Exchanging a Foreign Licence

How to exchange an overseas driving licence for a UK one, whether from a country with a third-party agreement or the EU/EEA...

Licences which qualify for exchange can be easily exchanged by post for a small fee. To make the exchange for a GB licence, complete a D1 form. D1 forms are available at most Post Offices, or can be ordered via the GOV.UK website.

The following documents are also required:

  • An original passport, travel document or national identity card
  • A passport-sized colour photograph
  • A fee paid by cheque or postal order, made payable to DLVA Swansea
  • A current driving licence, which will be returned to the issuing licencing authority

Additional documents may be required, depending on the issuing country of the applicant's existing licence.

All documents and the D1 form must then be sent to the following address:

  • DVLA
    Swansea
    SA99 1BT

The new GB driving licence is usually returned within three weeks. The original licence is sent back to the foreign issuing authorities.

EU-issued Licences

Holders of an EU-issued licence do not have to apply for an equivalent GB licence until five years after becoming resident, unless they reach the age of 45 before the five year period, or reach age 65 within one year of residency. A D4 medical report form must accompany the exchange application for all applicants age 45 and over.

As of January 2013, EU licence holders can only renew their driving licence in their country of residence. If the holder of a non-UK EU licence renews it in the UK, it will be effectively exchanged for a UK licence.

Special Cases

Licence exchange applications for permits issued in Japan or the Republic of Korea must include an official translation. This can be provided by the national embassy or consulate in London.

Motorists with a Canadian driving licence must provide proof that a manual car test was passed from the issuing authority or an approved driving school. Otherwise, the UK licence will only allow automatic vehicles to be driven.

South Africans will be unable to exchange their licence if they are using a "book of life" ID instead of a valid credit card style licence. A letter of entitlement to a credit card licence is also acceptable.

Applicants from the Faroe Islands and the Republic of Korea cannot exchange motorcycle entitlement, and will need to take a test in the UK.

Vocational Licences

If the licence being exchanged is a vocational licence for drivers of lorries, minibuses or buses, the rules are slightly different.

A D2 form must be completed instead of a D1 form.

When exchanging a vocational licence that was issued in Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, the licence holder must also provide a D4 medical report form, completed by a doctor.

Further Information