How to Get a Student’s Driving Licence in the UK?
28 June, 2023
5 mins read
Tips and Advice
Are you studying in the UK and tired of commuting by tube or other public transport? Consider looking into driving in the comfort and convenience of your own car instead of the hassle of finding the fastest bus routes or having your legs ache from cycling for hours every day! The good news is that you can obtain a UK driving licence as an international student in the UK after following some simple steps.
First of all, it is essential to know that driving without a licence in the UK, or almost all countries, or with one that is invalid, is a criminal offence and leads to having your car insurance invalidated. This is why it has become so much easier to obtain a driver’s licence in order to prevent all of this! If you have a valid licence from one of the designated countries, you can drive with it in the UK for no more than 12 months!
Which Countries' Driving Licences are Valid in the UK?
Whether you have a valid licence from your country or not, once you've been a resident in the UK for 6 months, you can apply for a provisional driving licence. There are several countries with valid driver’s licences in the United Kingdom; these countries include:
British Virgin Islands
The Republic of Korea
What are the Legal Requirements to Obtain a Valid Car Licence in the UK?
If your question is how to get a driving licence in UK, you would have to meet the legal requirements, which are to be over the age of 17, can read a licence plate from 20 metres away, and have proof of residency in the country for six months (185 days) within the past 12 months.
Applying for a provisional licence can be easily done online through the DVLA website. You will be asked to enter the following:
Your basic identification and contact information.
Your addresses for the past 3 years.
Your National Insurance Number (NIN), which is optional but helps in ID verification.
Afterwards, unless you have a British passport, you'll need to send your original Identification documents to the DVLA office in your city along with a personal photo, passport-style, and a return envelope. This will cost you £34, payable by card at the end of the process.
Learner Permit UK
You can get a learner permit UK. However, you have to be at least 15 years and nine months old to get one. Also, you’re not legally allowed to start learning how to drive without a provisional licence, so you’re going to have to pay a first payment of £34.00 if you pay online or £43.00 if you apply by post. The next fee to pay will be for your theory test.
What if you Cannot Apply Online for your UK Driving Licence as a Student?
So, if you cannot apply online, how do you get a driving licence in UK? If you are unable to apply online, there is a post option. You'll need to fill in the D1 form available in specific post office branches and on the official website, then post it to their address, along with your original ID documents, your photo and a £43 cheque or postal order.
Within 3 weeks, you'll receive your provisional licence, and your identity documents will be returned separately within the same duration of time. In the meantime, you should be preparing for the theory and practical tests you'll take once you've received the provisional licence.
Driver’s Licence Theoretical Test
Part of how to get a driving licence in UK is the theoretical test. It consists of two parts that are taken at the same time: multiple choice and hazard perception. In order to get a test certificate, you have to pass the two parts.
The test will require proof of your knowledge of these three books:
The Highway Code
Know Your Traffic Signs
Driving - The Essential Skills
You'll find them at your local bookshop or online, and you'll need to take mock exams on the website to familiarise yourself with the test format. When you feel fully prepared to take the test, you can book a session on the DVLA website, enter your provisional licence details, and pay £23 by credit or debit card. They will later contact you with information regarding the following step. Just don't forget your provisional licence card on the day of the exam!
Driver’s Licence Practical Test
The practical test is an important part of how to get driving licence in UK. It includes an eyesight check, safety questions about yourself and the car, and around 40 minutes of driving, involving a section of independent driving.
How can you prepare for the practical test?
The primary condition in learning to drive is to be supervised, and you'll have two options to be able to master driving before exam day:
You can either learn with a friend or family member, as long as they meet these requirements:
They are 21 and older.
They are qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn on.
Has had a driving licence from the European Economic Area for more than 3 years. However, this option will not allow you to drive on motorways.
The second option is to have a driving instructor certified by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This will allow you to practice on motorways.
Whichever option you choose, you must make sure that the car you are practising with is insured for a learner. Make sure you have your two red L bumper stickers for Learner put on the rear and the front of the car so other drivers know that you're still learning.
The last step will be taking the practical driving test by booking it on the website, where you'll fill in your information as well as your instructor's details. After choosing the time and place of the test, you'll be required to pay £62. Instructions will be sent to you about the test's details. Remember to take your theory test result and your provisional licence, or you will not be able to take the test!
Congratulations! You now know how to get driving licence in UK. Once you get insurance for your vehicle, you're ready to hit the road! All of these steps are important in order to ensure that you’re doing to drive safely and without any problems. We all know the problems and accidents people face on the road, so be safe!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can international students get a driver's licence in the UK?
Yes, international students can get a driver’s licence in the United Kingdom. You have to be at least 17 years old and have been residing in the United Kingdom for over 6 months.
2. Can foreigners get provisional licences in the UK?
You don’t have to be a British citizen in order to apply for a provisional licence in the United Kingdom. You just need proof that you’ve been living in the United Kingdom for at least 185 days. Also, you need to provide your address for the last three years.
3. How long can I drive in the UK with a foreign licence?
If you hold a foreign licence and are now a resident in the United Kingdom, you can use it for up to 12 months with your current licence. Within these 12 months, you will need to take and pass both your theory and practical driver's examination to continue driving in the UK.