Author Topic: More info about driving in UK?  (Read 833 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.
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UPS conf of docs arrival: 06 Nov 17
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MP's office told no non-straightforward flags on our case; processing to be completed by following week: 18 Jan 18
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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

Offline 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."
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Offline jessmed3

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 10:39:20 AM »
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.   

#1 Procrastinator here. I come up on my 12 months in late June and I haven't researched nearly enough clearly. I didn't realize the provisional required so much time and sending away original documents! Of course I'm about to need my passport for the next 3 weeks. Do you know if it's possible for me to start scheduling practical and theory test so I at least have a spot or am I just going to have to wait on the provisional coming back? (Also is there an expedited way to get the provisional?) thank you!!

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Offline ksand24

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 10:58:02 AM »
Unfortunately you can’t book any tests without the provisional licence, as you need to give the licence number when you book it.

You also have to pass the theory test before you can book the practical test.

I don’t believe there’s any way to expedite the provisional licence application.


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Offline KFdancer

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2018, 10:58:38 AM »
#1 Procrastinator here. I come up on my 12 months in late June and I haven't researched nearly enough clearly. I didn't realize the provisional required so much time and sending away original documents! Of course I'm about to need my passport for the next 3 weeks. Do you know if it's possible for me to start scheduling practical and theory test so I at least have a spot or am I just going to have to wait on the provisional coming back? (Also is there an expedited way to get the provisional?) thank you!!

 [smiley=anxious.gif]

You need the provisional license to book, but you can start studying for the theory test so you can take it straight away.

They'll need your BRP for the provisional application.  It'll come back very quick (couple of weeks max).

Offline jessmed3

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2018, 11:34:55 AM »
Thank you @ksand24 and @KFdancer . I will get that sent off as soon as I'm back from my holiday. If it's 10 weeks to sit a theory as previous poster said, I'll be in trouble but maybe I drive a bit to find a slower testing site. I guess worse comes to worse I just go over my deadline have to be a big "L" until I can get licensed.

I also may try to schedule some lessons to see if I can do that in advance on my American license. (?) will see what they say...I may not be able to without provisional.

Let me be the cautionary tale! Listen to these pros when they say get that provisional license asap :)
Application: April 5
Biometrics: April 13
Received: April 19
Decision email: June 6
Decision: June 8 -- APPROVED! 😊
Arrived in UK: June 24, 2017 🇬🇧🇺🇸

Offline KFdancer

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2018, 12:53:10 PM »
Thank you @ksand24 and @KFdancer . I will get that sent off as soon as I'm back from my holiday. If it's 10 weeks to sit a theory as previous poster said, I'll be in trouble but maybe I drive a bit to find a slower testing site. I guess worse comes to worse I just go over my deadline have to be a big "L" until I can get licensed.

I also may try to schedule some lessons to see if I can do that in advance on my American license. (?) will see what they say...I may not be able to without provisional.

Let me be the cautionary tale! Listen to these pros when they say get that provisional license asap :)

You can do lessons anytime.

Remember, it's not just the L plates.  You also can only drive with a passenger that has held their full UK license for a minimum of 3 years and no driving on motorways.  I know it's bizarre, but you won't be covered by your insurance (who will happily continue to take your premium) if you have an accident.

Offline Ktstarrs

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2018, 09:14:41 PM »
You can do lessons anytime.

Remember, it's not just the L plates.  You also can only drive with a passenger that has held their full UK license for a minimum of 3 years and no driving on motorways.  I know it's bizarre, but you won't be covered by your insurance (who will happily continue to take your premium) if you have an accident.

I know this is a few months late but I have been skimming these threads since I am planning to buy a car soon. My insurance will cover me driving in the UK on my US license but wont cover me once I get the UK provisional? I've had 2 lessons so far in the UK and one instructor told me that once I get my UK provisional license, then I wont be able to drive on my US license and I will be restricted to a L driver (even if my year isnt up). Based on these threads, it seems like this might not be true?
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Offline KFdancer

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2018, 11:18:51 AM »
I know this is a few months late but I have been skimming these threads since I am planning to buy a car soon. My insurance will cover me driving in the UK on my US license but wont cover me once I get the UK provisional? I've had 2 lessons so far in the UK and one instructor told me that once I get my UK provisional license, then I wont be able to drive on my US license and I will be restricted to a L driver (even if my year isnt up). Based on these threads, it seems like this might not be true?

The instructor gave you incorrect information.  While you will hold a UK provisional license, it will NOT null and void your USA license.  So you'll be driving on a "full foreign license" that first year and not need L plates, etc.

Offline durhamlad

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Re: More info about driving in UK?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2018, 04:00:05 PM »
The instructor gave you incorrect information.  While you will hold a UK provisional license, it will NOT null and void your USA license.  So you'll be driving on a "full foreign license" that first year and not need L plates, etc.

+1

Our son got his provisional licence shortly after arriving last September from Texas (he already had a British Passport so this step was easy for him), took 3 lessons with a driving instructor to become familiar with driving here (roundabouts in rush hour city traffic!!) and then spent a few months driving to and from work and recently passed his theory test and has started lessons a week ago with the aim of how to pass the test. I wish he would get on with it as he now only has 5 months left to get it.
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