Blogs > Life in the UK / Useful Information

How to get a UK driving licence

  • July 04, 2018

Can I use my licence from my home country?

Visitors over 17 years of age, with a valid driving permit issued elsewhere in the world, may drive a passenger vehicle in the UK for up to 12 months.

What about after twelve months?

If you want to receive a UK driving licence, you will first need to apply for a provisional licence.

For the purposes of any children you may have - UK law states that you must be 17 years of age to drive a car, but if you want to ride a motorcycle or moped you only need to be sixteen.

Step 1: Provisional Licence

Applicants can apply online and must:

  • Be a resident of Great Britain
  • Meet minimum age and eyesight requirements
  • Not be prevented from driving for any reason
  • Possess a valid passport or another form of identity

Cost: £34 (online) £43 (by post)

Step 2: Learning to drive

Once you have your provisional licence, you can now begin learning how to drive. It is advised that you should be taught by an approved driving instructor, but you can always practice with friends and relatives under certain conditions. Learners must always have “L” plates displayed prominently on both the back and front of a vehicle when driving.

Cost of driving lessons

There is no established cost for driving lessons – the prices vary from driving instructor to the area of the country and some people will require more lessons than others. But to exemplify, the average cost of a driving lesson in Bristol is £28.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) does not require a minimum number of lessons, but the average person will need 25 hours of practice.

However, if you are an international doctor who has previously driven in your home country you will need much less than the average of 25 hours. You will not need to learn the mechanisms of the car, but simply the UK’s driving rules, such as speed signs, road signs and learning to drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Step 3: Theory Exam

The theory examination comprises of two parts, the first is a 50-question multiple choice test that covers everything from road signs to road safety questions. You will need to get 43 out of 50 questions right within 57 minutes in order to pass.

The second part of the theory exam is a hazard perception test, where you must identify 15 hazards in a series of short video clips. The faster you are able to identify the hazards, the higher you will score. You will need to score a minimum of 44 out of 75 to pass.

You must pass both parts of the test to proceed to the practical exam, which must be taken within two years of passing the theory test.

Click here to book your theory test.

Cost: £23

Step 4: Driving Test

Your driving test will be made up of three parts:

  1. Eyesight check – you will have to read a licence plate at 20 metres. If you fail the eyesight test, you will be unable to continue with the exam.
  2. Vehicle Safety Questions – this is also known as the “show me, tell me” questions.
  3. Once you have passed the first two stages you will then go on to be tested on your driving ability. During the test, the examiner will ask you to conduct different manoeuvres in different road and traffic conditions, such as reversing and parking. You will also be asked to drive without instruction. The practical part of the exam will last around 40 minutes.

You should note that from December 2017 changes to the practical test came into effect to try and bring the format up to date by including modern driving styles and technology. This will include satnav challenges, tweaks to the manoeuvres, longer independent driving sections and an expanded distraction test.

During your test, you can make 15 minor errors before you fail. However, you will only be allowed to make one major mistake, such as speeding.

Click here to book your driving test.

Cost: £62 on weekdays or £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Top Tips for passing your driving test

  1. Observations at junctions

Poor observations at junctions is one of the top 10 reasons that people fail their driving test.

Always make sure it’s safe before proceeding.

  1. Use of mirrors

Another one of the top 10 reasons people fail their driving test is because they did not use their mirrors.

Remember you need to use both your rear-view mirror and wing mirrors – and remember to react to the information! People are often caught out because they pull out without a mirror check, they increase their speed without a mirror check or check their mirrors too late.

  1. Stay Calm

Almost everyone gets nervous about their driving test, but to pass it is important to keep your nerves under control.

Try these things to help:

  • Make sure you get a good nights’ sleep before your test – you will feel more stressed if you are tired
  • Avoid caffeine before your test – it might make you feel jittery and nervous
  • Ask your examiner if there is anything you are not sure about – remember, they want to make sure you are safe on the road – they are not trying to catch you out
  1. Make sure you know how your test works

You will feel more relaxed if you know exactly how the test works.

So why don’t you try watching a YouTube video or read the guide about what happens during the test?

Good Luck!

If you are an IMG who would like to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS get in contact with us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor to gain access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and to meet other IMG’s.


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