Dubai: Here’s good news for UAE driving licence holders who want to drive in the United Kingdom: Your UAE driving licence can now be exchanged for a British one. This means, there is no need to take another driving test in the UK.
The decision came into effect on May 20 this year, following a series of public consultations by the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This change, however, will apply only in England, Scotland and Wales. Driver licensing is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly will consider amendments to the law in Northern Ireland.
Prior to the amendment, a UAE driving licence was valid for only one year in the UK. After that period, the driver needed to obtain a British licence and he or she had to take theory and practical driving tests in the UK. The entire procedure could cost up to Dh5,000, depending upon one’s driving skills.
Following requests from various governments, DVLA has considered allowing specified licences that were issued in the UAE, Ukraine, Taiwan and Republic of North Macedonia to be exchanged for the British equivalent if holders of such licences became residents. The DVLA asked for public views and there were 83 responses, with 73 in favour of the proposal. The consultation ran between November 26 and December 23 last year and the result was published on GOV.UK and brought to the attention of 17 organisations with an interest or responsibility within motoring, driver licensing and road safety parameters.
DVLA noted: “As driving tests in these countries/territories meet GB [Great Britain] standards, requiring drivers to undergo a driving test here to get a GB licence represents an unnecessary burden. The consultation responses overwhelmingly supported this. There may also be benefits to GB licence holders from the reciprocal arrangements that will allow them to exchange their licence for one issued in these countries/territories. The legislation supporting this change will come into force on 20 May 2021.”
Now, licences to drive specified categories of vehicles issued in the UAE, Ukraine, Taiwan and North Macedonia can be exchanged for a British equivalent without the need to take a driving test in the UK.