As my eldest turns 14 is exactly 2 months, and as Brexit is around the corner (I know, these seem completely unrelated…), I’ve been thinking it is time to dig more information about UK driving licenses – both for her and for me! So here are the results of my research.
For new drivers:
- The minimum age to apply for a provisional driving license is 15 years and 9 months old. This license on its own will only allow you to ride mopeds until you’re 17, but you need it to start taking driving lessons and take your driving theory test then. It costs £34.
- You can start driving a car when you are 17 , as long as 1/you’re supervised by a driving instructor or by family or friends (over 21 and having had their full driving license for 3 years), 2/ you’re insured and 3/ you’ve got a “L” displayed at the rear window of the car. So in theory if you want to save money you could not pay for driving lessons at all and teach your kids how to drive all by yourself … on the road… oh my God!!! I will never look at these “L” cars the same way again… You can even record your driving experience here.
- You can book your theory test when you are 17 (for £23). The test has two parts: a multiple-choice test, with 50 questions over 57 minutes – you need 43 correct to pass; and a hazard perception test, where you see videos and you need to click the mouse when you see a hazard developing (did you get the chicken crossing the road one too???). You need to score 44 out of 75. Here is the recommended material to practise your theory test.
- Once you have passed your theory test, you need to pass you practical test within two years. Booking a practical test costs between £62 and £75 – and I guess the test is very similar to what we’ve experienced in France, in the old days…
- And that’s it! Once you’ve passed your text you can start driving immediately, and you don’t even have the obligation to put a “P” plate on the rear window of your car, hurrah!!!
For existing drivers:
- If your existing license if from a EU or EEA country, your don’t need to do anything – your existing license is valid in the UK and does not need to be exchanged (we’ll see how Brexit changes that but I don’t think this will be a priority on the political agenda) .
- For other countries, your foreign driving license is valid in the UK for a year and after this period you will need to either exchange it for a UK license if your country has exchange agreements; or pass your practical test again – arrgghhh…
So in conclusion… I personally have nothing to do for the moment, bliss!