If you would like to drive during your time in the UK you must have a valid driving licence. It is an illegal offence to drive without one. Whether you have this or not depends upon the country of issue. To find out if you can drive in the UK, and for how long, you can use the interactive tool. Should you need to exchange your driving licence you can find out how to do so here.
UK legal requirements may also be different from your home country further details can be found here. In the UK the Highway Code documents legal requirements when driving, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the code as driving rules may be very different to the country where your license was issued. For example:
- all passengers in a car must wear a seatbelt when travelling in the front of a car, and in the rear of a car where one is provided
- there are strict laws about drinking alcohol and taking drugs whilst driving
- the use of a handheld mobile phone whilst the engine is running is prohibited
If you do not currently hold a valid licence and wish to apply for one you must hold a provisional licence and take, and pass, a driving test. Further information can be found here.
Even if you hold a licence for driving a car, you will still need to complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course before riding a moped or motorbike in the UK.
It is possible to import your car from overseas to the UK, however it may prove to be costly and there are a number of processes you will have to follow. For detailed guidance go to the government website.
If you wish to drive on the UK’s public roads you must have insurance. The UK offers three different levels of insurance cover:
- Third party – this covers other people involved in an accident, or damage to other people's property or car. Your vehicle is not covered if it is damaged or stolen.
- Third party fire and theft – third party cover plus cover for repairs or replacement if your car is stolen or set on fire.
- Comprehensive – covers everything above and also covers damage to your own car.
Third party cover is not always the cheapest so do get a range of quotes.
There are many insurers so you should obtain and number of quotes before purchasing. Common comparison websites include;
An MOT is an annual check to ensure that the vehicle is legally roadworthy and meets environmental standards. It is a legal requirement for vehicles over 3 years old to have a valid MOT certificate.
Most garages offer MOT services. It is advisable to ensure that the garage is an approved MOT centre.
Vehicle tax Road tax (vehicle excise duty) is a legal requirement to drive on UK public roads. Tax can be obtained online or at the post office.
You can hire a car from a number of rental agencies such as: