You’ve been driving for a while now in your home country. But now you’re heading off to the UK to study for the next 3-years at least. You might be thinking about leasing a car in the UK once you get there. However, you’re unsure whether your license would work.

If you are wondering whether you can drive as an international student with your non-UK driving license, or wanting to learn how to drive in the UK, then read on.

Firstly, there are different laws on whether you can drive in the UK as an international student depending on where you are from. If you’re an EU/EEA student there are different rules as a non-EU/EEA student. As well as the types on non-EU/EEA student you are, different rules can apply.

EU/EEA Countries

eu international student driving in the uk

As an EU citizen who holds a valid driving license from one of the 28 EU member countries, you are permitted to drive in the UK. Likewise, as an EEA citizen from one of the EEA countries; Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. You are also permitted to drive in the UK as long as you hold a valid license to.

If you don’t hold a valid driving license but are from one of the EU/EEA countries, you can take driving tests in the UK. This only applies once you’ve been studying in the UK for at least 185 days.

Non-EU/EEA Countries

international student driving in the uk rest of the world

However, if you aren’t from an EU/EEA country then different rules apply. There also 2 types of non-EU/EEA countries in this case:

Designated countries’ can apply to exchange their driving license for a UK one for up 5 years. These countries include Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

As a ‘non-designated country’ or If you don’t hold a valid driving license, then you will have to apply for a provisional UK license and take driving test. Just like any other UK national who’s learning to drive themselves. But you will have to be living in the UK for at least 6 months. 

 

Driving in the UK as an International Student

I understand it can sound quite complicated when first reading up on this. I hope this clears things for you slightly. So now you’re on the UK roads. If not, don’t worry. They’re plenty of other cheap travel option for students in the UK.

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