Author Topic: More info about driving in UK?  (Read 208 times)

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Offline tiff

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More info about driving in UK?
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:41:03 PM »
I'm struggling to find online info for expats getting UK DL--can anyone point me in the right direction?

I have a valid US DL and am anticipating moving to NI with a spousal/partner visa in the next few months. Trying to understand what I'll need to do from start to finish (driving tests, getting the L or R sticker(?), how much time I have to do all of this, etc.).

Basically, I don't know if I just need to follow the steps for getting a UK license for any "new" driver, or if I get some sort of credit for being an experienced driver in another country and get to skip a few steps.
Unmarried partner visa, non-priority
Online application: 27 Oct 17
Biometrics: 02 Nov 17
Docs sent via UPS: 03 Nov 17
UPS conf of docs arrival: 06 Nov 17
Sheffield conf of app received: 06 Nov 17
MP's office told no non-straightforward flags on our case; processing to be completed by following week: 18 Jan 18
Non-straightforward email: 22 Jan 18 :(
Decision made email: 25 Jan 2018
Docs returned: 29 Jan 2018
Status: APPROVED! :D

Offline ksand24

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 06:59:26 PM »
You can drive on your US licence with no restrictions for up to 12 months from the date you move to the UK.

You have until the end of those 12 months to pass all the UK driving tests and gain a full UK licence. If you do not get your UK licence by the end of the 12 months you will no longer be able to drive on your US licence and therefore will be treated like a learner driver, meaning L or R plates on the car, always being accompanied by a UK licenced driver etc.

You don't get to skip any steps, unfortunately... US licence holders have to go through the same procedure for getting a licence as new learner drivers in the UK. The only difference is that if you do it within those first 12 months, you can legally drive on your US licence until you get the UK one, so you don't have to drive under 'learner' rules.

Offline tiff

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 07:07:17 PM »
Ok, that's helpful! So you're saying if I get my s*** together within the first 12 months of getting my visa, I don't have to feel like a 15-year-old again with all the driving restrictions? That's all I meant by "skipping steps"--skipping the L/R sticker, being able to drive faster than 45 mph and on motorways, and not having to have a licensed driver with me all the time....
Unmarried partner visa, non-priority
Online application: 27 Oct 17
Biometrics: 02 Nov 17
Docs sent via UPS: 03 Nov 17
UPS conf of docs arrival: 06 Nov 17
Sheffield conf of app received: 06 Nov 17
MP's office told no non-straightforward flags on our case; processing to be completed by following week: 18 Jan 18
Non-straightforward email: 22 Jan 18 :(
Decision made email: 25 Jan 2018
Docs returned: 29 Jan 2018
Status: APPROVED! :D

Online Rick Stephens

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 07:07:43 PM »
I'm one of those in the process of getting my UK license. I have the provisional license and just passed the theory and hazard perception tests on Tuesday. Lessons scheduled already and then......the driving test!


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Offline tiff

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 07:10:05 PM »
I'm one of those in the process of getting my UK license. I have the provisional license and just passed the theory and hazard perception tests on Tuesday. Lessons scheduled already and then......the driving test!

Great to hear! Can you tell me all the steps you have been/will be required to go through?

Also, what does provisional license mean exactly?
Unmarried partner visa, non-priority
Online application: 27 Oct 17
Biometrics: 02 Nov 17
Docs sent via UPS: 03 Nov 17
UPS conf of docs arrival: 06 Nov 17
Sheffield conf of app received: 06 Nov 17
MP's office told no non-straightforward flags on our case; processing to be completed by following week: 18 Jan 18
Non-straightforward email: 22 Jan 18 :(
Decision made email: 25 Jan 2018
Docs returned: 29 Jan 2018
Status: APPROVED! :D

Offline ksand24

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 07:20:59 PM »
Also, what does provisional license mean exactly?

It's kind of like a Learner's Permit. It is required to have one in order for you to take the UK theory and practical tests, though as you already have a valid US licence, you don't need it to actually drive.

However, I would apply for one as soon as you can (you'll need to send off your passport and/or BRP for it), so you can get started on getting the full UK licence.

Offline jfkimberly

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 07:32:39 PM »
Great to hear! Can you tell me all the steps you have been/will be required to go through?

Also, what does provisional license mean exactly?

As for timing, be aware:

It takes a few weeks to get your provisional license sent to you when you apply for it.  It can take longer if you have to disclose any medical conditions and they want to follow up with your GP/physician back in the US.

Once you have your provisional license, you can book the theory test.  For me, there was a 10-week wait before a test slot was available for my theory test.  Some test centers are busier than others.

You are encouraged to take driving lessons.  Yes, we all know how to drive, and yes, it is easy to resent the instructor during lessons.  But the lessons are meant to teach you how to pass the test, which is not merely driving, and it is something you will want to know.  I did three 2-hour lessons, and then paid to use my instructor's car on the day of the practical test.  Allow time in your timeline for these lessons.

When you are ready, book your test.  Similar to my theory test, I had to book my practical at least 6 weeks in advance.  Allow for this in your timeline.

--

Ideally, you would get started on these steps as soon as you have moved over and have proof of residence.  Definitely get started by the six-month mark if you don't want to run the risk of becoming a "learner driver."
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
Now just waiting out the clock for ILR.