Driving License in UK for International Medical Graduates
If you are an international medical graduate who wants to move to the UK and drive a car, you may have some questions about how to get a driving license, what are the requirements and costs involved, and whether you can use your existing license from another country. This article will try to answer these questions and provide you with some useful information and tips.
What is a driving license?
A driving license is an official document that allows you to drive a motor vehicle on public roads. It also serves as a form of identification and proof of age. In the UK, there are different types of driving licenses for different categories of vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, buses, lorries, etc. You need to have the appropriate license for the vehicle you want to drive.
How to apply for a UK driving license?
To apply for a UK driving license, you need to meet some eligibility criteria, such as:
- You must be at least 17 years old (or 16 if you want to drive a moped or a light quad bike).
- You must be a resident of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). OR have permission for stay for at least 185 days.
- You must have a good level of eyesight (you may need to wear glasses or contact lenses if necessary).
- You must not be disqualified from driving for any reason.
If you meet these criteria, you can apply for a provisional driving license online or by post. A provisional driving license allows you to learn how to drive with a qualified instructor or someone who has held a full driving license for at least three years. You cannot drive alone with a provisional license.
To apply online, you need to have:
- A valid UK passport or another form of identity
- A valid email address
- A debit or credit card to pay the £34 fee
You can apply online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence
How to get a full UK driving license?
To get a full UK driving license, you need to pass two tests: a theory test and a practical test. You can book these tests online or by phone.
The theory test consists of two parts: multiple-choice questions and hazard perception. You need to score at least 43 out of 50 on the multiple-choice questions and at least 44 out of 75 on the hazard perception part. The theory test costs £23 and lasts about an hour.
The practical test assesses your ability to drive safely and competently on different road conditions and situations. You need to demonstrate your knowledge of the Highway Code, your control of the vehicle, your awareness of other road users, and your decision-making skills. The practical test costs £62 on weekdays or £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays. It lasts about 40 minutes.
You can book your theory test at https://www.gov.uk/book-theory-test
You can book your practical test at https://www.gov.uk/book-driving-test
You can also find more information and tips on how to prepare for these tests at https://www.gov.uk/learn-to-drive-a-car
Can I use my non-UK driving license in the UK?
If you have a valid driving license from another country, you may be able to use it in the UK for a limited period of time, depending on where you got it from, typically for a 12 month period.
If you have a license from an EU or EEA country (or Switzerland), you can use it in the UK until it expires or until you reach 70 years old (whichever is sooner). However, after 31 December 2020, this may change due to Brexit. You should check the latest updates at https://www.gov.uk/driving-in-the-eu
If you have a license from any other country, you can use it in the UK for up to 12 months from when you become a resident. After that, you need to apply for a UK driving license.
Driving in UK with USA license
If you have a valid USA driving license, you may wonder if you can use it to drive in the UK. The answer depends on how long you plan to stay and whether you are a visitor or a resident. According to the UK government website1, visitors can drive in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) with their USA license for up to 12 months from when they last entered the country. However, residents need to exchange their USA license for a UK one within 12 months of becoming a resident.
To be considered a resident, you need to have a permanent address in Great Britain that you have lived in for at least 185 days. If you do not exchange your USA license for a UK one within the time limit, you will need to apply for a provisional license and pass the theory and practical tests in the UK. You may also face penalties for driving without a valid license or insurance. Therefore, it is advisable to check your eligibility and the requirements for exchanging your license before you drive in the UK. You can find more information and guidance at https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence