled to drive etc. Essentially the same information that is on your licence. So just ask the Australian DVLA for that and it should be sorted.

  40. Annabelle

    Hello,

    I’m from the UK but want to do my driving license in New Zealand. Will I be able to transfer it to a UK one when I move back home?

  41. Hi Annabelle,
    Yes if you pass your driving test in New Zealand, you can exchange it for a UK licence when you return.

  42. Sharni

    Hi, I’m an Australian who lost their green p’s (Victorian) license recently for drink driving. If I move to Great Britain, would I be able to take a driving test to get an English license while having a temporary working visa?

  43. Hi Sharni,
    Having spoken to the DVLA about this, they said they will need your personal details in order to discuss this further. You can contact them here.

  44. david

    I lost my full Australian licence for a period of 6 months until Sept 2018 for PCA( prescribed concentration of alcohol). I am eligible to get my licence back in Australia on the 1st October 2018. I intend to be in the UK at that time and can apply for my probationary licence from the UK. Can i drive in England then without taking a test on a probationary licence?

  45. Hi David,
    Probation and restricted licences are all acceptable for driving in GB and exchanging. The UK DVLA cannot accept learner licences or L categories.

  46. Mr Christopher Bowden

    If my grandaughter who is from the UK but living in Australia at the moment passes her driving test in Australia what does she need to do to be legal in the UK when she returns home ?

  47. Hello Christopher,
    On a full Australian driving licence, your daughter can drive for up to 12 months. Within this 12 month period, she must exchange her Australian licence for a UK licence in order to continue driving.

  48. Carly

    Hi

    Can I use a full Australian license with a restriction for an alcohol interlock device when driving in the UK while on holiday?

  49. Hello Carly,
    As the UK doesn’t use an alcohol interlock scheme, you can use your full and valid Australian licence to drive in the UK. You are restricted to driving small vehicles only i.e. motorcycles/motorcars.

  50. William from Down Under. Bonzer!

    Hi,

    I have an expired Australian full driver’s license and am a resident and citizen of the UK. Do I need to re-sit my test? Can I send in my expired license as proof to get a UK license?

    Thanks!

  51. Hello William,
    Only fully and valid Australian driving licenses can be exchanged. In order to gain a UK driving licence, you’ll need to pass the UK practical driving test.

  52. Katy Thomas

    Hi,

    My partner has her red P’s in Aus, and has passed her theory, but has now been living in the UK for 3 years. Will she need to restart from the beginning, and take her theory again?

  53. Josh

    Hi, I am currently on my P2 (NSW) licence. Is this eligible for an exchange, and am I able to drive in the UK for 12 months on this licence? Thank you.

  54. Hello Josh,
    Yes you can drive in the UK on your P2 licence or you can exchange it for a full GB licence if you wish.

  55. Hello Katy,
    Your partner can exchange the Australian P licence for a GB licence. She will not have to take the theory test again.

  56. Ross

    Hi, my wife and I are planning a trip to the UK in 2019 as we have a caravan hire business here in Australia we thought we would like to hire a caravan to self tow with a hired vehicle, I have held a full license here in Australia for a number of years now, are there any restrictions that would stop us doing this?

  57. Hi Ross,

    Providing you have entitlement to do so on your licence and it is valid, then the same will apply in the UK for up to 12 months.

  58. Tony

    Both my Australian wife (full license) and my son (Red P license) will be in the UK for approximately 18 months but returning to Australia intermittently. Is it possible for them to apply for and undertake the UK driving test in order to gain a UK license, rather than doing the “license exchange” which will cause problems when they return to Australia minus their Driver’s License?

  59. Hello Tony,
    You can drive in Australia for up to 12 months on a UK licence, just as you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months on your Australian licence before an exchange is required. You would be required to exchange during this period. As your 12 months nears in the UK, exchange your Australasian licence for a UK one – this will still enable you to drive in Australia for 12 months. When you return to Australia permanently, you can exchange your UK licence.

  60. James

    Gday
    Just wondering what my full australian licence entitles me to drive in the uk? Such as vans rated to 4.5 tonne or trailors up to 9 tonne ect
    thanks in advance

  61. Hi James,
    As an Australian licence holder, you can drive any type of vehicle that weighs up to 3.5 tonnes, has no more than eight passenger seats and is shown on your licence.

  62. Luke

    Hey there i was told i need to hand my australian liscence in and itll be sent back to australia but when i rang the roads and martimes nsw they have told me they are not aware of this and that im aloud to have both a brittish and australian liscence and that i shouldnt have my card taken off me

  63. Hi Luke,
    If you exchange your Australian licence for a GB one, then that’s what happens. Not sure why they said that, I would try and speak to someone else.

  64. Andrew

    I hold a full Australian license and have been a resident in the UK for over two years now. If I was to start driving here would I need to swap my Australian license for a UK one?

  65. Darren

    Hi,
    I have a valid Australian license and I’ve been a resident in the uk for three months, do I need to take a driving test here? Or can I continue to use my Australian driving license?

  66. Hi Darren
    You can continue to use your Australian driving licence for up to 12 months from becoming resident. Once the 12 months is up, you will not be able to continue to drive unless you exchange your Australian licence for a GB one.

  67. RyanPK

    I I am a British citizen and a New Zealand citizen with dual nationality I can pass my test in Australia if I do can I automatically transfer it to a British one if I was to go home

  68. Hello RyanPK,
    Yes you can transfer your Australian licence to a GB one up to 5 years from returning to the UK. You can drive on your Australian licence for up to 12 months, then you’ll need to exchange it if you want to continue to drive.

  69. Matt

    Hi, I’m on a full licence for car and bike with LAMS restrictions for bike. Would I be restricted to low powered bikes if I went to UK in the same way I am in Aus? Also if I swapped my Vic licence for UK for 18 months and then came back to Aus, would the LAMS restrictions be put back on when I applied to get my Aus licence back?

  70. Hi Matt,
    As the UK do not operate the LAMS scheme, based on your licence and when the application comes in, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will consider which category best reflects your entitlement and this category will be displayed on your licence. To check what would happen when exchanging your GB licence back for an Australian one, you would need to contact the Australian Driving Authority.

  71. Lauren

    Hi I am an Aussie/British Citizen with an auto Aussie lisence, I was checking my lisence online in Aus as I am ready to exchange it for a U.K. one, my Australian drivers license is now being displayed as ‘not valid’ due to a car registration fine not being paid. If I pay the fine to my Australian DVLA will they reinstate my license? I don’t want to have to go through the rigmarole of sitting my license all over again in the U.K

    Thanks for any advice.

  72. Hi Lauren,
    I don’t know too much about the Australian non-payment of a car registration fine making your driving licence invalid. We don’t have that type of system in the UK, so you would need to ask the Australian DVLA about this. But if paying the fine does reinstate your licence to valid, then you’ll be able to exchange it.

  73. Greg. Pullen

    I have a full Victorian licence and will be driving a friends car, fully insured, in England for about a month.
    I am curious to know if there are reciprocal penalty arrangements between Australia and the UK?
    For example ) and heaven forbid) if I was picked up for driving over the legal limit while in the UK would I lose my Victorian licence, be subject to a fine, or both?

  74. Hi Greg, yes there is. If you’re disqualified in the UK whilst driving on an Australian licence, the DVLA would inform the Australian authorities of the disqualification in the UK.

  75. Hugo

    Hi,
    I am a EU citizen and lived in Australia. I have an full manual Australian license. now i am moving to the UK. how is the process to exchange the license? Do i have to do a driving test again or can I just exchange it?
    Kind Regards.

  76. Hello Hugo,
    No tests needed, simply exchange your licence within 12 months of becoming resident.

  77. Hugo

    Also, will I be able to buy a car with a Australian license or will i have to transfer the license first?

  78. Hi Hugo,
    You do not need any licence in the UK to buy a car, only when it comes to driving it on public roads is when you need one.

  79. Lauren Moran

    Hello,

    I have been living in the UK for 4 years now, I couldn’t find my drivers licence (thought it was lost) for a period of time last year, as I wanted to hand it in to get a UK one and then when I found it again a couple of months ago I had realised that it expired last April (so a year ago). I asked my mum to check in Australia to see if they could send me over a new one but they said that i would need to be there in person to sort it out and they also said that I should still be able to turn over my Australian licence in the UK and hand it in to get a UK licence – is that correct do you know? Or do you perhaps know a number I could call to see what the restrictions and requirements are?

    many thanks,
    Lauren

  80. Hi Lauren,
    You can exchange your Australian licence for up to 5 years of becoming UK resident, however this only applies if the licence has not expired. The options you have I would think is to either return to Australian to obtain a valid licence or to take the UK driving test. You will need to speak to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) regarding this. You can contact them on 0300 790 6801.

  81. Tom

    I’m a UK citizen an currently reside in Australia. I have recently passed my Automatic driving test in Australia and was wondering whether a P1 (red P’s) automatic licence can be exchanged for a full automatic licence in the UK?

  82. Hi Tom,
    Probation, provisional and restricted licences are all acceptable for driving in GB and exchanging.
    The DVLA cannot accept Learners licences or L categories for exchange.

  83. Alisson

    Hi!
    I’m going to the UK in August and plan to get my driver’s license here in Australia before leaving. Can I exchange it within 12 months or maybe not because it will be so recent?
    Thank you!

  84. Hi Alisson,
    Providing your Australian licence is full, then yes you can exchange it.

  85. Zara

    Hi
    I’m British but I lived in Sydney for 6 years and I have provisional driver license, red P.
    Can I convert that licence or do I have to be soo the tests in UK?

  86. Hello Zara,
    Yes you can exchange your Red P licence for a UK licence without having to retake tests.

  87. Des Gill

    Hi I have a full Australian drivers licence but with my R P1 (provisional motorcycle rider)
    Am I am able to ride a motorcycle in the UK as long as I follow the Australian R P1 guideline regarding engine size and pillion passengers?

  88. Hi Des,
    Yes, you can ride in the UK based on your entitlements that you gained in Australia, for the 12 month period.

  89. Matthew Sterck

    Hi there, I’m an Australian with a full Australian drivers license. I have moved to the UK on a 2 year tier 5 youth mobility visa so I am not a permanent resident. My Australian license is going to expire next month so I want to swap it over for a UK one before this happens. I have only been living in the UK for 2 months so far. Can I swap it over for a UK license even though I haven’t been here for over 12 months yet?

  90. Hi Matthew,

    In order to apply for a GB driving licence you must be resident in GB. The DVLA may challenge you on your residential status. Temporarily visiting the UK indicates a presence for casual purposes rather than the regular habits of life. Generally, you’ll have to have been in the Great Britain at a permanent address for at least 185 days to be considered resident and to apply for a GB licence. However, the DVLA doesn’t define ‘resident’ so if challenged, it would be down to you to justify your status.

    But as you will be in the UK for 2 years and if during this period you only returned home for short periods each year, the DVLA would consider you resident. So you can apply for a GB licence, but the DVLA may require further clarification on your status.

  91. Meg

    Hi – we are Australian citizens who have been living in the UK for nearly 2 years now. We haven’t been driving at all in that time. Now we are coming to the end of our visas and want to hire a car for a road trip. Do we need to exchange our licences if we are no longer living at a fixed address in the UK?

  92. Hello Meg,
    Your Australian driving licence is only valid for 12 months, so if you still only hold your Australian licence, it will not be valid. Though due to your visa almost expiring and having no residential address, you might have issues exchanging your Australian licence for a GB one. It would probably be best to call the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) directly to explain your situation, residential and visa status. Call them on 0300 790 6801.

  93. Austin

    Hi

    I recently passed my driving test in Australia (NSW) and I’m 8 months in to using my provisional licence in australia. Can i use this licence to drive in the UK, i am over 30 yo
    Cheers

  94. Hello Austin,
    Provided it is a probation and/or restricted licence then this can be exchanged for a UK licence or used to drive in the UK. You cannot exchange any form of learner driving licence or use a learner licence to drive in the UK.

  95. Sam

    Hi,
    I am living and working in UK indefinitely on ‘Certificate of Entitlement/ Right of Abode’.
    Can I apply for a UK drivers license if I don’t physically have my Australian license to exchange?
    I have an International drivers licence, but wish to have a UK licence with my address ASAP (eg, not wait 12 months).
    Thanks
    Sam

  96. Hi Sam,
    Yes you can exchange your Australian driving licence right away even though you do not physically have it, provided it is valid. This also applies if your Australian licence is lost or stolen.

  97. Matthew

    I’m a uk citizen all my life, fairly recently an permanent resident of Australia. Held a uk license for many years.
    I have since obtained my HR LICENSE in Australia and want to know if i could transfer it when returning to the uk ?

    Many thanks

  98. Hi Matthew,
    The DVLA can only exchange car and motorcycle entitlement from Australia, not lorries or buses.

  99. Zee

    Hello there, I am an Australian citizen with a full and open Australian License which is about to expire. I’m here in the UK on a tier 5 Youth mobility visa and am looking into applying for a spousal visa soon. I entered the UK in Feb, then left then re-entered in April and then again in June. DO my 12 months start on the most recent date of re-entry? or the initial date back in Feb? Given that I’d be travelling overseas often in the coming months- when do these 12 months on the Aus license start?
    When I do have to exchange my license do I need to sit a whole new UK test or is it recognizable?
    Is there anyway that I can keep both licenses? Why does having a UK license mean that I have to give up an Aus license?

  100. Hi Zee, firstly, please be aware that once your Australian licence has expired you cannot drive in Great Britain (GB) or exchange the licence for a GB licence. The DVLA do not define ‘residency’ but as a guide, you become GB resident, you will have been residing at a permanent address for at least 185 days. As a visitor, you can drive in GB for up to 12 months from when you last entered the country. If you do consider yourself resident and exchange your licence, you will not have to take a UK driving test.

    Technically you can keep both licenses. If your Australian licence is lost, you can still exchange it for a GB licence, but if you found your Australian licence, you would be expected to send it to the DVLA. If you exchanged your Australian licence for a GB licence, the Australian licence would be sent back to the issuing authority. This is because if you received a driving ban for example, you would have your licence revoked and not have multiples licenses to make use of.

  101. George

    Hi. I have recently moved back to the UK after living in Australia for 5 years.
    Now, I have my full UK car license and HGV licenses all past in the UK over 10 years ago, but when I was in Australia I completed my full motorcycle license and wish to transfer it onto my UK license. Is this possible?
    Thank you.

  102. Hi George,
    Yes you can exchange your Australian motorcycle licence for a GB one just like you would a car licence.

  103. Lionel Lewis

    Hi
    I have an Aus learners licence. Can I change to a British learners or do i have to start the process again over in the uk.

  104. Hi Lionel,
    No, the DVLA do not exchange learner licenses, so you’ll need to apply for a GB provisional driving licence.

  105. Shardae

    Hey,
    I’ve just Got to the UK and realised I’ve stupidly left my drivers license back home I’m Australia! It will take to long to post and as I am travelling I don’t actually have a postal address!
    I wanted to hire a car to travel around! Is there a way I can somehow Do this without having my license

  106. Hi Shardae,
    It really depends on which company you try. If you’re 25+ and held a full and clean driving licence for 2 or more years, you may be able to hire a car with a photocopy of your Australian driving licence (if that’s an option), but it really comes down to what the specific company is willing to accept. I’d suggest you contact a few to see.

  107. bobbie

    hello,

    I’ve previously lived in the UK for two years on a youth mobility visa and i drove for 12 months before my visa expired and i had to return home. I am now returning with a spouse visa a year later, am i able to drive for a further 12 months before exchanging my Australian license?

  108. Hi Bobbie,

    Unfortunately the DVLA do not offer any specifics on this because neither visitor nor resident is defined in driver licensing legislation. They will state that you should seek your own legal advice if you need further help determining your status and whether your 12 months begins again. In other words, it’s up to you, but you must be prepared to justify your status if challenged. It would probably be easier to exchange your licence.

  109. Jackie

    Hi im going to england with my son for a holiday and we are hiring a car. He has his learners drivers licence. Is he able to drive over there like he can here so he can get his hours up??

  110. Hi Jackie,
    Australian probation, provisional and restricted licences are all acceptable for driving in GB and exchanging. However, learners licences or L categories are not accepted for driving in GB or for exchange.

  111. Jim cook

    Hi my Australian licence is suspended for drink offence can I go to UK and drive on my UK licence which I’ve had for 15 years

  112. Mickey

    I’m a UK citizen and got stopped the day after a night out for a random breath test… I copped a ban on my NSW license. I still have my UK license and am moving back to the UK next year. Am I still able to drive on my UK license having been banned for a year on my NSW license?

  113. Hi Jim,
    Providing your GB driving licence is valid, yes you can legally drive in the UK.

  114. Hi Mickey,
    As long as the GB licence is valid you would be covered to drive in the UK.

  115. sam

    Hi I would like your advice
    I’m a on tier 4 student visa and I’m in my 4th year of study. I am Australian with a full Australian license. Can I still drive for 12 months with this license or do i need to apply for a GB license?

    Thanks

  116. Hi Sam,
    If you have been in the UK for more than 12 months, you will need to exchange it for a GB licence. You can exchange for up to 5 years since becoming resident and only if your Australian licence is valid.

  117. Heather

    I am permanent resident UK on working visa. If I exchange my Aussie licence for UK one , do I have to retake Aussie driving test again when I return home? Or is it a simple exchange like UK.

  118. Hi Heather.
    I think it’s a reciprocal agreement, so the same rules would apply. But I don’t know much on the Australian side of things. I would ask someone in the know over there.

  119. Heather

    Thank you very much

  120. Laura

    Heya,
    I’m currently on an Australian Green P license (NSW) I was previously told that as this is ‘provisional’ that I wouldn’t be able to drive here however reading through these comments it seems as though I can?
    I was planning on just getting my full license when I go back to Australia (beginning of feb) and then completing the transfer when I come back to the uk in April. I’ve now also seen that you have 5 years from becoming a resident to do this. I technically came to the England in September 2014, got my first job and started renting in November 2014 does this mean that I needed to do the license transfer in September? Or did I become a ‘resident’ 185 days later meaning the 5 years would come to an end in March or going by when I started working November? Sorry if that’s very confusing!

  121. Hi Laura,
    Your ‘P’ (provisional licence) is different to ours in that you have passed a theory and practical road test in order to acquire it. So yes, you can drive here for 12 months or exchange it for a GB licence within 5 years. The DVLA do not give any specifics on residency and as they will tell you, it’s up to you to prove residency should they ask any questions. However, you have 5 years to exchange a licence from the date you became resident, therefore I would suggest this would be 5 years from the 185 days (and became resident) that you arrived in the UK.

  122. Fred

    Hi,

    I am a British and Australian citizen. Moving over to the UK for the first time later this year to live. I have my full car and motorbike license. If I want to get a UK license do I need to sit tests or not?

    I want to get a motorbike in London but am worried nobody will insure me without a UK license.

    Thanks

  123. Hello Fred,
    You will not need to take any tests. You can use your Australian licence for 12 months or exchange it for a GB licence upon arrival. You will be able to get insurance with your Australian licence, but it will be easier and probably cheaper if you exchange it for a GB licence.

  124. Richard

    Hi
    After I surrender my AUS License for a GB one what happens when I want to return to AUS. Can I simply surrender my GB license to obtain my AUS one back?

  125. Dom

    Hello, I’ve been a resident in the UK for around 8 years now. I spend a fair bit of time back in Australia so have always renewed my Aussie license and driven on that in the UK.

    For insurance purposes, I’d like to exchange my (currently valid) Australian license to a UK one. However, will the fact I’ve been a UK resident for over five years mean I can’t do this? Would I need to take a test and get my provisional license? Finally, do they have anyway of knowing I’ve been a resident for over 5 years? I stayed at friend’s places for quite some time for example.

    Thank you!

  126. Hi Dom,
    If you have been a UK resident for over 5 years and you’ve not exchanged your Australian licence in that time, then yes you will need to apply for a provisional licence and take a driving test. If you’re not entirely sure on the duration of your UK residency status, you could run through the exchange process. If the DVLA have any questions regarding your residency, they will ask you.

  127. Michael

    HI
    I have my full driving licence in Australia including unrestricted Heavy rigid truck licence, i recently got my learners for motorbikes would i be able to ride under australian Learner restrictions in the UK?.
    Thanks

  128. Hi Michael,
    You ride motorbikes on a valid Australian provisional/probationary licence for up to 12 months under UK restrictions.

  129. Michael

    Hi, I am a UK and Australian Citizen with both passports. I arrived in the UK on the 13/02/2020. So I’ve been back less than the 183 days required to qualify as a ‘resident’.
    My full Australian licence expires on the 18/04/2020, and will not be valid by the time I reach 183 days. Will I still be able to exchange my Australian licence for a UK licence as I am a UK citizen?
    Or is there some other loop hole I can take advantage of to exchange my Australian licence for a UK licence?

  130. Hi Michael,
    As you are a UK citizen, you can exchange your Australian driving licence before it expires. You do not have to wait 185 days. As long as you have the appropriate leave to remain in GB for 185 days or more, you can apply straight away for a driving licence.

  131. Joe

    Hi, I am an exchange student in British and I have Australian driver’s full license. Can I exchange GB license if I will not stay in GB for a year. And If I apply for exchange license , is my Australian driving licence valid at the same time? What do I need to do when I return to Australia?

  132. Hi Joe,
    If you are a resident (have a permanent address that you’ve lived in for 185 days) then you can exchange your Australian driving licence for a GB one. You can however continue to drive on your full Australian licence for 12 months (from becoming resident), so in your case it may not be worth exchanging it. If you do exchange it and go back to Australia, you’ll have to go through the exchange process again to get your Australian licence back.

  133. Joe

    As you said, do I have to give my Australian driving license to GB and not get back? So I have to exchange it when I go back to Australia with extra payment.

  134. Hi Joe,
    Yes, you’ll need to exchange your licence again when you return to Australia. I can’t comment on payments as I’m UK based. You can drive in the UK on your Australian licence for 12 months from when you became resident.

  135. Mikayla

    Hi, I have an Australian P2 license, I will be going to London for AU Pair for 12 months and was wondering what you would recommend for me license wise?

  136. Hello Mikayla,

    If you passed your driving test in Australia, you can drive all the vehicles shown on your driving licence for up to 12 months from when you became resident in GB (as long as the driving licence remains valid). If you think you may need to drive for over 12 months you will need to exchange your driving licence for a GB driving licence.

  137. Crescens

    I moved to UK in April 2019 on a Tier 5 exchange visa which was renewed in April 2020. It’s now May 2020. Can I still use my Australian driving license? i.e. When did I ‘become a resident’? – from the time I arrived in UK back in April 2020 or 185 days after?

  138. Hello Crescens,
    The 185 days is just an approximation and the DVLA do not give any clarification of what determines residency. For the sake of avoiding any potential conflict, I would recommend exchanging your licence.

  139. Amy

    Hi,

    My Husband is Australian and is planning on exchanging his licence to the UK one. When he receives his new licence, will the issue date take into account how long he was driving in Aus for? He has been driving for 12 years, and I’m looking at car insurance quotes, and I’m not sure what to put on the “How long have they held the licence for?” because when he gets it, he will have only held the UK one for less than a month, but this doesn’t truly reflect how long he’s been driving for?
    Thanks!

  140. Hi Amy,
    The entitlement dates on the GB licence will reflect those on the Australian licence.

  141. Skam

    Hi,

    I have a UK automatic license and lived in Australia for a while and recently returned to the UK. While in Australia I got an Australian license.

    Can I switch my Australian license for a full/manual UK one?

  142. Hi Skam,
    If your Australian licence is manual, you can exchange it for a UK manual licence.

  143. Cass

    Hello,

    I have a full Australian drivers licence and have been in the UK for less than 12 months, however I misplaced the actual licence card and am waiting for a replacement to be posted to me from Australia. Am I still allowed to drive a car even though I don’t have the physical licence with me at the moment? What are the laws around driving without the physical licence as in Australia they are very strict and can be fined even if you just left it at home.

    Thanks

  144. Hi Cass,

    Legally speaking you’d still be covered to drive, providing the licence is valid and you’ve been here less that 12 months. However, you may wish to speak with the police to check what they’d need from you if you were to be stopped.

  145. Fiona

    Hi,

    I am currently living in London and have been since March 2019 on a Tier 5 youth Mobility Visa for 2 years, and have a Residence Permit card. I would like to drive in the UK and have a valid Australian Driving Licence. Can I get a permit instead of exchanging my Aus licence to a UK one as I am returning back to Aus in March 2021 and my Aus license is valid for a few years, therefore do not want to have to pay for a new one again.

    Is a permit allowed rather then exchanging a licence?

    Thanks.

  146. Hi Fiona,

    No, you will need to exchange your licence. If you don’t wish to exchange the Australian licence, you would need to apply for a provisional licence and take a theory and practical test.

  147. mulugeta

    hi i have full an automatic driving licence Australia i am British citizen. Do i have to do driving test again or can i just exchange it

  148. Hello Mulugeta,
    Providing your Australian licence is valid, you can exchange it for a GB licence.

  149. Luke

    Hi there, so 12 months from becoming a resident [which according to DVLA takes 185 days to become (please advise if not correct?)] That potentially allows you to drive for 18 months in the UK? is that correct? I’m a UK citizen returned from NZ after 7 years now driving in the UK on a NZ licence and DVLA is not able to help confirm this point.

    Thanks

  150. Hello Luke,
    Yes it is correct in theory, though the DVLA do not specifically define what ‘resident’ is.

  151. Tom

    Hi there . I want to exchange my Australian P1 licence road a full uk licence as I am going back there to live . I am uk resident . Is it possible to exchange my Australian p1 to full uk ?

  152. Karl

    Hi
    I am a British citizen with an Australian licence. I plan to move back to the UK soon, do I have to wait the 185 days before I can swap the licence?, or can I swap it immediately on the basis I’m a Citizen?
    Thanks in advance.
    Karl

  153. Hi Karl,
    If you are a British citizen, you can exchange your Australian licence for a GB licence right away.

  154. Farnoush

    Hi,
    I’ve got an Australian license and I’m going to move in the UK. I’d like to know can I driving when I arrive in the UK or I must exchange my driving license?
    Many thanks

  155. Hi Farnoush,
    You can drive for up to 12 months from when you become resident (usually from 185 days). Before the 12 months expire, you’ll need to exchange your licence for a GB one in order to keep driving.

  156. Jack

    Hello,

    A few years ago I exchanged my Australian drivers license for a uk license. Im just wondering what happens to that Australian license, do they keep records of it so i can change back later ?

    thanks in advance,
    Jack

  157. Hello Jack,
    The licence gets sent back to the Australian authority that issued it.

  158. Liz

    Hello,

    I have been in the UK for a year just. I do not plan to become a resident but am on a work visa for another 2 years. I have a full automatic licence from Australia, however it was stolen. Australia hold their licence on an application now which I have access to, am I able to use this for an exchange or must I start all over again?

  159. Hello Liz,
    If your licence has been stolen, you will need to provide a certificate of entitlement from the Australian issuing authority.

  160. Rebecca

    Hello! I’ve been living in the UK for 6 years any my driver’s license expired 12 months ago. Can I apply for a UK license?

    Many thanks!

  161. Hi Rebecca,
    You have up to 5 years to exchange your Australian driving licence (from becoming resident). Additionally, the DVLA wont exchange an expired licence. As it currently stands, you’ll have to apply for a UK provisional licence.

  162. Sarah

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if anyone might help me. I’ve just realised my Australian licence expired in Feb 2021, and need to apply for a UK one. I have been here in the UK now for a year and need to swap over.
    Would the fact that its expired affect the exchange?? If so what would I need to do to get it? I’ve been driving for over 13 years, no penalties or anything.
    Thank you

  163. Hi Sarah
    If your driving licence has expired you won’t be able to exchange your licence for a GB one. This means that you need to apply for a provisional driving licence and pass a driving test.

  164. Hi, from what I can see, there doesn’t appear to be any reciprocal agreement with the UK for the exchange of Australian truck licences. Does this mean that the mother country does not recognise Aussie issued truck licences whilst at the same time, still recognising European truck licences post Brexit?

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