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Driving in the UK

Information for Non EU nationals who are thinking about driving in the UK

The rules below are applicable to any type of vehicle - including motorcar, motorbike or scooter. There are very strict laws in the UK about driving, these may be very different to the laws in your own country, so check BEFORE you drive.  If you break the UK driving laws you can be prosecuted and would also be subject to the University's disciplinary procedures.

Am I allowed to drive?

If you want to drive whilst you are in the UK you must have a driving licence which is valid for driving in the UK, and you must be over 17 years old to drive a car. Having a licence which is valid for driving in your own country DOES NOT mean that you can automatically drive in the UK.

During your FIRST 12 months in the UK, you may use your own overseas full driving permit or an International Driving Permit. This means that from the first time you come to the UK you only have permission to drive for twelve months - it does not mean that you can drive for twelve months starting any time.

After 12 months in the UK you will need to obtain a UK full driving licence (even if you have not previously driven in the UK). You will need to pass a driving test (both the written test and the practical test) BEFORE the 12 month period has ended.

What documents do I need?

If you are allowed to drive in the UK then under UK law you MUST ensure that:

1. You have a full driving license (see 'Am I allowed to Drive?' above); AND

2. You have motor insurance for the vehicle you are driving (renewable every year); AND

3. You have valid Road Tax for your vehicle (renewable every year); AND

4. You have a valid MOT certificate (Ministry of Transport Certificate) - all vehicles over three years of age MUST have this certificate (renewable every year)

You must have these documents - they are not optional, they are compulsory. If you do not have these documents you are breaking the law.

You must obey the laws of the UK with regard to driving, in particular those relating to drink driving and speeding. If you do not know the law with regard to driving in the UK then find out. Remember the law in this country may be different to the law in your own country. Not knowing the law is not a defence if you break it.

For further information on driving in the UK and legal requirements see the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website. Also see the UKCISA website

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Student Immigration Team (Advice)

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