Now, exchange your UAE driving licence for a UK one

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Filed on May 27, 2021

Driver licences issued in the European Economic Area (EEA) are also valid in Britain.

Britain's driver licencing authorities have included the UAE and three other countries in the list of territories whose citizens will not be required to pass another driving test if they move and reside in the United Kingdom (UK).

The decision to include the UAE, Taiwan, Ukraine and the Republic of North Macedonia in the list of 22 countries for the exchange of drivers licences from May 20 was taken following a public consultation held in November and December 2020.

The standards required to pass in countries in the list are assessed to be as stringent as in Britain that includes clearing practical and theoretical tests.

Driver licences issued in the European Economic Area (EEA) are valid in Britain, while none of the countries in the Indian subcontinent figure in the list.

The list of 22 countries and territories includes Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Republic of North Macedonia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, the UAE and Zimbabwe.

Driving licences issued by countries outside the EEA such as India and Pakistan are only valid for driving in Britain for one year; after this period, the driver must obtain a British licence.

According to the Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), there were 83 responses to the consultation with a large majority supporting the proposal to exchange licences with the four countries.

The most common reason given, it said, was that testing standards for the specified vehicle categories are equivalent and so there is no value in requiring the driver to repeat a test to get a British licence.

The DVLA said it has procedures in place to identify potential issues.

It said: "Countries/territories are notified when one of their licences is exchanged and are expected to advise if there appears to be an issue e.g., there is no official record of that licence holder. Evidence of repeated issues with exchangeable licences will be raised with the relevant licensing authority and exchange arrangements reviewed if necessary."

It added: "We consider that any risks with allowing the exchange of licences issued by these countries/ territories for the specified vehicles are low and do not justify withholding the benefits that it would provide to individual licence holders."

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