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Driving abroad post-Brexit

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With Brexit looming, motorists should be aware that the rules for exchanging UK driving licences will change, if or when the UK leaves the EU.

 

UK licence holders living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland

 

If you’re a resident in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), you should exchange your UK licence for a licence from the country in which you live. If there is a no-deal Brexit, then the licence exchange arrangements may cease altogether. To continue driving, you will likely have to take your test again in the country in which you live, so exchanging sooner rather than later may be a good idea. If you live in any of the following countries, you should exchange your licence before we leave the EU: Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Norway and Sweden.

 

Some countries will continue the licence exchanges post-Brexit, but some have more complicated processes. 

 

Estonia Exchange UK licence without a test within one year of registering as a resident in Estonia
France Will recognise the UK licence if you are resident on Brexit day. After Brexit, you will have one year to exchange your licence from the date you become resident
Finland Group 2 and BE licence holders will need to take a driving test to exchange. All others have two years to exchange, either from Brexit date, or the date they are registered as a resident
Belgium To transfer category A2 and specific national categories, you will need to take a driving test before you can exchange. All other licences can be transferred without taking a test
Greece No change. You will still be able to drive on your UK licence post-Brexit
Hungary Exchange your UK licence without taking a test within one year of registering as a resident
Iceland Post-Brexit, you have one year to drive on your UK licence, but can also exchange it without taking a test 
Latvia Exchange your UK licence without taking a test within one year of registering as a resident
Lithuania If you were able to drive in the UK before Brexit, then you won’t need to re-test to exchange your licence to Lithuanian
Malta Exchange your licence without taking a test, within one year of registering as a resident
Netherlands If you register as a resident before we leave, you have 15 months from Brexit date to exchange without a test. If not, you have 185 days to retake your test to get hold of your Dutch licence
Poland Exchange licence (photocard) without taking a test within six months of registering as a resident
Romania Medical examination required before you can exchange, without taking a test. This needs to be within 185 days of Brexit
Slovakia You can exchange without taking a test 
Slovenia UK licence still valid post-Brexit, but you can also exchange without taking a test within one year of registering as a resident. If you can’t exchange your UK licence, you may continue to use it until it expires
Spain Exchange without taking a test within nine months of the Brexit date 
Switzerland You will be able to drive on a UK driving licence for up to 12 months after the UK leaves the EU. After that, you will have to exchange your licence

 

If the country you’re interested in is not listed, then it is likely the criteria for exchanging your licence is slightly more complicated, or has more conditions attached. 

 

UK nationals returning to live in the UK

If you exchanged your UK licence, you will be able to regain it once you return to the UK, as long as you passed your test here, or in a designated country.

UK licence holders visiting the EU, EEA or Switzerland

You will need an International Driving Permit, as well as your UK driving licence, to drive when visiting some EU and EEA countries.

EU drivers who live in the UK after Brexit

 

If you are an EU citizen living in the UK, you can drive on your EU or EEA licence until you are 70. If you are 68 or older when you become a resident, you can drive for three years. After this, you must apply for a UK driving licence. You cannot drive if your licence expires.

 

Different restrictions apply for holders of EU and EEA lorry or bus licences who are (or become) UK residents.

 

If you passed your driving test in the EU or EEA, the UK will continue to exchange your driving licence after Brexit.

 

Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at www.drinkdrugdriving.co.uk.

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