You need to have a valid driving licence to drive in the UK. Check if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB driving licence.

You must also have motor insurance to drive your vehicle on UK roads: third party insurance is the legal minimum.

Remember to drive on the left! And that distances are measured in miles.

Driving Licence Information

If you plan to drive in the UK make sure you have a valid driving licence.
Check if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB driving licence.
EC/EEA licence holders may drive in the UK as long as they have a full valid car licence until they are 70 or for three years after becoming resident here, whichever is the longer period. At the end of this period you must apply for a British licence (no driving test required). You may also apply for a British licence once you have become resident (normally considered to be after 185 days).
You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.
Non-EC/EEA licence holders can drive in Great Britain on a full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when they became resident.

After 12 months you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and pass the theory and practical driving tests to drive in Great Britain.

If your current driving licence was issued by Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man or a designated country (Andorra, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe) you need to exchange your licence after 12 months – you have 5 years since you become resident to do this.

Applying for a British driving licence

In order to qualify for a full licence you must first apply for a provisional driving licence and then pass the driving test. The provisional licence does not allow you to drive by yourself any longer than the original 12-month period. After the 12-month period, you are only allowed to drive if you hold a provisional licence, carry learner plates (L-plates) on your vehicle and are accompanied by a driver with a full licence in the relevant category for 3 years.
The test will take the form of a two-part theory test (multiple choice and hazard perception) and then a 30-minute driving test.  Regardless of your driving experience, we recommend that you prepare for the theory test using the relevant book from DSA’s Driving Skills series and the Highway Code. It is also advisable to take driving lessons in preparation for the test, especially if you are not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road.

Driving in London

If you decide to drive in London consider that traffic can be very heavy at times, there is a congestion charge to drive in Central London and parking can be expensive.
Congestion Charge
The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone 7:00-18:00 Monday-Friday and 12:00-18:00 Sat-Sun and bank holidays. No charge between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day bank Holiday (inclusive).
If your vehicle does not meet the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standards, you must also pay the ULEZ charge.
The easiest way to pay is by setting up Auto Pay. Exemptions and discounts are available too.
With Auto Pay, we’ll bill you automatically for the number of charging days your vehicle travels within the Congestion Charge area and, if it doesn’t meet the standards, the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Low Emission Zone

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) operates to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in London to become cleaner. The LEZ covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is separate from the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone)
Ultra Low Emission Zone
To help improve air quality, an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December). The zone now covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone.
If your vehicle does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you must pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone.

Parking in London

Parking in London can be difficult, particularly in Central London. If you decide to drive in London, plan ahead by researching car parks near your destination.
Resident Parking Permit
Resident permits are usually required to park your car in your local residential neighbourhood. These are available from your local council and are valid within your borough and for up to one year. Traffic wardens patrol these residential areas regularly and fines are given if you are in a restricted area without the proper parking permit. The parking times and regulations vary from borough to borough and even within the same borough. Some boroughs are even divided along the same street, so your permit may only be valid on one side of the street! Always check the signs before parking if you want to make sure your car will still be there when you return.
Pay and Display Bay
During controlled hours (usually during working hours on Mondays-Fridays, plus weekends in busy areas), you’ll need to pay to park in those bays. Outside these times, you’ll be free to park.

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