Author Topic: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?  (Read 1510 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline londonbos

  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: Jan 2015
  • Liked: 0
Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« on: October 29, 2016, 06:03:05 PM »
Hi,

I've been in the UK for many years and never felt the need for a driver's licence but now I would like one.

I keep reading about "exchanging" a US licence to obtain a UK one but I would like it to just obtain a UK licence while still keeping my US one. Is this possible?

And if so, what would be the procedure for applying for a UK licence as a US expat? Do I need to take the same amount of lessons as a new driver?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Offline lyonaria

  • *
  • Posts: 2505
  • Joined: Jun 2014
  • Location: Derbyshire, UK
  • Liked: 326
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 06:41:13 PM »
Hey!

There is no such thing as "exchanging" a US license for a UK one. You had one year from your date of entry into the UK to drive on your US license before you needed to take the Theory and Practical tests for a UK license.

You will need to decide if you want to take your test for Automatic or Manual. If you do Automatic only you aren't licensed to drive any manual until you take the practical test again in a manual car.

Now, you must apply for a UK provisional license before you can take either test. I definitely suggest getting a study guide for the theory test, it's two tests in one.

And either taking lessons with a driving instructor or doing a driving intensive. The UK way of driving is very different from how we tend to drive in the US.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline londonbos

  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: Jan 2015
  • Liked: 0
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2016, 06:51:39 PM »
Well the question was raised when I submitted my application for my provisional and after submitting, the submit message said "cut up your old licence". I certainly do not want to forfeit a US licence for a UK one since I will be moving back to the US in a couple years but after living in the UK for 16 years and being pretty familiar w/the system (and how we drive here) and needing to rent a car now and again, thought it would be good to have my UK licence as well.

So, I wonder what the "cut up your old licence" means?!

Offline lyonaria

  • *
  • Posts: 2505
  • Joined: Jun 2014
  • Location: Derbyshire, UK
  • Liked: 326
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2016, 07:08:18 PM »
That's weird. I don't remember seeing that when I applied online for mine. You can have a valid US license and a valid UK license no problem. You just aren't allowed to drive on your US one anymore here in the UK.

Just some advice put in for your theory test and practical earlier than you think. It regularly takes a month to get a theory test where I am and that's in the East Midlands. Getting your UK license isn't a quick thing. 😵
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline KFdancer

  • *
  • Posts: 9255
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
  • Liked: 1722
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2016, 07:15:43 PM »
Well the question was raised when I submitted my application for my provisional and after submitting, the submit message said "cut up your old licence". I certainly do not want to forfeit a US licence for a UK one since I will be moving back to the US in a couple years but after living in the UK for 16 years and being pretty familiar w/the system (and how we drive here) and needing to rent a car now and again, thought it would be good to have my UK licence as well.

So, I wonder what the "cut up your old licence" means?!

No need to cut up your old license.  However, it's very unlikely that your US license is still valid.  This depends on the state of course.  But most states consider your license invalid if you've lived abroad for x amount of time (often one year).  Just be prepared that when you move back, you'll likely have to retake the US test (though MUCH easier than the UK one).

Offline lyonaria

  • *
  • Posts: 2505
  • Joined: Jun 2014
  • Location: Derbyshire, UK
  • Liked: 326
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2016, 07:19:00 PM »
Oh, and definitely take one lesson for sure with a driving instructor. They should have you drive with them and let you know what they think you need to work on and how long it will be before you are ready to take your test. ☺

The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline londonbos

  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: Jan 2015
  • Liked: 0
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2016, 07:44:43 PM »
That's weird. I don't remember seeing that when I applied online for mine. You can have a valid US license and a valid UK license no problem. You just aren't allowed to drive on your US one anymore here in the UK.

Just some advice put in for your theory test and practical earlier than you think. It regularly takes a month to get a theory test where I am and that's in the East Midlands. Getting your UK license isn't a quick thing. 😵

Perhaps it was just a generic message meant for people renewing. As long as it doesn't affect my ability to use my licence stateside (not really sure how it legally could anyway when I think about it!)

Did you find the practical test difficult? Reading horror stories everywhere about it!

Offline londonbos

  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: Jan 2015
  • Liked: 0
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2016, 07:51:13 PM »
No need to cut up your old license.  However, it's very unlikely that your US license is still valid.  This depends on the state of course.  But most states consider your license invalid if you've lived abroad for x amount of time (often one year).  Just be prepared that when you move back, you'll likely have to retake the US test (though MUCH easier than the UK one).

Hi KFdancer -  I renew my licence in the US (using my US address - my Mum's address) each time it expires (every 10 years). So how would they know otherwise if I'm driving in the UK? Are you suggesting that the UK would somehow contact the USDMV to invalidate my US licence? Seems a little crazy even now thinking about that.

Offline lyonaria

  • *
  • Posts: 2505
  • Joined: Jun 2014
  • Location: Derbyshire, UK
  • Liked: 326
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2016, 08:25:12 PM »
I don't have mine yet...

The theory test questions throw me in how they asked the question so I was close to passing but not quite...

I've done driving lessons with an instructor in a Manual because I drove one back in the States and didn't want to take the test again to drive any car. 😖 When I get nervous I fall back on a lot of US habits I have that are NOT okay for driving here. All of which are fine to do AFTER I get my license, but won't help me actually get it. So I am commuting by train to my work for now and the stupid time to wake up is an impetus to get this done!
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline vadio

  • *
  • Posts: 1115
  • Joined: Jun 2011
  • Location: Congleton, Cheshire
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 27
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2016, 09:03:20 AM »
It definitely depends on the state. Some don't care; some (VA is one) require you to report any change of address within 30 days, and also specify that a license is ONLY issued to a resident of VA. If you use a relative's address, you could face criminal prosecution. (I know that sounds harsh, but that's the way it is there.)

You also need to be aware that retaining a US license can be used to deem you resident for state tax purposes. Again, this varies by state, but is something you need to consider if you don't intend to return to the US in the foreseeable future.
Married December 1992 (my 'old flame' whom I first met in the mid-70s)
1st move to UK - 1993 (Letter of Consent granted at British Embassy in Washington DC)
ILR - 1994 (1 year later - no fee way back then!)
Back to US in 2000
Returned to UK July 2011 (Spousal Visa/KOL endorsement)
ILR - September 2011
Application for naturalization submitted July 2014
Approval received 15-10-14; ceremony scheduled for 10 November!
Passport arrived 25 November 2014. Finally done!

Offline Sirius

  • *
  • Posts: 2121
  • Joined: Sep 2014
  • Liked: 194
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2016, 03:27:57 PM »
but after living in the UK for 16 years and being pretty familiar w/the system (and how we drive here) and needing to rent a car now and again, thought it would be good to have my UK licence as well.

Unless you are driving on a UK provisional licence, with L plates, a UK driver beside you and not driving on M roads, then you are not allowed to drive in the UK.

From what you have said, your time to drive on your US licence in the UK, expired 15 years ago.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 03:28:58 PM by Sirius »

Offline jimbocz

  • *
  • Posts: 3050
  • Joined: Sep 2015
  • Liked: 634
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2016, 04:28:14 PM »
Unless you are driving on a UK provisional licence, with L plates, a UK driver beside you and not driving on M roads, then you are not allowed to drive in the UK.

From what you have said, your time to drive on your US licence in the UK, expired 15 years ago.

I'd guess that because you are driving illegally , if you were to have an accident your insurance would not pay.  That could be pretty expensive .

Offline KFdancer

  • *
  • Posts: 9255
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
  • Liked: 1722
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2016, 04:31:40 PM »
I'd guess that because you are driving illegally , if you were to have an accident your insurance would not pay.  That could be pretty expensive .

Yeah, it happened to a member here.  She thought the reentry stamp reset her clock each time for the 12 month requirement.  Her insurance company happily took her money each month but when she was hit by someone else, they told her that her insurance wasn't valid and she was hit with a £9,000 bill.   :o

Offline ksand24

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 17766
  • Joined: Jan 2007
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 1525
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2016, 04:35:59 PM »
I'd guess that because you are driving illegally , if you were to have an accident your insurance would not pay.  That could be pretty expensive .

Not only that, but if you were pulled over by the police, you could be charged with both driving without a valid licence and also driving without valid insurance.

Edited to add: This is actually a standard thing - if you are stopped for drink-driving, for example, and are found to be over the limit, you will be charged with 3 offences:
1) Driving under the influence
2) Driving without a valid licence
3) Driving without valid insurance

Then, you have so many days to provide evidence of your valid licence and your valid insurance and they will drop the 2nd and 3rd charges (this happened to me when I was stopped in 2007).
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 04:39:12 PM by ksand24 »

Offline Californiaguy

  • *
  • Posts: 174
  • Joined: Jun 2009
  • Liked: 5
Re: Can I have both a UK and a US licence?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 09:45:08 AM »
I have both a UK Driving Licence and a California Drivers license. Never was I asked to get rid of the Cal one when I passed my UK driving test. Whenever my California one is up for renewal every 5 years, I simply renew it by going over for a friends and family visit. No laws on either side of the Atlantic are being broken. It's fine.