Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting a UK Driving Licence

First off - You may be thinking, "Debbie, you have spelled licence incorrectly. It is spelled l-i-c-e-n-s-e." You see, my friends, that is how the British spell it. And according to this site, it is the correct spelling. If you actually take a look at the site, it makes complete sense, and I may just follow that rule for the rest of my life! I will practise now! hehe :)

Moving on...

Since I moved from the States to the UK, I am allowed to drive with my Louisiana license licence. It's somewhat crazy to me since driving is very different on the wrong left side of the road. But it really doesn't take long to get used to it which I guess is why the Kingdom allows Americans to drive. It's not a free pass forever, though. When coming from the states, it's a bit of a process.

1.) After 6 months of living in the UK, you are eligible to receive a provisional licence. But you must receive the provisional licence within one year of living in the UK because that is when your American licence becomes invalid, plus you will run into problems with car insurance (or so we have been told). To get the provisional licence, you must fill out paperwork and send it in to the DLVA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) with your passport with some amount of money. You will receive your passport some amount of days or weeks later along with a provisional licence.

2.) After receiving your provisional license, you are now allowed to pay some amount of money to schedule and take a Theory test. The Apple App Store has over 10 free apps to help you prepare for this test. Apparently, this test is not too difficult to pass.

3.) After passing the Theory test, you are now allowed to take the Practical test. The Practical test is apparently really difficult to pass. It's easy to make a mistake especially when a few of the rules are different than the states. During the driving test, there are two different kinda of mistakes you can make: minor and major. You allowed so many minor mistakes before you fail. But if you make one major mistake, you fail right then and there. A major mistake can be something like not knowing that the upcoming roundabout has two lanes going into it because there are no road marking and you pull into the middle instead of to one side (happened to a friend of mine). FAIL! To prepare for the practical test, it is highly recommended to take lessons. It is not a test that you want to rush into or "wing" because it costs approximately $100... each time. And because it is so easy to fail, that's a lot of money to throw out the window. And then if you fail, you are not allowed to test again for another 6 weeks. Talk about high anxiety!!

In the end, the whole process costs over $200 and that does not include the cost of driving lessons. Yikes!

Anyway, Luke and I have just begun this whole process. We have the paperwork filled out, but need our passports for next week. After skiing we will send it all in to get our provisional licence. I have begun studying for the theory test using the free iDevice apps. I'm glad I have started because apparently you have to know about car mechanics for the test. Seriously! And there are at least four different names for pedestrian crossings. Seriously! One of then being a toucan crossing. Seriously! More on that in another blog...

Hope you get through this Monday!

A licence from a country with an exchange agreement with Great Britain (Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe) does not need to go through this process. They only need to exchange for a UK licence, but it still costs money to exchange it.



  1. I'm SO glad I didn't have to take that test! Luckily over here I can just convert my license:) Good luck!!!!

    1. Lucky! BUT I have a feeling that it is pointless to go through the full process. By the time we pass the practical, we will probably be moving again.

  2. I don't disagree with having to get a UK license (why is it licence but licensing?) but I do not agree with the whole process of taking a practical (I would be totally fine with a theory test to get your license) because all of mainland Europe drives on the right side of the road and have different signs/laws, just like the US....makes no sense. And not to mention the process take F-O-R-E-V-E-R (think Sandlot). #rantover ;-)

    1. We will go through all of this mess which includes paying MORE THAN $0, and then it is useless outside of Britain. Maybe, we can go to Singapore after this which will make it all worthwhile??? Would you come visit? :-)


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